Great Gatsby And The American Dream Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #32032949 Related Topics: F Scott Fitzgerald, American Dream, Dreams, American Literature
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Great Gatsby and the American Dream

In many ways, the first portions of the biography of Jay Gatsby embodies the American Dream: Jay Gatsby was born to unspeakable poverty and was able to climb out of it through hard work, discipline and dogged determination. This was at least how it appeared in the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, over the course of the book Fitzgerald demonstrates that the American dream is actually far more elusive and far darker than most actually realize.

Consider the exchange that the narrator, Nick Carraway has with Gatsby's father, once Gatsby has been killed. The father has found a schedule that his son wrote out for himself back when he was boy, and the schedule dictates a strict hourly routine of how the young man would divide his time each day: from the moment he rose from bed, to the dumbbell exercises he would do, to the practicing elocution and poise. This schedule even had a list of general resolves that the young Gatsby intended to make, including no more chewing or smoking. As Gatsby's father proclaims, "I come across this book by accident," said the old man. 'It just shows you, don't it?'

'It just shows you.'

'Jimmy was bound to get...


He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great for that (230).'" The tragedy of this moment is not lost on the narrator nor is it lost on the reader. It's clear that Gatsby's father is still under the illusion that hard work was the one thing that contributed to Gatsby's success and subsequent transformation. Rather, the reader knows that success, luck and a willingness to engage in underhanded shady activities were the real reason that Gatsby was able to amass such wealth. Here, Fitzgerald shows us a reluctance or an inability to let go of this precious American dream. And in the case of gatsby's Father perhaps its better he doesn't.

Fitzgerald deftly help renew our faith in the American dream before he rips it away again. In one of the final scenes between Gatsby and Buchannon, we find out why Gatsby feels he can't really call himself an Oxford man: the explanation is simple. Going to Oxford was just an opportunity that some of the soldiers were given after the armisitice and…

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Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. (2013) The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribners

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