This essay has a total of 683 words and 5 pages.
The Great Gatsby and the Destruction of the American Dream
The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald,
is about the corruption of the American Dream, and the
downfall of those who attempt to attain its illusionary
goals. As the novel shows, the 20th century is a moral
wasteland and a corruption of the original idealistic
American Dream of the past.
Fitzgerald's moral wasteland is shown physically
in the "valley of ashes" scene of the novel. This
'dismal' and 'desolate' wasteland exists side-by-side
with the white and unreal dream of Daisy and her world.
Even the colors of this landscape have correlations to
Daisy: the "yellow" of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg's spectacles
and the brick of the houses on the street is a color of
decay, but also of riches like sunlight and gold. Also,
the ashes in the valley form figures (to Nick) which
disintegrate at the slightest puff of wind. Gatsby is
incapable of recognizing the "ashes" of what Daisy
represents and takes her emptiness for substance.
Although Nick sees the moral desolation of the
Buchanans' world, Gatsby cannot and tries to find in
this world a dream worth holding on to. As shown in
Gatsby's parties, nothing is tethered to reality;
there is laughter without amusement, 'enthusiasm'
between strangers, "friends" without friendship, and
life without meaning.
Gatsby's dream is that through wealth and power,
one can acquire happiness (Daisy). Throughout the
novel we see that Gatsby cannot see that the past is
over and done with and he therefor can have no chance
with Daisy. He is sure that he can capture his dream
with wealth and influence. Nick attempts to show Gatsby
the folly of his dream and tell him that he cannot
relive the past, but Gatsby confidently replies, "Yes
you can, old sport." There are many connections between
Gatsby's dream with the American Dream. A big part of
both is the pursuit of material things and both have a
touch (or more than a touch) of unreality about them.
The American dream used to be self-betterment,
wealth, and success through hard work
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