F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is a fictional story that depicts America in the roaring twenties. America’s 1920’s were a time of significant social and political change. The stock market exploded after World War 1. This led to a surge in national wealth and increased consumption. America was subject to extreme economic changes, which resulted in wealth being distributed unevenly among certain individuals. Although The Great Gatsby is a story about love between men and women, it also focuses on the corruption that underlies the American Dream.
The novel’s narrator Nick Carraway moves from the Midwest to New York in search of fortune. Nick moves into a small house located in West Egg, Long Island. Nick Carraway moves into a luxurious mansion that Jay Gatsby owns. Gatsby is portrayed as a wealthy man who throws extravagant parties at his mansion almost every week. Nick slowly gets to know Gatsby as he immerses himself in New York’s rich social scene. Nick learns that Gatsby was born into an impoverished Minnesota family and turned himself into a successful bootlegger. It becomes clear that Gatsby is driven to be wealthy and throws parties in order to attract Daisy Buchanan, Nick Carraways’ cousin. They met before the war, and they fell in love because Gatsby was a soldier commander. After Daisy left for war, she married Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man. Jay Gatsby wants Daisy Buchanan to marry, even though she is already married. Gatsby tries to win Daisy over by reimagining himself as a wealthy socialite and illegally distributing liquor. Even though Gatsby is extremely wealthy and throws extravagant parties every weekend, he feels sad and alone without Daisy. It is clear that Gatsby can’t live without Daisy in this novel.
The Great Gatsby is a romanticized tale about a man or woman, but it also shows the bigger picture behind the corruption and exploitation of the American Dream. The American Dream is the freedom to enjoy economic success and prosperity. Common man found it attractive that anyone, regardless of social status, could become rich. The author reveals the harsh truth about the American Dream in his novel. Fitzgerald describes the roaring twenties in a time of degenerated moral and social values. The desire for power and wealth surpasses noble and moral values. In the roaring 20s, America’s ways were corrupted by money and stagnant social values. Fitzgerald shows throughout this novel the selfishness and greed behind the ultimate goal to achieve the American Dream. In the roaring 20s, America’s society was corrupted by anyone who became rich.
The Great Gatsby: Corruption of the American Dream in the 1920
It is a difficult journey to achieve any kind of success in life. Only a few people are willing to go the extra mile and push their potential. A small percentage of people reach professional sports, become great actors or actresses, or are successful in business.
This is because so many people are trying to achieve the same goal, while only a few can. In a dream driven only by money, corruption and deceit are natural. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby is a classic of twentieth-century literature that critiques the American dream.
This story shows how money can corrupt the lives of Americans who are trying to achieve the “American Dream”. Many characters in The Great Gatsby believe they are living the American dream. However, their actions and decisions only create a false impression of it.
The setting of The Great Gatsby takes place in the 1920s. Also known as the “roaring 20s”, this is when a new ideology emerged. This free market idea and the industrial revolution offered an opportunity to grab the market. The potential to become rich was becoming apparent. New York City was at the forefront of this social change.
New York is well-known for its culture, parties and great restaurants. It also has a high population, fashionable downtown areas, fun, media, pop culture, and fashion. The war brought about an influx of prosperity, which led to a huge consumer society and monetary value. People were able to achieve their goals and have new opportunities, which led to a richer upper-class lifestyle. It was all about money, partying and gambling. This era’s moral depravity meant that human existence would continue to decline into the abyssal of sin.
Jay Gatsby was a man whose life was like the American dream. Jay Gatsby is New York’s most famous man, known for throwing the most extravagant parties. Jay lives in a gorgeous mansion with manicured gardens and walkways, new cars in his driveway. His closet is full of the most stylish suits and beautiful shirts that would make Daisy weep.
His house was described as “a colossal affairs…a factual imitationof some Hotel de Ville Normandy with a tower, spanking new under an thin beard of fresh ivy and a marble pool and more than forty-acres of lawn and garden.” (Pg9) Daisy and Tom are also living such lives. “For example, hed brought Down a String of Polo Ponies from Lake Forest.” (Pg10) These characters all seem to value the material aspect of life and strive for acceptance, wealth, and power.
