Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby And American Dream

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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In the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author incorporates
the aspect of the American Dream to develop the story. The American Dream’s
goals embody the story to show how one can attempt to put effort into
accomplishing one’s aspirations in life. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald
gives various examples of different characters so called American Dream. Some
characters are able to achieve their goal and others are not able to accomplish
their goal. From beginning to end Fitzgerald shows how this concept of the
American Dream is accomplished and failed by the characters in the story line.
Daisy and Tom are two characters whose dreams portray to be wealthy and to be in
control of things. Tom throughout the story acts brutal and tries to control
everything. For example, Nick describes him as: “It was a body capable of
enormous leverage—a cruel body. His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added
to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed”(11). Nick’s description of
Tom shows his stature of a bully and that how he maybe able to get things done.
Then later in the story Tom does another thing, which shows his resemblance of
this type of behavior: “‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson.
“I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai—.’ Making a short deft
movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand”(41). In this
confrontation, he does not get mad at her because she is chanting his wife’s
name but just to show that who is in charge and that no one is above him. Tom by
being in charge gets pleasure and enjoys it very much. Tom and Daisy’s dream
is also to stay wealthy and in a very high social standing. Throughout their
life, they are very well off. They live in the East Egg which is the egg with
the many millionaires and prosperous people. The way they act all through the
novel shows that they are comfortably, living and they have nothing to worry
about. Nick describes Tom: “His family were enormously wealthy—even in
college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach—but now he’d left
Chicago and come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for
instance he’d bought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest” (10).
Nick also describes Daisy: “She laughed again, as if she said something very
witty” (13). Then she also shows her easy life when she says: “‘I’ve
been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember’” (15). Tom and Daisy
thoroughly attain their dreams and are very successful in achieving them.
Another character’s dream which is illustrated is George Wilson. His dream is
to obtain wealth and prosperity. He shows this during this meeting with Tom:
“‘Hello Wilson, old man,’ said Tom, slapping him jovially on the shoulder.
‘How’s business?’ ‘I can’t complain,’ answered Wilson
unconvincingly. ‘When are you going to sell me that car?’” (29). As one
can see that Wilson is not very well off and that he is very desperate to earn
some money. Another part of his dream is that he wants to please his wife since
he loves her so much. This is why he wants to earn money so badly. He shows her
love for her when he says: “‘I have a way of finding out’” (166). This
part was regarding when Myrtle, George’s wife, dies and he is really angry.
The way he says this implies that he wants revenge for his wife’s death.
Unfortunately his dream has a downfall since a little while later after killing
Gatsby he does this: “It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house
that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the
holocaust was complete” (170). George Wilson tried to hard to acquire his
dream, which lead to his downfall. The central character of the story, Jay
Gatsby, has a dream that through wealth and power he can attain Daisy his real
dream. He is trying to acquire Daisy back since at one time, they had had a love
affair, and he loved her very much. Unfortunately at that time he was not in the
same social class as her so, he had to amass a fortune. Once he acquires this
wealth, he moves near to Daisy: “‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy
would be just across the bay ’” (83), and throws extravagant parties, hoping
by chance she might show up at one of them. Soon he meets Nick Carraway, a
cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “‘He wants to know...if
you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come
over’” (83). He tried to accomplish his dream throughout the book but
eventually failed after Daisy was not able to admit that she does not love Tom
and claim that she never loved him for the last four years. “‘Even alone I
can’t say I never loved Tom’” (140). Even after this, he still believes
that Daisy loves him as the reader sees at the Plaza Hotel. He is convinced and
so he takes the responsibility of Myrtle Wilson’s murder: “‘Was Daisy
driving?’ ‘Yes...but of course I'll say I was’” (151). This message led
to him and the downfall of his dream because a little bit later George Wilson by
accident thinks that Gatsby was the one who killed his wife and decides to kill
him. Gatsby’s dream effects the other characters behavior and the story
directly. The Great Gatsby incorporates the American Dream in the story through
the characters. The dreams of each of the characters are different but one thing
never changes. It is that they all desire something in life, and everyone,
somehow, strives to get it. They worked and worked and worked at it until they
accomplished their goal or they did not rest like Gatsby and one can see what
happened to him.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,
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