Ambition and Opportunity on the Green Breast of the New World: Beyond the Land of Liberty, and Towards the Corrupt Desire for Wealth in "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by goldngrl1611College, UndergraduateA, April 2008

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America has always been viewed as the "land of opportunity", a place of freedom and tolerance, in which all individuals share the right to pursue their unique idea of the "American dream". As immigrants approach New York Harbor and glance up at the Statue of Liberty, many explain a sense of comfort and a surge of ambition in knowing the two cents in their pocket could, over time, transform into the sums necessary to buy the happiness and equality many never before dreamed. However, after residing for some time in the New World, the line drawn between the upper classes and those below, and even the divisions between "old money" and "new money" among the wealthy grew inescapably apparent. As a result, wealth and materialism became a top priority on the minds of Americans, and many attempted, and continue, to try and escape their struggle through morally dissolute means. Unfortunately, bigotry, discrimination, and inequality remain in all aspects of life upon this green land, and the argument for acceptance continues even after wealth has been gained.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's, The Great Gatsby, the quest for the American Dream is exquisitely crafted and entangled among the contamination of social classes, and through a handful of distinctive characters, Fitzgerald accurately displays the detriment materialism so often brings to individual happiness. Furthermore, within the novel, one can see the tainted minds of those who have achieved wealth, and the unfavorable consequence to morality seen by many in their pursuit of financial glory. Much like the light on the end of Daisy's dock, the torch held by Lady Liberty appears a vibrant gold, but in reality, Fitzgerald emphasizes that to approach America is to look up at the never-exhausting green flame standing on the edge of a nation driven by wealth and...