The Corrupted American Dream English Literature Essay Free Essay
Within his acclaimed novel, The Great Gatsby, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the background of the uninhibited, affluent New York society of the Jazz Age to expose his positions utilizing a dramatis personae of doomed characters. While it is a important issue to the narrative, Fitzgerald does non straight address the constructs of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. In fact, you will non happen the words “ American Dream ” in this novel. However, Fitzgerald subtly weaves into his relation of the tragic narrative the terrible effects of the 1920 ‘s use of the American Dream. Fitzgerald concludes his novel by killing or wounding all his characters who took short-cuts toward an American Dream dominated by philistinism. From his authorship, I believe that Fitzgerald embraces the antique or conventional American Dream that difficult work and sacrifice outputs success.
To properly remark on Fitzgerald ‘s feelings about the American Dream, we should specify its significance. Webster ‘s Dictionary defines the American Dream as: “ American societal ideal that stresses equalitarianism and particularly material prosperity ; the prosperity or life that is the realisation of this ideal. ” John Pidgeon ‘s position of the American Dream is, “ The Dream is founded upon the philosophical basicss on which our state was built, summed up in Thomas Jefferson ‘s look that all work forces are created equal and are endowed by their Godhead with certain unalienable rights to liberty, life and the chase of felicity. In other words, America was to be a topographic point where work forces were politically free to prosecute whatever end they wished ” . ( Pidgeon, 178-179 )
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The Jazz Age, in which The Great Gatsby is set, was an epoch when the American economic system boomed and philistinism predominated. Narratives of people who had won huge wealth were common in the media at that clip. Undoubtedly, in the 1920 ‘s many Americans adopted a corrupted and mercenary version of the American Dream.
Since Fitzgerald did non straight address the specific issue of the American Dream within The Great Gatsby, we must presume some facets of Fitzgerald ‘s feelings on the issue from his authorship. Within The Great Gatsby, it appears as if Fitzgerald interchanged the construct of philistinism for the American Dream. John Pidgeon wrote, “ There is a general apprehension by readers of The Great Gatsby that it is a commentary on the American Dream and non merely a docudrama on the Jazz Age. It is a unfavorable judgment of American experience-not merely of our manners, but of our basic historic attitude toward life. The subject of Gatsby is the atrophy of the American Dream. The dream is basically anti-puritanical ( to travel from shred to wealths and hence from rejection to credence ) . ” ( Pidgeon, 179 )
The Great Gatsby may be a commentary on the 1920 ‘s version of the American Dream, but it is non an credence of it. On the first reading of The Great Gatsby, one may ab initio experience that writer F. Scott Fitzgerald personally believed in the mercenary version of the American Dream because most of his chief characters appear to hold a “ me foremost ” outlook. Fitzgerald included considerable description of self-indulgent behaviours such as Gatsby ‘s parties, Tom Buchanan ‘s Sunday afternoon rendezvous with his girlfriend, and, Gatsby and Daisy ‘s brief matter. Fitzgerald included no important portraiture of standard work duties or normal household life that would specify the conventional American Dream. On the contrary, each of Fitzgerald ‘s chief characters, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom Buchanan, and even Nick Caraway, seem to be interested merely in their ain pleasances.
While Fitzgerald describes the “ me foremost ” version of the American Dream, he does non encompass it. Fitzgerald uses the authoritative morality play format of story-telling to show the foolhardiness of the “ me foremost ” doctrine over took the conventional American Dream in the 1920 ‘s. The typical premiss of a morality drama is that the chief character makes a journey and is influenced by characters along the manner. Just like in a morality play The Great Gatsby ‘s storyteller, Nick Caraway, journeys toward self-discovery of his ain values by analyzing the behaviours and motives of his dysfunctional West Egg neighbours.
Fitzgerald really rejects of the corrupted version of the American Dream by oppressing the lives and/or liquors of his characters who adopted a avaricious American Dream ( i.e. Tom ‘s girlfriend, Myrtle Wilson is run-over, Gatsby is shot, and Daisy ‘s matrimony is challenged ) . Fitzgerald vividly undertakings either hurting or decease upon those who hold avaricious doctrines or expose immoral behaviours. Fitzgerald shows the corrupted version of the American dream is worthless: ” When the dream disintegrates, Gatsby is face to face with world. Tom and Daisy and 1000000s of other petty, pitiless Americans believe merely in the value of material things, with no room for religion and vision. As the novel stopping points, the experience of Gatsby becomes the focal point of Fitzgerald ‘s disenchantment ” ( Pidgeon, 182 ) . By reasoning his novel with such human devastation, Fitzgerald follows the morality drama format and rejects the “ me foremost ” use of the American Dream.
