The Great Gatsby

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 11/17/2012 02:50 PM

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The notion of the American dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby seems corrupted by the pursuit of wealth and power. With the rise in the nation’s economy after the World War I, it became very effortless to grow wealthy and change social class. There was an increase in fortune for people of any social background; the nation became a place of new self-made rich and families with old wealth, as shown in the novel with the East Egg and West Egg. Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as a time of decayed social and moral values. Through Gatsby’s story, the reader sees the American Dream as corrupted through the characters obsession with fortune and pleasure. For women, the 1920s offered an opportunity to marry a rich man, who would provide them with a comfortable lifestyle, much like she wished upon her daughter, “I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” This marriage would be highly based on materialistic approach, instead of love. For men, it was a time of easy success, legally or illegally.

Underneath the love story between Gatsby and Daisy, Fitzgerald presents the American dream in a time of unprecedented luxury and material excess. Gatsby’s endless lavish parties thrown every Saturday night, shows the ultimate change in the American dream for citizens during that time. The various social climbers who attended Gatsby’s parities show the ambition and greed of people during that time, “People were not invited – they went there... Once there they were introduced by somebody who knew Gatsby, and after that they conducted themselves according to the rules of behavior associated with an amusement park... [They] came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was

in its own ticket of admission” (Fitzgerald 41). As noted, many of the guests “were not invited” and did not know Gatsby. Through this, Fitzgerald shows the ambitious life of many during that era, surrounded by greed and selfishness. Gatsby’s...