The “American Dream” in The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald sees the “American Dream” as something corrupt, and not easy to achieve. The “American Dream” is made up of a long social ladder, and it is often impossible to be accepted at the top of this social ladder. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby as a good example of the “American Dream.” However, there is a fine line between what many think is the “American Dream,” and what Fitzgerald thinks is the “American Dream.” There is a difference between Gatsby’s “American Dream,” and the ideal “American Dream” of others. The “American Dream” can be perceived in a number of different ways.
It can be optimism for the future. Some people start out with nothing, work honestly toil night and day, and sometimes never achieve anything. There are also people that have their family’s financial support to educate them. Finally, there is the illegal way of achieving the “American Dream.” Gatsby felt that the illegal way was the most appealing to him.
There are a number of passages that lead us to infer Fitzgerald’s view of the “American Dream.” Near the beginning of the story, Nick drops the first hints that lead us to infer Fitzgerald’s view of the “American Dream.” Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction-Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament”- it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
No- Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elation of men. (6)In this passage, Nick feels sympathy for Gatsby. He feels sympathy for Gatsby because Gatsby’s “American Dream” is to be wealthy, and to be accepted into Daisy and Tom’s social class. That social class is exactly what Nick scorns.
Jay Gatsby’s goal is to be accepted in this diabolical and deceitful social class. This was Gatsby’s “American Dream.” The only way Gatsby would have a chance at winning Daisy’s heart would be to enter this elite social class. Fitzgerald does not portray the “American Dream” as something unattainable, but he portrays it as something that is not necessary to be happy. Fitzgerald does not think that the “American Dream” is something so terrific that everyone should strive to achieve it. In Fitzgerald’s eyes, the “American Dream” is something that is not for all people. Fitzgerald did not attain the “American Dream,” yet he is fine.
The “American Dream” forces people to make poor decisions in an attempt to climb their way out of poverty and into the upper echelon of the American social structure. In Gatsby’s case, the “American Dream” grabbed a hold of him so tightly that when he actually achieved it; he did not actually want it any more. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a caution for generations to come that they do not have to follow anyone else’s dreams, but they should follow their own.