American Dream in history and The Great Gatsby

Essay by deejay8987High School, 11th grade April 2004

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The view of the American Dream has been evolving throughout the history of literature and society. There is no defined interpretation of what the American Dream should be. However, it can be developed based on the view of the society and the portrayal made by literature writers of that time. Historical figures, such as John Edwards, Ben Franklin, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, had depicted different views of the American Dream during their times in history. It is certain that the core theme of the dream is to achieve freedom.

During the period of Puritan Colonization in New England, faith in God was the ultimate goal. This is because the puritans came to America to escape from the strict religious provisions in England. Therefore, John Edwards, a Puritan, stated that people should do moral goods and never disobey God and the church. Many Puritans were even executed for defying the church.

Obviously, settlers viewed this time as coming to America to establish new land and a new beginning. The underlying American Dream for the Puritans was to obtain religious freedom.

Ben Franklin also had his own views of the American Dream. He proposed this dream as, "That pursuit of a better existence...a higher quality of life through hard work, determination, and devotion." His book, "The Autobiography," showed his life goals and his structured daily journal. This proves that Franklin was a very determined man with realistic purposes in life. One of the reasons that support his interpretation of the American Dream is the fact that American was undergoing a time of conflicts. The society can influence an individual's ideas. Franklin believed that freedom and virtues are needed in order to be successful in achieving one's dream.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the greatest "Lost Generation" writers who portrayed the...