Home » The American Dream of the Great Gatsby

The American Dream of the Great Gatsby

The American Dream is an idea and a myth that people struggle for but can never be achieved. It cannot be attained because it is an endless race for perfection and better than oneself. For some the dream might be to become impossibly wealthy, or become stronger and smarter than one can be. People pursue the American dream because they believe it has been accomplished before. We live in a society where perfection is ideal and flaws are covered up or hidden. Americans believe that everyone else is perfect because that is what they are shown, and they strive to copy that flawless image too.

They are thought of in the same way however, and the All-American power struggle ensues, with each group being more jealous than the next. America is founded on the principle of liberty, the notion that everyone is free to say and write what they want, and that everyone is equal. Some people assume that since so much freedom is allowed, at least one person is exercising that freedom to its fullest. They work their whole lives to try to be like that person, but that person does not exist. They want to be as rich as him, as sophisticated as him, and as powerful as him.

These people are called the wealthy. Karl Marx would describe them as “The Haves”. They differ morally with the majority of the population, but then again they vastly different from the people they perceive as having all the freedom to do what they want. The Great Gatsby illustrates the story these people, and how they are corrupted by the potential of seemingly limitless freedom. Jay Gatsby and Tom and Daisy Buchanan are the elite. They have it all, from huge sprawling mansions to private golf courses. They want it all, and more often than not, they get it all.

Tom and Daisy are out for pleasure, but loner Jay Gatsby is looking for love after wasting his life for so many years. Tom and Daisy Buchanan are not modest people. They know they are rich and they flaunt it. They openly show off their wealth openly to Nick when he comes to visit. Money has taken over their lives and they know it. They are living the American Dream of money, power, and sophistication. Tom is described as a “hulking wad of muscle”, which could mean that the Buchanans is a deciption of the corrupted rich families with money and power.

Daisy is the sophisticate, for example, she is once described as wearing a “white evening gown”. Her clothes are described in detail occasionally, and she has an outfit for every occasion. The Buchanans have money, power and sophistication but they do not know how to use it, so they splurge it on trips to tropical islands and fancy cars. They are indirectly described as the corrupted and immature 1% of America’s population; for example, when Myrtle Wilson and then Gatsby were killed, they had flown off somewhere without paying their respects.

That shows how useless and unimportant Myrtle was to Tom, and even though Tom and Gatsby were enemies, Tom could have had the respect and maturity to at least call. When Nick sees Tom walking down the street a few months later, Tom admits to lying to George that Gatsby hit Myrtle, when in fact Jordan hit her. He lied to have his enemy killed just because Gatsby was immature enough to threaten to take Tom’s wife away from him. Jay Gatsby had been a loner all his life by choice because of the life and power given to him by money. Although he threw eloquent banquets at his mansion, he always stayed out of the way because of his shyness.

There has been a veil between him and the real world for his whole life because of his family’s wealthiness. Gatsby shows that some of the people that seem perfect are far from it, and it shatters the idea of the American dream because of how he made his money. He has been in racketeering for as long as anyone has known him, which means all his “new” money was made illicitly. His family’s fortune was squandered long ago. He also has none of the things trademark of the American dream, like the kids, the wife, and the honest yet successful living.

Nobody sees that though, because nobody knows him well enough. They all assume he has a wife hidden away somewhere, and that he is too busy to come out to talk during his parties. In closing, the Buchanan’s and Gatsby seem to be the perfect Americans on the outside, but they have either made their wealth wrongly before, or they use it immorally now. None of them are perfect Americans, much less perfect people. It shows that the American dream is a fairy tale, a myth to instill patriotism in the hearts of the citizens.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.