American Dream In

  • Просмотров 317
  • Скачиваний 9
  • Размер файла 15

American Dream In “Great Gatsby” Essay, Research Paper Christopher Tam 10/18/98 American Dream Great Gatsby Final DraftDREAM ON“Then wear the gold hat…bounce for her too, Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you”(1). This epitaph by Thomas D’Invilliers, found at the beginning of The Great Gatsby, depicts the dream that Jay Gatsby tries to make a reality. While it embodies characteristics of the American Dream of rags to riches, it is also a moving dream of love and happiness. While Gatsby was a fraud, his life and death show the greatness of the American Dream, not its bankruptcy.The story unfolds in New York during the early 1920’s, a tumultuous time for Americans. American culture was just beginning to take on its own identity

with the popularization of jazz. The 1920’s was also a time of social upheaval where opportunity was the name of the game. Prohibition was the law, thus creating opportunities for business-minded individuals, such as Gatsby, to become bootleggers. During these affluent years in American history, there were many parties and affairs with the extravagance and splendor of kings. Rich individuals, like Gatsby, threw huge parties with “buffet tables…bars with real brass rails…and orchestra[s]” (44). The Roaring Twenties were years where a person who had the “dream” could flourish. The American Dream, as it arose in the Colonial period, and developed in the nineteenth century, was the belief that a person, no matter their origins, could succeed in life. However, this

success depended on a person’s own skill and effort. During Gatsby’s early working years, he started from the bottom as a clam digger, dreaming the popularized “rags to riches” dream. His next stop was the yacht of Dan Cody, where he worked and lived for five years as a steward. Despite the monotony around him, his mind and imagination were never at rest. “Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies…the reveries provided an outlet for his imagination…hint of unreality of reality”(105). After Cody, we know Gatsby joined the army during World War I. Five years after returning from Europe, Gatsby is this incredibly wealthy man with a gargantuan house where he throws lavish parties. The reader learns that this wealth was accumulated through bootlegging, a highly

illegal but lucrative trade during the Prohibition Era. Thus, Gatsby achieved his “rags to riches” dream, although his methods were unlawful. What separates Gatsby from the other characters, who are “foul dust that floated in the wake of his dreams (6),” is that Gatsby’s American dream was a means for an end to him. His dream continued past just accumulating wealth and reputation. That was only a phase of his “master plan.” Gatsby’s ultimate goal is happiness, which can only be if Daisy is by his side. He achieved riches and success, but did not become overwhelmed and corrupted by it, although it is relevant to note he used corrupt methods. His dream is a romantic idealism that life can be remarkable and beautiful. Gatsby is not interested in power for its own

sake or in money or prestige, but for its ability to help him achieve his dream. For this, Gatsby is willing to do anything and everything. He uses his wealth as a resource to steal Daisy away from Tom. This also includes lying and creating a false impression of himself to others. He is putting on this front to try to become the man that Daisy desires. His extravagant parties are thrown only in hopes that she will come to one and they can get rekindle their old feelings for each other. Ultimately, Gatsby won’t enjoy his riches until he has Daisy in his arms. Almost everything we believe Gatsby to be is a fraud. Everything we believe gives us a favorable impression of him though. He is a fraud for one and only one reason-to win Daisy back. For starters, his name, Jay Gatsby, is