Great Gatsby And American Dream

1932 WORDS

Great Gatsby And American Dream

Picture this, a person graduates from high school with honors, goes to college
and graduates at the top of his/her class. After college, he/she is offered a
job in the field he/she wants with an annual salary of about $400,000 a year.

He/she marries the person of his/her dreams, has two children and moves into a
large, elegant house. Forty years later that person retires with a pension and
lives the rest of his/her life in luxury. This is the American Dream. F. Scott

Fitzgerald had this dream and worked his entire life to fulfill it, with no
avail. Fitzgerald was a sensitive young man who idolized wealth and luxury. He
fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Zelda while stationed at a
military camp in the South. Several years after meeting Zelda, he reached a high
enough social standard that she agreed to marry him. Shortly after the wedding,

Fitzgerald published his first big novel. He became a celebrity and fell into a
wild, reckless lifestyle of parties and decadence. Fitzgerald thought he had
achieved his dream. Unfortunately, his beautiful wife was the first part of his
dream to crumble. In 1930, Zelda had her first of many mental breakdowns. Soon
after Zelda’s breakdowns began, Fitzgerald published his novel Tender is the

Night. When this novel was not a success Fitzgerald also started to have mental
problems. When his novels started failing, he retreated to Hollywood where he
began writing screenplays. On December 21, 1940, Fitzgerald died as a drunk in
his lover’s Hollywood apartment. Throughout his career, Fitzgerald published
many books, but The Great Gatsby is the one that became a classic. The fourth
paragraph from Encarta’s Encyclopedia on F. Scott Fitzgerald best summarizes
his novel: Written in crisp, concise prose and told by Nick Carraway, it is the
story of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby becomes a bootlegger in order to attain the wealth
and lavish way of life he feels are necessary to win the love of Daisy Buchanan,
a married, upper-class woman who had once rejected him. The story ends
tragically with Gatsby’s destruction. Although the narrator ultimately
denounces Daisy and others who confuse the American dream with the pursuit of
wealth and power, he sympathizes with those like Gatsby who pursue the dream for
a redeeming end such as love. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby,
the upper class’s carelessness with their money, the myth that hard work
always equals success, and the lack of true love in marriage all show a
distortion of the American Dream. One would think that people with money should
know how to use it properly. Unfortunately this is not so of the upper class
characters in The Great Gatsby. The following paragraph from the novel is an
excellent example of how Gatsby wasted money on his upper class friends. There
was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue
gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the
champagne and the stars. On Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener,
toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears,
repairing the ravages of the night before. (Fitzgerald 89) The previous quote
shows how Gatsby went through much turmoil just to make it seem as though he had
enough money to do as he wished. In the upper class, one person would try to
outdo another by buying gifts that are more lavish and by throwing parties that
are more extravagant than their friends last one. Robert Douglass wrote an
article in 1938 about society at that time. In it, he described how people took
so much for granted. The following is an excerpt from his article: The people
living in the little town have a richer life than their parents did. They can
reach a motion-picture theater by a twenty-minute drive, they have radios, and
they think nothing of jaunts to Atlantic City, Boston or Canada that many of the
old residents never made in an entire lifetime. (19) As one can see, people
throughout the Twentieth Century have thought nothing of the modern day
conveniences they now have. The same is still true in today’s society, but
people seem to be more aware of luxuries than people of the ‘20’s. One of
the largest and most talked about parts of the American Dream, is that when one
enters the real world he/she will enter the workforce as an employee in his/her
desired career. In this career, he/she

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