‘The Great Gatsby’ Theme of Deception and its Role in the American Dream

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The American Dream – Fantasy or Reality?

Do you think the American dream is just a fantasy or can become a reality? “63 percent of Americans believe they are living the American dream”. Many millennials still want to achieve what they think the American dream is and have been for many generations, owning their own home, being debt free, and retiring comfortably. Anyone wanting the American dream will do almost anything to reach that goal, even if it is difficult to acquire. In The Great Gatsby by F.

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Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald develops a theme that appearances can be deceiving, a theme that is still occurring in today’s society.

Theme Development in “The Great Gatsby”

Fitzgerald introduces the theme in chapter one when Tom and Daisy have marriage problems that arise and later affirms it with Gatsby and Myrtle. Tom and Daisy come off as the perfect married couple that has a fulfilled life with money and a family, but in reality, it’s the opposite. It’s only in the first chapter of The Great Gatsby that Daisy tells Nick that Tom is having an affair. “The fact that he had one[a mistress] was insisted upon wherever he was known. His acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and left her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomever he knew”. The situation Tom and Daisy are in infers that they never really loved each other. Tom is failing at showing Daisy he cares for her.

The Marital Decay: Daisy’s Fear and Gatsby’s Role

Daisy only stays married to Tom because she is afraid of him and his antics. Instead of Daisy threatening to get a divorce, she rekindles with Gatsby and becomes more than just friends. Gatsby is Daisy’s escape from her marriage with Tom. Daisy and Tom are both having affairs, only making the marriage worse. Both Tom and Daisy are living another life with their affairs. “Psychologists say that thousands of men and women are living in two worlds, caught in a web of lies, risks, and shame that ultimately force them into secret behavior that is far different from their everyday existence.” Gatsby is a threat to Tom; it shows him that he is not the only one that can have an affair. Daisy and Tom are both failing at making their marriage work, but they still stay together. Marriages like Tom’s and Daisy’s are still very common today.

The Deception in Pursuit of the American Dream

This theme of deceiving appearances is still present in today’s society. In an article titled “The transformation of the “American Dream,” the author Robert Shiller directs his article with people that want the American Dream, but getting it is hard and comes with consequences. Shriller says, “Conflating the American dream with expensive housing has had dangerous consequences. It may have even contributed to the last housing bubble, the one that led to the financial crisis of 2008-9(1). A marriage only works with trust, and trusting your spouse can be very hard when you find out they are cheating on you. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is a saying many people today still believe in. A marriage can have many lies beneath it and still look perfect on the outside, just like in The Great Gatsby, Tom and Daisy’s marriage looks perfect when it is really far from it. Gatsby comes off as a wealthy man, but once you start talking to him, the truth starts to vanish. Gatsby says, “I am the son of some wealthy people in the midwest-all dead now” (64).

In reality, Gatsby is a bootlegger and is tied to a mob. Telling people facts about you that are not true can be very deceiving. Coming off as a very confident and rich person, when in reality you are just a liar and a coward can swindle people’s opinions. When everyone knows Gatsby is a bootlegger, your perception changes and makes you rethink if anything he is saying is true.

Conclusion: Building a Healthy Marriage

Having a healthy marriage can be very hard to maintain. Open communication, thoughtfulness, caring, and loyalty are just a few of the things needed to keep a marriage strong. A spouse needs to consider that having an affair only makes the marriage worse and diminishes all the other good things you are doing because trust, above all else, is the number one thing needed in a marriage. In the end, it is important to work on your marriage every day and never cheat on your spouse if you want a happily ever after.

Works Cited

  1. Fitzgerald, F. S. (1925). “The Great Gatsby”. Charles Scribner’s Sons.
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'The Great Gatsby' Theme of Deception and its Role in the American Dream. (2023, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-great-gatsby-theme-of-deception-and-its-role-in-the-american-dream/