The American Dream as shown in Gatsby becomes even more pessimistic through the lens of the female characters.
Focusing the lens on the women is predictably depressing. Was Gatsby's dream worth it? Was all the work, time, and patience worth it for him? Gatsby lost everything, not to mention the Wilsons got caught up in the tragedy and ended up dead! In other words, Gatsby has a larger-than-life persona and he never would have been content to remain in North Dakota to be poor farmers like his parents. Even if he ends up living a shorter life, he certainly lived a full one full of adventure.
In fact, it seems Jay lived several lives in the space of just half a normal lifespan. How does Fitzgerald examine this issue of deferred dreams? What do you think are the effects of postponing our dreams? How can you apply this lesson to your own life? Apparently, dreams deferred are dreams doomed to fail. Any prompt like this one which has a section of more personal reflection gives you freedom to tie in your own experiences and point of view, so be thoughtful and think of good examples from your own life!
Explain how the novel does or does not demonstrate the death of the American Dream. What does the novel offer about American identity? In this prompt, another one that zeroes in on the dead or dying American Dream, you could discuss how the destruction of three lives Gatsby, George, Myrtle and the cynical portrayal of the old money crowd illustrates a dead, or dying American Dream.
After all, if the characters who dream end up dead, and the ones who were born into life with money and privilege get to keep it without consequence, is there any room at all for the idea that less-privileged people can work their way up? This observation suggests an American identity that is determined by birthplace, and that within the American identity there are smaller, inescapable points of identification. Furthermore, for those in the novel not born into money, the American identity seems to be about striving to end up with more wealth and status.
But in terms of the portrayal of the old money set, particularly Daisy, Tom, and Jordan, the novel presents a segment of American society that is essentially aristocratic — you have to be born into it. In that regard, too, the novel presents a fractured American identity, with different lives possible based on how much money you are born with. In short, I think the novel disrupts the idea of a unified American identity or American dream, by instead presenting a tragic, fractured, and rigid American society, one that is divided based on both geographic location and social class.
Most would consider dreams to be positive motivators to achieve success, but the characters in the novel often take their dreams of ideal lives too far. Explain how characters' American Dreams cause them to have pain when they could have been content with more modest ambitions.
Gatsby is an obvious choice here — his pursuit of money and status, particularly through Daisy, leads him to ruin. In a sense, she seems to be living her ideal life in her affair with Tom — she has a fancy NYC apartment, hosts parties, and gets to act sophisticated — but these pleasures end up gravely hurting George, and of course her association with Tom Buchanan gets her killed.
The Great Gatsby is, among other things, a sobering and even ominous commentary on the dark side of the American dream. Discuss this theme, incorporating the conflicts of East Egg vs. West Egg and old money vs. What does the American dream mean to Gatsby? What did the American Dream mean to Fitzgerald? How does morality fit into achieving the American dream? In other words, you should discuss how the Great Gatsby seems to turn the idea of the American Dream as described in the quote on its head: So instead, Gatsby turned to crime after the war to quickly gain a ton of money.
Especially since Gatsby finally achieves his great wealth through dubious means, the novel further undermines the classic image of someone working hard and honestly to go from rags to riches. This would also allow you to considering morality, and how morally bankrupt the characters are. You have dozens of potential current events to use as evidence for either argument, but consider especially immigration and immigration reform, mass incarceration, income inequality, education, and health care in America as good potential examples to use as you argue about the current state of the American Dream.
Your writing will be especially powerful if you can point to some specific current events to support your argument. You can read even more about money and materialism in The Great Gatsby right here. Like we discussed above, the green light is often seen as a stand-in for the idea of the American Dream. Read more about this crucial symbol here. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score.
Download it for free now:. Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education. Perhaps, the most obvious and clear explanation to Gatsby staring at the green light, dreaming of Daisy is the one of his longing for love and making plans for the future. Light, not necessarily green one, but any light, in general, can be considered to have a special meaning in the novel.
For instance, Fitzgerald describes a number of colors in clothes and household articles that are to portray the characters according to the symbolic role they play in the narration. Daisy and Jordan, for example, are often depicted in white clothes, which might seem as a symbol of innocence and purity. Nevertheless, neither Daisy, nor Jordan, are seen as chaste and blameless characters in the novel. Thus, it is possible to suppose that in this novel, white only seems to symbolize chastity, while in fact, it shows false purity and hypocrisy.
The bleak grey hues of the valley of ashes symbolically reflect the transition between the West Egg and the East Egg, each of them symbolizing certain notions as well. West Egg and East Egg both stand for money; East Egg is the place for the rich American aristocracy, while West Egg is the domain of the ones who gained the money during their lives, not inherited them.
Thus, the valley of ashes shows something in between, something that belongs neither to this world, nor to that. Doubtless, it is associated with the middle class, with the average population, leading a dull and uninteresting life, left out of the entertainments and sparkling luxury of the Jazz Era. Grey is the color of mediocrity, and so, by depicting the valley where common people live and toil in grey colors, Fitzgerald emphasizes the idea of a contemptuous attitude of the upper class to the lower one.
A previously described contrast of the upper and lower classes is not the only one in The Great Gatsby. West Egg and East Egg, situated opposite each other, show the gap between the American aristocracy and newly rich entrepreneurs. However, by drawing a special attention to the similar shape and size of the islands, Fitzgerald seems to emphasize the idea, that in fact, the difference can hardly be seen from a distance. Another important symbol is the symbol of time. Interestingly, while talking to Daisy for the first time in many years, Gatsby is leaning on a defunct clock, which strengthens the idea of the futility of his aspirations and hopes.
The symbol of defunct clock vividly shows the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby. With a number of subtle hints, Fitzgerald reveals how this ideal turned into the everlasting pursuit of materialistic values.
Interestingly, money seems to draw people together or tear them apart, depending on circumstances. A number of tiny details depicting the importance of money and the carelessness in the s society are found in the description of the cocktail parties, expensive evening dresses and jewelry, tremendously ornate houses and new cars.
On the one hand, these things are shown as the attributes of an American dream; though, on the other one, Fitzgerald seems to mock the extravagance of the unnecessary things that do not bring real happiness. We are your best bet for having a professionally written essay that will get you the best grades in no time. Let us process your essay and you will see only amazing results with us. With us, originality and uniqueness are paramount factors to success.
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Gatsby was blinded by the American dream and as a result of this, cause destruction of Gatsby himself. He didn’t end up getting what he wanted because the American dream took over who he truly was. The American dream is a powerful dream that was significant in the novel The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.
- The Great Gatsby: A Tarnished American Dream Thesis: In his influential book The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald recognizes and describes many of the less alluring characteristics of the 's and the pursuit of the American Dream including dysfunctional relationships, materialism and classism.
Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, a novel written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald in , nowadays is rightly seen as the classics of the American literature. On the face of it, the plot seems to be a usual story of broken hopes and expectations. The Great Gatsby is a tragic love story on the surface, but it’s most commonly understood as a pessimistic critique of the American Dream. In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money and a limited amount of social cache in s NYC, only to be rejected by the “old money” crowd.
Unattainable American Dream The Great Gatsby, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a story of misguided love between a man and a woman. Fitzgerald takes his reader through the turbulence and trials of Jay Gatsby’s life and of . The Great Gatsby American Dream Essay Words | 7 Pages The Great Gatsby is a novel that illustrates the society in the 's and the associated beliefs, values and dreams of the American population at that time.