Chasing the American Dream in "The Great Gatsby" Analytical Essay

Chasing the American Dream in "The Great Gatsby"
An analysis of how F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the American dream in "The Great Gatsby".
# 153622 | 1,052 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jul 22, 2013 in Literature (American)

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The paper examines how F. Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby" illustrated the American dream as an almost unattainable accomplishment. The paper looks at the traits of the American dream that include happiness, financial stability through wealth and success, and shows how each character in the novel demonstrates the impossibility of attaining the dream.

From the Paper:

"The American dream is further illustrated by a statement from Nick Carraway. The sentiment, "The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day," reveals multiple realizations regarding the American Dream. (Harvey) The need to be financially stable is further revealed. The portion of the American dream that identifies family is also revealed. Nick's grandfather, uncle, and father are each included in the previously mentioned statement. Their family has been financially stable through several generations. The final realization provided by the statement is the dream of ownership. The American dream includes the need to own various things. In this case, a business is the object of desire. This object was definitely hard to attain. Their family came from Scotland and survived the war in order to attain and maintain ownership of this business.
"Daisy reveals another aspect of the American dream. She reveals the happiness aspect. The American dream definitely includes being happy. The struggle for happiness is illustrated through the statement "In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year... Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it." (Decker) This is a metaphor for complete happiness being unattainable."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed. New essays on The great Gatsby. Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Decker, Jeffrey Louis. Made in America: Self-Styled Success from Horatio Alger to Oprah Winfrey. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby. Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • Harvey, W. J. "Theme and Texture in The Great Gatsby." (1957): 12-20.
  • Scrimgeour, Gary J. "Against" The Great Gatsby"." Criticism 8.1 (1966): 75-86.

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