Decay of Gatsby's Dream

Essay by wydrap001High School, 11th gradeA+, April 2006

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Achieving the American Dream would, by definition, ensure true happiness and success. However, the idea of success for one person may differ from the idea of success of another. Material wealth is essential to a degree, but when does the 'want' for wealth surpass need? How much effort are the dreamers willing to give of themselves in order to reach the 'land of promise'? 'The dream is basically the idea that any man, if he works hard enough, can become a success, and thus achieve true happiness.' In the novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a dreamer. He genuinely wants to achieve the American Dream, and believes that if he does, he will also achieve true happiness. There are, however, imperfections in this dream. In Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby, through the character of Jay Gatsby the American Dream is reduced to nothing more than a dream when Fitzgerald demonstrates that hard work does not guarantee success; success does not assure happiness; and that not all men are created equal.

The cruel contrast between Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, established by Fitzgerald, authenticates that hard work does not always guarantee success. Tom Buchanan, a member of the high social class of East Egg, is a prime example of this. Born into luxury and prestige, Tom Buchanan never works a day in his life. His idea of success is to be wealthy, and to be able to live an extravagant and comfortable rich life-style with his wife Daisy. "Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor" (Pg 142). This reference is to the people of West Egg, who do not have a place in the rich, high-class society of East Egg. This society accepts only those who are inherently rich; which can be...