American Dream: Comparitive Essay

Essay by stoned_raider186High School, 12th grade May 2004

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The American Dream: Comparative Essay

The American Dream can be examined and interpreted on many different levels. In 1925 in the midst of the Jazz Era, F. Scott Fitzgerald explored the imperfections and downfalls of the American Dream in his novel "The Great Gatsby". The exposure of such corruption was devastating, and over seventy years later, "American Beauty", directed by Sam Mendes, provided a similar portrayal. This essay will deconstruct and compare the techniques that both Fitzgerald and Mendes used to relate both "The Great Gatsby" and "American Beauty" to the typical suburban American Dream. Gender and class representations were used to structure the discourse and therefore further position the reader to relate to the messages delivered through Both "The Great Gatsby" and "American Beauty".

When reading "The Great Gatsby", the reader is encouraged by Fitzgerald to review their beliefs and opinions regarding various issues which come forth, such as friendship, loyalty and materialism.

This is achieved due to the writing style of the novel. The narrator shares these views, and therefore, the reader has a mutual understanding of such opinions. Nick Carraway seems to the reader to be a very non-judgemental who frequently refrains from voicing his true opinion. Hence, the reader also tends to have an open mind when considering various events in the novel. As the reader is initially introduced to Gatsby, who does not share a speaking role until well into the novel, they are positioned to view Jay Gatsby as a mysterious character who has the fortunes of wealth and popularity behind him. However, upon learning of his criminal history, and his lusting after Daisy, he is seen as somewhat naïve and hopeless, extracting a feeling of empathy from the reader. The audience shares a similar opinion when introduced...