The Great Gatsby The American Dream Analysis

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade September 2001

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The American Dream The Great Gatsby, set during the Roaring Twenties, illustrates the beliefs, values, and ideals of the American population at that time. F. Scott Fitzgerald cleverly weaves an intricate story about these beliefs, values, and ideals, better known as the "American Dream."� What once existed as a goal worked toward with aspiration, determination, and faith, the dream has changed into an insatiable desire for the money, wealth, and prosperity that has formed the essential underworld of American upper-class society. By analyzing high society during the 1920s through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway and juxtaposing the original aspects with the new aspects of Jay Gatsby's dream, Fitzgerald reveals that the American Dream has transformed from a pure idealistic search for contentment in life into a convoluted struggle for materialistic power.

The foundation qualities of the American Dream once consisted of genuine principles, such as perseverance and dedication. The life of young James Gatz clearly exemplifies the ethic of such hard work.

His "Hopalong Cassidy"� journal carefully documents his plans and hopes of growing up into a great man. With a list of "General Resolves: Study electricity, baseball, practice elocution and how to attain it. . . ,"� Gatz "was bound to get ahead."� The product of the continual struggle for self-improvement portrayed through the journal is the wistful Jay Gatsby, who epitomizes the purest characteristic of the American Dream: everlasting hope. Nick first sees Gatsby late at night, "standing with his hands in his pockets,"� supposedly "out to determine what share [is] his of our local heavens."� His burning desire to win back Daisy Buchanan's love symbolizes the basis of the old dream: an ethereal goal and a never-ending search for the opportunity to reach that goal. Gatsby's goal gives him a purpose in life and sets him...