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Jay Gatsby And The American Dream English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 837 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Many people think the American Dream as a way to gain wealth and reach a higher social status, to a point where you will never have to worry about money again. Members of the lower social class often think that obtaining more money will solve all their problems. The dream consists of both materialistic strength and spiritual wealth. Jay Gatsby, fails to reach this dream for his love Daisy from only gaining a large amount of money. Though it is a dream that he has never succeeded to attain, it shows how the novel is largely based off of the idea of the American Dream.

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Gatsby realized when he was young that wealth would lead him to a higher class, and a higher class would make him closer to daisy. In order to gain the necessary wealth to reach the next social class Gatsby does many things that sacrifice his morality to attain his success, doing many illegal things as a criminal was the only way he could get this money. He went as far as to be “in the drug business” or in other words, bootlegging, and lies to Nick and everyone else that he gained his money from inheriting from his parents. But it was later found out by tom that his parents were alive and also very unsuccessful farmers. In the world where materials overshadow all emotions, Gatsby has taken the idea of gaining wealth to the point where it is more important that his love for Daisy. He throws parties for the rich, for pleasure, for everyone. The line said by Daisy in the book, “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon…and the day after that, and the next thirty years” (Fitzgerald 125) shows how bored all the rich people are of their own life. Gatsby has the parties mainly hoping that Daisy would one day go to one of them. But instead of just having a party when he feels like he wants to, he keeps his huge house full of interesting people at all times. This desire for wealth and pleasure has caused him to fail, in that he has lost all basic fundamentals for love and life.

When a desire for wealth takes over the greater part of a person having a relationship is no longer priority. Family relationships are not important amongst high class members of society, Gatsby even goes to the point where he lies about his parents are dead. Marriage is now just a term on paper, rather than a proof of love between two individuals. Gatsby assumes that marriage rarely represents true love and tells Tom at the hotel that Daisy does not love him at all. More than the meaning of marriage, Gatsby loses all sense of family. His wealth has become his family. With his money that provides him his feeling of security and ease of life. Gatsby tries to regain the feeling of having a family with his money, by keeping a lot of people around. Nick describes a story about how Gatsby agreed to pay five years of taxes on all the neighboring cottages if the owners would have their roofs thatched with straw, this shows his new ambition to be better than everybody else around and be richer than them.

Gatsby takes advantage of his wealth to replace his lost emotions with the person he loves. In this society love can only be possible through having the same social status as the other person. Gatsby had experienced a situation where he was in a different social class with Daisy earlier in life when he was in the army. His love for Daisy was impossible because he was just a man with no money and no family with him, which means he would have no money to inherit and expected from society is that he will not able to become as rich as he did. Gatsby realizes his dream of love and does everything he can to reach it. With his current social class a relationship with daisy would be impossible. Gatsby becomes determined to reduce that gap between them in order for him to have a relationship with Daisy. This is a clear representation of the American Dream found in the book. He does reach the materialistic need in terms of money necessary to love her, but he has concentrated too much on money and power. Gatsby expects Daisy to love him forever and they can live on together for the rest of their lives, but he has already lost the power to love someone. He no longer possesses the ability to handle a relationship and take care of a person with real love. After accepting that his dream has failed, Gatsby tries to prove that true love will not lose against wealth by saying Daisy never loved Tom.

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The American Dream is a significant idea that led to Gatsby’s doom and failure. It was his motivation in life to become a better person, until it went too far and he became absorbed into gaining wealth. His goal of love has been replaced by a desire for wealth and pleasure. The American Dream only meant for gaining an indefinite amount of wealth, but never for saving a person in the spiritual mind. A person is not able to live off of purely money. This unreasonable desire for more than what will ever be needed has caused Gatsby to fall from his position.


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