These materialistic possessions may seem to be a picture of happiness for those who seek it, but they are a source of stress, envy, hubris and corruption. Jay did everything to make his life and his possessions perfect, but only to win Daisy back. Jay’s “extraordinary gift for hope.” (Pg6) Jay spent so much for Daisy, but it wasn’t enough as his wealth was not comparable to his rivals.
She chose Jay, her true love, over her richer husband of the better class “egg” towards the end. Jay was the man she chose to be with, and she chose to live in riches and wealth. Gatsby also earned all of his money illegally as a bootlegger who sold illegally alcohol to make his income. Instead of striving for equality, they were selfish and desired everything for themselves. For example, the West against East egg or who was better.
There is still social discrimination within society. Tom is the prime example. “It’s up to us, the Nordics who dominate race to watch out for these other races or they will have control of everything.” (Pg17). All of these examples are crucial to show the evidence of a change in the values of 1920s and the destruction they caused among society.
Many people share the American dream of living a happy and prosperous life. People who become too involved in materialistic pursuits will only bring more misery and not happiness. People will not be honest and truthful with themselves about the paths they take to realize their dream.
Man’s ambition is full of venality. They will do anything to achieve their goals in business. This is as much a nightmare than a dream. The dream of becoming rich is not like the dreams of actors, models, and athletes. It will lead to corruption in your mind. While it is a dream for those who haven’t yet traveled the path of wealth, once you do this it will destroy the true meaning and purpose of your life, which is love. Jay Gatsby lost sight of the truth, which led to his own death.
The Great Gatsby is a novel about the corruption of the American Dream.‘
The American Dream is fundamentally about the belief that anyone can work hard and achieve happiness and success in America. The American Dream has evolved over the years to include ideas about achieving freedom, wealth, and power. The Jazz Age, which was a period when “The Great Gatsby” was published in 1920s, was gaining momentum. The American Dream was more about material possessions that could be used to demonstrate wealth and status or to indicate success in life.
The American Dream was destroyed by materialism during this time. The intense focus on power and wealth led to the loss of morals. The American Dream isn’t the only theme in ‘The Great Gatsby. There are many other themes, including the emptiness that lies behind the glamour of Jazz Age, the past, and morality. To show the corruption of America’s Dream, the novel uses the relationship between two prominent characters.
Gatsby is the title character. He lives by the American Dream and seeks wealth, power, status, and power. Because he was born without any of these, he strives to attain them. He was forced to work as a janitor in order to pay for college. This job was so disgusting that he only stayed for two weeks. Perhaps this is when he felt the need to succeed. Gatsby eventually achieves the wealth and success he had always hoped for, but Tom Buchanan accuses Gatsby of being a “bootlegger”. This is a clear indication of the corruption that led to Gatsby’s success.
Daisy is the symbol of all that Gatsby hopes for. She has wealth and social standing and Gatsby imagines her as representing everything he desires in the world. Gatsby longs to love and be with Daisy but their differences in social class prevent this from happening. The American Dream was supposed to eliminate social classes, since people were supposed be able make their own success. The American Dream was a perfected, idealized vision of life. Gatsy also idealizes Daisy. He is captivated by Daisy’s “actual and astonishing presence” and is filled with wonder at her. Gatsby “hid his eyes” as Daisy was brushing her hair. This suggests that Daisy was too bright and beautiful to be seen directly. He was so obsessed with Daisy that he “hardly knew what he was talking” when he first met her. This was despite her marriage with Tom Buchanan. Gatsby spent the rest of his short life trying to impress Daisy. He believes her voice is “full-of-money”, suggesting that she means wealth.
Although Daisy seems perfect to Gatsby, she eventually shows that she has the same flaws and limitations as the American Dream. The things that are wanted, money and Daisy, don’t deserve the meaning or desire they bring. This is clearly illustrated by Nick’s thought, “What a grotesque, rose is” – which is a metaphor to Daisy’s character. A rose is supposed be a beautiful thing, like Gatsby’s Daisy idea. But in reality, her character is disgusting. Daisy is extremely materialistic and treasures expensive possessions.
