The American Dream - "The Great Gatsby"

Essay by debbiejoon26High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2006

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Everybody has a concept of "The American Dream". Merriam-Webster's definition is: an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity. To achieve the American Dream, a person should have money, upward mobility, cars, be married with the perfect average of 2.5 kids, and freedom. The person should be a hard working and self-made man to deserve what he has strived for.

In "The Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald, most of the characters don't achieve the American Dream. If Gatsby and Nick are part of the Nouveau Riche, does that make them hard working and accomplished men? Just because Tom and Daisy live in East Egg, where the old money live, does that mean that they have not achieved the American Dream? Not exactly. Gatsby has made his money through hard work although he has no wife or children, which he tries to get.

He has a flashy car and wears flashy clothes so that he can attract his love, Daisy. Wait, isn't Daisy marriage to Tom? Even though Tom and Daisy are married and have a daughter, they, like many couples, don't get along too well. Tom secretly has an affair with Myrtle, married to George, while Gatsby is trying to grasp Daisy's attention, which again, is married to Tom.

George doesn't achieve the American Dream because he lives in the Valley of Ashes and doesn't have the American style "white picket fence". "He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York. He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive." (30) Tom tells Nick that George is clueless about his affair with Myrtle. Gatsby has corrupted the idea of the American dream by going too far to impress Daisy when she merely isn't interested. Myrtle on the other hand,