Lori Steinbach Certified Educator F. Scott Fitzgerald manages to define, praise, and condemn what is known as the American Dream in his most successful novel, The Great Gatsby. The novel is set inand it depicts the American Dream--and its demise--through the use of literary devices and symbols.
He then gets killed after being tangled up with them. We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.
What is the American Dream? To find a quotation we cite via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it Paragraph The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of race, class, gender, or nationality, can be successful in America read: The American Dream thus presents a pretty rosy view of American society that ignores problems like systemic racism and misogyny, xenophobia, tax evasion or state tax avoidance, and income inequality.
It also presumes a myth of class equality, when the reality is America has a pretty well-developed class hierarchy. However, this rapid economic growth was built on a bubble which popped in This is relevant, since the s is presented as a time of hollow decadence among the wealthy, as evidenced especially by the parties in Chapters 2 and 3.
And as we mentioned above, the s were a particularly tense time in America. We also meet George and Myrtle Wilson in Chapter 2both working class people who are working to improve their lot in life, George through his work, and Myrtle through her affair with Tom Buchanan.
Despite everything he owns, including fantastic amounts of money and an over-the-top mansion, for Gatsby, Daisy is the ultimate status symbol. So in Chapter 5when Daisy and Gatsby reunite and begin an affair, it seems like Gatsby could, in fact, achieve his goal.
However, in Chapters 7 and 8everything comes crashing down: In short, things do not turn out well for our dreamers in the novel!
This novel is just one very large burst bubble. Key American Dream Quotes In this section we analyze some of the most important quotes that relate to the American Dream in the book.
Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. You can read more about this in our post all about the green light.
Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money.
The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.
A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds and by more cheerful carriages for friends.
I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry. This moment has all the classic elements of the American Dream — economic possibility, racial and religious diversity, a carefree attitude. However, this rosy view eventually gets undermined by the tragic events later in the novel.
He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.
So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. Instead, she stays with Tom Buchanan, despite her feelings for Gatsby. Thus when Gatsby fails to win over Daisy, he also fails to achieve his version of the American Dream.
This is why so many people read the novel as a somber or pessimistic take on the American Dream, rather than an optimistic one.
He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
But still, he finds something to admire in how Gatsby still hoped for a better life, and constantly reached out toward that brighter future. Analyzing Characters Through the American Dream An analysis of the characters in terms of the American Dream usually leads to a pretty cynical take on the American Dream.
So instead he turns to crime, and only then does he manage to achieve his desired wealth. George and Myrtle Wilson This couple also represents people aiming at the dream — George owns his own shop and is doing his best to get business, though is increasingly worn down by the harsh demands of his life, while Myrtle chases after wealth and status through an affair with Tom.
So neither character is on the upward trajectory that the American Dream promises, at least during the novel. And on top of that they are fabulously wealthy?
The American Dream certainly is not alive and well for the poor Wilsons. But what about the other major characters, especially the ones born with money?- The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, by F.
Scott Fitzgerald, is a brilliant illustration of life among the new rich during the s, people who had recently amassed a great deal of wealth but had no corresponding social connections.
In The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, and The Love of the Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald discusses the topic of the American Dream, but not in the way one would imagine it.
Fitzgerald incorporates three main themes into his books: the failure of the American Dream, commentary on social structures, and conflicts within relationships. 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. At a Glance.
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald chronicles the death of the American initiativeblog.com main character, Jay Gatsby, personifies the American dream, being a self-made man who pulled.
Published in , The Great Gatsby is a classic piece of American fiction. It is a novel of triumph and tragedy, noted for the remarkable way Fitzgerald captured a cross-section of American society.
The Great Gatsby: F. Scott Fitzgerald Biography | CliffsNotes. In the middle of the roaring ’s, author F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby, examining the fight for the American dream in the lives of his characters in New York.
Fitzgerald illustrates for the reader a picture of Gatsby’s struggle to obtain the approval and .