The Great Gatsby & The Shortcomings Of Society

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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From the beginning of time people have tried to create a perfect society, but despite their efforts, it has always fallen short. A perfect society is impossible to achieve because not everyone has the same vision of an American dream. Many people consider the American dream to include optimism, individualism, and a picturesque Eden. Striving to achieve these aspects often causes their original goal of a perfect society to be destroyed. F. Scott Fitzgerald used Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby in the same way that Lorraine Hansberry used Walter Lee in ?A Raisin In The Sun? to reflect the shortcomings of society as a result of the American dream.

Both Walter?s and Gatsby?s optimism of life influences their visions of the American dream. A perfect example of this is given by Gatsby's constant efforts to regain Daisy's affection. His infatuation with Daisy distracted him from the more realistic issues of society.

Similarly, Walter never let go of his hopes for the liquor store, despite the negative feedback he got from his family members. Once Walter received the money from Mama, he became even more optimistic because he had a renewed sense of power and ownership. He was free to pursue his dreams and attempt to improve on his current life. In Walter?s view, there were no longer any obstacles in his way of turning his dreams into reality, but this way of thinking was soon deflated after the money was stolen.

The flaws in Walter?s and Gatsby?s visions of the American dream lies within their individualistic views. Jay Gatsby and Walter were alike in the sense that they both wished to be the center of their worlds. In order to draw attention (preferably Daisy?s) to himself and promote his wealthy lifestyle, Gatsby threw elaborate parties with every luxury possible.