The American Nightmare. Essay on "The Great Gatsby". Fitzgerald's criticism of the perversion of the American dream and the upper class during that time period.

Essay by way2wise4uHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2004

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The American Nightmare

The "American Dream" is based on the idea that any person, regardless of their upbringing, race, or origin can attain their dream through hard work and self-reliance. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is a novel of a passionate young man, Nick Carraway, whose image of success becomes jaded by the "high society" of the times. Using Gatsby as a representation of the American Dream, and Nick as the objective narrator, Fitzgerald criticizes the perversion of the American Dream, and the wealthier class of Americans in the Roaring Twenties, who live in a moral and spiritual vacuum.

Throughout the story, Fitzgerald exposes the self-centered and hypocritical attitudes of the upper class. He displays scenarios of snobbery and shallowness, which ruin the lives of those good men who are sucked into the American Dream. Tom Buchanan's utter disrespect for the feelings of a lower-class character, Wilson, being an example of cruel satisfaction in the derision of the poor.

Tom's affair with Myrtle ultimately leads to Wilson's insanity and Gatsby's death. In the novel, all of the people of inherited wealth lack morals and are perfectly capable of crushing anyone in their way. In The Great Gatsby, the East Eggers are people of inherited wealth and all are egotistic snobs. Their dilemmas and acts, a list of immorality, are a representation of what money brings, and help shape the story. Tom Buchanan, a muscular bull of a man who inherited his family fortune, finds himself bored with his beautiful wife and takes on a lower class

mistress named Myrtle, who is married to an unsuccessful entrepreneur running a gas station. Myrtle aspires to be part of the upper class of society, and will stop at nothing to achieve her dream. Tom harasses and belittles his mistress's husband on many occasions purely...