"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream.

Essay by wonder0filledHigh School, 11th gradeA-, January 2007

download word file, 5 pages 2.3

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the American Dream as "an American ideal of a happy and successful life to which all may aspire." This definition offers a very basic description; the American Dream is much more complex. To be more specific, the American Dream is the idea held by many Americans that prosperity can be achieved by hard work, courage, and determination. These values, held by early European settlers, have now been passed on to the subsequent generations. Although the American Dream began as a simple idea focusing on happiness, many believe it has now morphed into an overemphasis on material wealth as the only accurate measure of success and happiness. Health and emotional satisfaction have been replaced with more materialistic and capitalistic goals that include social class domination and social privilege. The American Dream now celebrates the pursuit of success, fame, power, and glory. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a highly symbolic examination of America in the 1920's on the whole, and in particular the downfall of the original American Dream in an era of extreme wealth and material excess.

Fitzgerald disapproves of the American Dream, yet he uses a likeable character to show its collapse. He makes a commentary on the delusion of American idealism in that time period, using Jay Gatsby to illustrate the problems he saw in the Jazz Age society.

Jay Gatsby was what some might call a Renaissance man, and others might find him delusional. He had been in love with Daisy prior to leaving for the war, and she had promised to wait for his return. After many years (and after more than just the war), when Gatsby returns, he finds a different reality than the one he had hoped for. Rather than facing the reality that presents itself to...