Fitzgerald reinforces many conventional or conservative American values at the decision of The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby, a adult male who lies in order to re-invent his ain history, dies entirely as the victim of a fatal prevarication from Tom Buchanan. Gatsby ‘s merely true griever is his elderly male parent ; therefore reenforcing the permanency of a male parent ‘s love regardless of fortunes. Vast wealth fails to bring forth any true love for any of the characters. Sinfulness is punished by violent decease. Even the construct of matrimony, although a blemished matrimony, survives for Tom and Daisy Buchanan.
The sense of topographic point plays an of import function in the relation of The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘s novel takes topographic point in the affluent enclaves of East Egg and West Egg New York, located on Long Island. The centre for wealth and power in America was and remains New York City. In the New York City of the Roaring 20 ‘s, wealth was by and large non achieved through difficult work, but through use and condemnable activities. ( Find a quotation mark ) The construct of deriving wealth, instead than gaining it the old fashioned manner, may hold replaced the conventional impression of the American Dream, at least in some parts of America. Long Island and its propinquity to wealth and high society, make The Great Gatsby interesting. Most of America was unfamiliar with such society and privilege. If The Great Gatsby was set in rural Kansas with its farming work ethic, it would non hold been about as entertaining. A narrative about greed had to be set in the cardinal location of greed.
In composing The Great Gatsby in and about New York society, Fitzgerald provided some alone penetration into the position of the American Dream at that peculiar clip. Harmonizing to the article Fitzgerald ‘s Rendering of a Dream, “ For Fitzgerald the American dream is beautiful yet monstrously flawed and distorted ” ( Hearn 191 ) . The Great Gatsby was written in 1925, good before the Great Depression. The 1920 ‘s were a clip of dining wealth creative activity and general economic enlargement. The Roaring 20 ‘s brought spread outing industry and detonating fiscal wealth. In Fitzgerald ‘s 1920 ‘s, American society was less decentralised and more geared toward those in power or place. The newspapers and magazines were filled with narratives of affluent persons such as Carnegie and Rockefeller. This may hold led to hyperbolic outlooks of the American Dream.
The Great Gatsby is slightly autobiographical as many characters and the scene reflect the writer ‘s existent life. Fitzgerald he grew up surrounded by Midwestern merchandisers and husbandmans. He attended an Eastern prep school and Princeton University before World War I. At this clip, those who attended college were either truly smart or rich. Fitzgerald ‘s household lived off his female parent ‘s heritage after his male parent twice failed in concern. Because of these concern failures, one can theorize that a immature Fitzgerald was intrigued by the impression of wealth. Obviously, wealth is a dominant subject in The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald lived and wrote among the wealthiest section of American society. Most of characters in The Great Gatsby have great wealth or sponge-off of those who do. Myrtle and George Wilson are the propertyless exclusions and they are portrayed in the most pathetic visible radiation throughout the novel. The wealth on Long Island occupants provides the great struggle between greed and love.
Like the Gatsby character, in order to win over his married woman, Zelda, Fitzgerald had to gain a comfy income. Gatsby focused on deriving money so that he could throw munificent parties to wow Daisy. Similarly, Fitzgerald worked to gain Zelda ‘s love. Harmonizing to Matthew Bruccoli, “ They embarked on an excessive life as immature famous persons ” ( Bruccoli, 2 ) . Fitzgerald began the authorship of The Great Gatsby while he and his married woman lived in the luxury of Long Island. Their dream rapidly started to unknot, “ Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald did pass money faster than he earned it ; the writer who wrote so articulately about the effects of money on character was unable to pull off his ain fundss ” ( Bruccoli, 3 ) . Along the manner Fitzgerald became an alky and his married woman was entered into a mental infirmary. Similarly to Gatsby, the Fitzgerald ‘s American Dream, which was money driven, failed them in the terminal.
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald seems to inquiries the cost of the American Dream. His characters, which were focused on deriving wealth as their American Dream, were largely damaged or destroyed. One could reason that in composing this manner, Fitzgerald really felt that the American Dream was damaged or unachievable. Nick seems to be the lone character who knows the American Dream is n’t ever gettable while Gatsby strongly believes the Dream is possible. During a conversation Nick has with Gatsby, Nick says, “ I would n’t inquire excessively much of her, ” I ventured. “ You ca n’t reiterate the yesteryear. ” Gatsby replies, “ Ca n’t reiterate the yesteryear? ‘ he cried unbelievingly. Why of courseA you can! ‘ ” ( Fitzgerald, 116 ) . Gatsby believes he can win over Daisy and relive their past love.
Critics who use The Great Gatsby to oppugn the existent achievability of the American Dream imply a sense of entitlement. No American is promised a better life. The American Dream is an aspirational challenge. Fitzgerald shows us that the American Dream can non be bought ; the American Dream must be earned through difficult work and forfeit. Coevalss of Americans have proven this. American Dream is non what is personified by Jay Gatsby: reinventing himself into something false and unauthentic by taking illegal short-cuts to roll up pretentious wealth. Jay Gatsby finally fails to derive his American Dream and ends up dead in his fantastic swimming pool.