Jay Gatsby American Dream

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Jay Gatsby American Dream

This essay will analyze the character of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” focusing on his pursuit of the American Dream. It will explore how Gatsby’s aspirations, motivations, and ultimate disillusionment embody the complexities and contradictions of the American Dream during the Jazz Age. The piece will discuss themes of wealth, class, love, and the elusive nature of happiness, highlighting how Gatsby’s story reflects broader societal issues and the American experience. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about American Dream.

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Is a social ideal that makes one fulfilled, prosperous, and successful. The typical definition of The American Dream has the concept of living a better life that overcomes poverty, hardship, or debt. This concept took place during the 1920’s when The Great Gatsby was written and the setting of the novel. Although the idea of The American Dream can be argued to have taken place during the novel, I believe that The Great Gatsby argues the idea of a self-man made man.

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A self-made man is a person who has advanced economically and financially from their hard work and within themselves. The novel argues that there is no such success of The American Dream because once a person is born into a social class, it is impossible to leave that life behind, grow or change from it. It is important to start off by explaining the relationship between The American Dream in relation to Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship. Gatsby was born in a low-income social class in North Dakota. Daisy, his love interest, grew up in a wealthy Louisville family.

The two were on completely opposite sides of the social ranking, Gatsby on the lower and Daisy being on the higher. Since Daisy was much wealthier, Gatsby devoted his life to growing his social status to be with his one true love. Gatsby attempted to fulfill The American dream by overcoming his low-income lifestyle and becoming extremely wealthy. Although he seemed to be fulfilled to the public eye, this is proved to be false. Throughout the novel, there are several moments that suggest that Gatsby had trouble achieving his true American Dream. Jay Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz. James Gatz was born in a poor family with little growth to occur. James Gatz transformed himself in Jay Gatsby by trying to achieve a higher social status. Fitzgerald was attempting to show readers that Gatsby completely devoted his life to changing just for Daisy. Nick states, “it was a strange coincidence, I said. But it wasn’t a coincidence at all. Why not? Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the Bay.”

Gatsby bought a large home, had lavish parties, had expensive and valuable things with his success in illegal activity – all to show Daisy that he has attempted to become a social elite. However, when looking closer into Gatsby life, readers realize that despite Gatsby’s luxurious, extravagant, and fancy lifestyle, Gatsby is just an illusion of a successful self-made man. He grew financially but he never feels internally complete with all his achievements. He looks and may feel like at times as a social elite, but he never actually is. Gatsby never fulfills The American Dream since he never completed his goal of being with Daisy. This example exemplifies the fact that Gatsby was never able to overcome his poor and rural past because he never truly achieved The Amercian Dream. The Great Gatsby was narrated by Nick Carraway, who was an interesting and unique character in the novel. Nick was a Yale graduate who moved to New York City to learn the bond business. He stated at the very start of the book, “in my younger years and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice…

Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone. Just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.” This represents and exemplifies the true person Nick was, he tries to be an honest person but has difficulty holding judgment in certain situations. Nick although pointed out in the first chapter that his values as a person included “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments.” This can be seen as a false statement since as a narrator, he seems to always go against this. He tends to add his own opinion into most moments of the entire story. For example in chapter three, Nick says, “it made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply – I was casually sorry, and then I forgot… your a rotten drive, either you ought to be more careful or you oughten drive at all.” Nick was yelling at Jordan who was driving but was also adding his input and opinion on women. He sounds almost condescending in this specific instance since he stated that all women are dishonest and that shouldn’t be surprising. Nick tends to always judge everyone around him and it’s clear that he goes against his one belief he pointed out at the very start of the book.

Nick contradictory actions causes readers to feel that he is an unreliable narrator which relates to a key theme in the text. Once a person is in a specific social class, their mindset and opinion on things will always be a reflection of their class. It does not matter if they grow or change within it. Nick had a higher social class standing which affected his outlook on life to be impaired. Another character who related to the topic of a self-made man and The American Dream is Daisy’s husband, Tom Buchanan. Tom is an extremely rich Yale graduate who is on the higher end of the social ranking. He has Daisy and wealth which is everything Gatsby ever wanted and Gatsby’s interpretation of The American Dream. Although Tom has all these things in his life, it is just an illusion. Tom and Daisy’s marriage is in shambles since Tom is having an affair. Tom stated in chapter seven, “and what’s more, I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart, I love her all the time.”

This moment perfectly shows Tom’s true character since he believes it should be accepted that he cheats on Daisy because he still loves her. The dynamic between Tom and Daisy relate to a whole theme of the illusion of The American Dream. Although on the outside, it may seem as though it is perfect and real, if readers look deeper, it actually isn’t perfect. It is filled with infidelity, lies, and pain. Tom Buchanan personality and outlook on life relate to a bigger theme in the story. In chapter nine, Nick states “they were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and . . . then retreated back into their money . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” This quote shows how Tom caused mayhem in the story, drama in Gatsby’s life and gives the true impression to readers that he doesn’t care. The topic of his social ranking and wealth is confirmed in this specific quote since it is showing how his impression on life is much different than others.

Tom grew up in a wealthier high-class family and it is reflected into on how he lives his adult life. It can be said that Tom never changes and stays as the same arrogant person his entire life. The theme that a person cannot grow, leave or change from their social standing relates perfectly to Tom since he found it acceptable to act in such a shocking and inappropriate way. The main themes that Fitzgerald was attempting to prove are the illusions of The American Dream and the truth behind a social class standing. Daisy was in wealthier class, which caused Gatsby to attempt to change his entire life. He changed his name, grew financially, and threw lavish parties. Gatsby is truly just an illusion since he never meets his end goal, Daisy. This theme can be related to the idea that Gatsby never actually left his lower social standing mentally. On the outside, he seemed to have everything, but internally he was unhappy.

This causes readers to feel that Gatsby is a fraud because he is living in the past, without ever realizing that he will never be with Daisy. Nick was a character in the novel who can also be seen as an illusion and fake. Nick contradicts himself throughout his entire narration by always adding his input and judgment. His judgment and opinion were impaired since he was born and grew up in a higher social class standing. Similarly, Tom can also be seen as a fake. His marriage, social life, and personalities were all affected by his upbringing in a wealthy home. Nick and Tom can both be seen as characters who are misconceptions of social standings. Both of them never lowered themselves from the higher class. It can be concluded that Fitzgerald was proving that once a person was born in a specific class, it is impossible to ever attempt to become higher or lower within it. Fitzgerald also proved that The American Dream is truly an illusion since it is impossible to be fully successfully within it. 

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Jay Gatsby American Dream. (2022, Mar 31). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/jay-gatsby-american-dream/