The Unattainable American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by DragonsFlameHigh School, 11th gradeA+, July 2004

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A truly great work of literature would allow a reader to compare and/or contrast any of the book's characters--static or rounded--without much trouble. This is the case in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book's title character, Gatsby, is easily compared to Tom Buchanan. Their fruitless pursuance of the American Dream is what makes them most similar. The American Dream consists of having a large, elegant house, a family, a well paying job, and basically having the ability to have everything one desires when it's wanted. In the case of Tom, although the American Dream has already been attained, he is still looking for more beyond what he has now. In Gatsby's case, he more or less dreams of having the dream and looks for what he needs to attain it. This shows the fact that after seeking and finding the American Dream, one finds them self in search of more--more power, more possessions, etcetera.

One will never reach the American Dream because of the unquenchable thirst for more. This is the story of Tom Buchanan. In contrast, when one seeks to have the Dream, they find that what they want is either not available or is out of their reach. This is the story of Gatsby. Both sides, when put together, shows that, from either angle it's looked at, the American Dream is there, yet unavailable for one to grasp.

After reading, one will notice that Tom Buchanan has everything that the American Dream has to offer--a nice house, a family, and large amounts of money. "Their [Tom and wife, Daisy] house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay." (11). It's even seen through the surrounding colors that he has the American Dream...