The American Dream in the Great Gatsby Essay Example


The Great Gatsby exemplifies that the American Dream is the ambition and desire to achieve something better, fully achieving the American Dream is impossible.  He was penniless in the past as James Gatz, something he wanted to separate himself from hence why he decided to change his name to Jay Gatsby and reinvented himself as this eccentric, wealthy, and educated man.  Gatsby gained all this wealth and social status to redeem the one thing he had lost, and that was Daisy.  Nick states, "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay" (Fitzgerald 85).  Gatsby buys a home across from Daisies and throws big parties hoping that she would stumble in and they could possibly talk again.  Nick also states, "There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights.  In his blue gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars" (Fitzgerald 43).  Gatsby threw these wild parties to flaunt his wealth but to also gain the respect of others to climb up the social ladder.  This shows his outlook on life is more materialistic and egotistical.  

Gatsby did successfully achieve some parts of the American Dream such as becoming wealthy.  Nick states, “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (Fitzgerald 105).  Gatsby’s parents were poor and vulgar people but thanks to his strong work ethic and dream of winning back Daisy he manages to amass his wealth.  Part of the American Dream that anyone can achieve major success and wealth if they work hard enough.  In the sense of becoming wealthy and climbing up the social ladder, Gatsby did manage to achieve this but he still wanted better.  

Gatsby having major wealth and social status could have anything he wanted like cars, clothes, and houses yet he is still not happy.  This shows that the materialism of the American Dream doesn’t guarantee happiness.  Young ladies at one of Gatsby’s parties state, “He’s a bootlegger” (Fitzgerald 66).  Rumors like these being thrown by people at his parties show that Gatsby never really made personal relations with anyone that he invites to his parties.  Those same people at his parties just used Gatsby to indulge themselves in luxury never really attempting to form real relationships with Gatsby instead just conducting themselves poorly and feeding themselves meaning Gatsby most likely never had any real friends until he met Nick and Daisy.  

Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby to demonstrate that those who strive the achieve the American Dream will never fully realize that it’s impossible because the American Dream is to strive for more and to achieve something better.  Like Gatsby, most people become too ambitious until their dreams wither away.

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