“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passions, it’s possible to achieve the American dream. ” This famous saying by Tommy Hilfiger portrays the perfect definition of what the American dream represents. The American dream may have a different meaning to a variety of people; however to the majority of individuals, it is to be wealthy, happy, and successful in life. During the 1920’s, the American dream was viewed as something an individual could achieve in life through hard work; regardless of social status or family history.
It is defined as starting from a low social or economic level, and working hard towards success and prosperity. The desire to strive for what an individual wants can be accomplished through passion and dedication. F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrates many themes in the novel, The Great Gatsby, however the most significant one relates to the American dream. The Great Gatsby illustrates the theme of the American dream because it portrays how the dream is full of materialism, the aim of achieving a better lifestyle, and the desire of improvement.
It becomes evident that in the novel, Jay Gatsby is defined mainly by excessive material wealth and consumerism. He’s inclined to ostentation as displayed in his enormous mansion where he frequently throws lavish parties, his car or as how Tom refers to it “circus wagon”, and his luxurious clothes and style of dress. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, we can see that Gatsby is not born and raised into wealth and becomes rich on his own; thus his reasoning of flaunting his wealth through his expensive purchases to gain respect. All of the newly rich attempted to surpass one another and thus the size of the homes declared one’s status.
Gatsby’s mansion was mainly for exhibition. It consisted of a marble swimming pool, acres of gardens and a tower for no particular reason. This is evident when Nick says, “The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard – it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side … and a marble swimming pool, and a more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion” (Fitzgerald 5). The fact that his mansion is described as a “colossal affair,” demonstrates how hard Gatsby is trying to show off his wealth. Its architectural design is a “factual imitation” of Hotel de Ville.
Although his mansion is “spanking” new, it tries to look old since it’s covered in ivy which adds a “classic” appearance. Likewise, his luxurious parties are mainly for show as well. Most of Gatsby’s guests attend his parties because of his wealth. The fact that Gatsby invests large amounts of money into his parties shows his wealth and allows him to become relevant within the high class society. Gatsby’s automobile is an embodiment of his wealth and it is another way of showing the large quantity of money which he has at his disposal. It represents Gatsby’s materialism.
Nick describes Gatsby’s car as a “rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns” (Fitzgerald 64). Similar to his house, Gatsby’s car is ostentatious. It represents his place in society and the gaudy excess of “new money. ” During the 1920’s, the automobile was still considered a “new technology. ” It wasn’t portrayed as a mode of transportation; rather it was a different way of displaying the large amounts of wealth.
An example of this is the fact that Gatsby has a Rolls Royce that he uses and yet he has his own personal chauffeur. Gatsby’s clothes are another form of showing his materialism. It is evident that he only wears the best and the most glamorous clothes. He represents an aristocrat of the “new money. ” In the novel, Nick states, “While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher – shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indie blue” (Fitzgerald 92).
This quote demonstrates that Gatsby is indeed wealthy and is able to possess different kinds of clothing. Gatsby likes to make a spectacle with his purchases, whether it is his mansion, automobiles, or his clothing. It shows how rich and classy he has become that he even has shirts sent over from different parts of the world. Therefore, all of these materialistic belongings demonstrate that he indeed possesses a large amount of wealth and that he indeed has achieved the American dream.