This can be seen in her reaction to Gatsby’s “beautiful shirt” – she doesn’t cry until she sees the shirts during their reunion. She is shown around Gatsby’s house and is given a definition field of luxury. This is used to indicate that Gatsby wants Daisy to be impressed with his lavish possessions. Adjectives such as “rich”, “silk” and “gold” are used. Daisy’s materialism and lack of happiness shows that she isn’t the idealized, perfect being Gatsby imagines. The same goes for money. Even if they have a lot, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy.
This corruption is also shown by the other characters. Daisy and Tom prove that money is not the American Dream. They appear to have everything they could want: a lavish home, one another, and more money than they actually need. But underneath the façade of happiness is dissatisfaction about life. Tom is unhappy with his marriage because he “got a woman in New York” with whom he is having an affair.
Tom and Daisy are the perfect example of a couple who can achieve the American Dream. However, they are so deplorable that they do not see the American Dream as anything but a waste. They are “careless people”, with no morals. They show that you don’t have to work hard in order to achieve the American Dream. Daisy must ask, “What is the point of planning?” “. Myrtle is another character that clearly shows the corruption of America’s Dream.
She is a dreamer. Like Gatsby, she desires power and status. And she believes that she can achieve this by having an affair with Tom Buccanan. Myrtle’s personality is revealed by the meaning of “myrtle”, which is a climbing plant. She is lying to herself, as Tom Buchanan shows no affection for her and behaves violently towards her. He “broke her nose” with his open hand. The American Dream is not possible because of the way Myrtle and Gatsby, the dreamers in “The Great Gatsby”, end up.
Both die violent, unnatural deaths. “Myrtle Wilson, her world violently destroyed, knelt on the road and mixed her think dark blood and the dust,” and Gatsby is killed by George Wilson. This is how America, as represented in “The Great Gatsby”, treats those who dream. Topography is used as a way to depict different types and groups of people. Different social classes or types of people are shown in different places in “The Great Gatsby”. “East Egg” is the upper class and “West Egg”, the self-made people who have made it to the top.
Residents of East Egg feel West Eggers are inferior, which is why Gatsby cannot be with Daisy. Gatsby, a West Egg resident, is all tackiness (e.g. his “toilet set made of pure dull gold”, which is typical of the lower classes, but none of the elegance associated with the upper classes. The “Valley of Ashes”, another location in “The Great Gatsby”, appears to be a representation of people whose dreams are not realized. This area is described by the adjectives “terrible”, “desolate” and “dismal,” which suggests utter depression.
The land is covered with “bleak dust” and the men are “ashy-grey”. Residents feel discouraged and hopeless. These are people who have not achieved their dreams. This demoralized and defeated attitude of the Valley of Ashes resident shows that the American Dream is corrupted. These people may have worked hard but have failed to achieve their dreams, which completely undermines the core of the American Dream. The motifs and symbols in ‘The Great Gatsby” are another way to expose the corruption of America’s Dream.
Cars are a key motif in this novel. Cars are a symbol of status. Only the very wealthy can afford cars. Gatsby’s car, which is “a rich cream color, bright with nickel and swollen everywhere in its monstrous height” shows that he doesn’t fit in with the East Eggers of the upper classes as he had hoped. The symbol at the end Tom and Daisy dock, “The Great Gatsby”, is the “green light”. It represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams, but it is not always within reach.
Gatsby hopes and dreams to be with Daisy. As in the novel, Daisy is so closely linked with the American Dream that the green light almost becomes an emblem for the American Dream. However, it cannot be achieved for all people, even Gatsby. Although not dominant, the weather is another theme in “The Great Gatsby”. Weather is directly related to the mood or atmosphere of the time. When the tension between Daisy and Gatsby is lessened, Nick announces that it has stopped raining and there are “twinkle-bells” of sunshine.
This portrays Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship when they are having fun together using pathetic fallacy. The themes of ‘The Great Gatsby,’ other than the corruption and hollowness of America’s Dream, are not the only ones. They also highlight the emptiness of the lives of the wealthy in the 1920s. The 1920s were a time of great joy in America. The war was over and the economy was strong. This period of partying was known as the ‘Jazz Age’. The glamor of this era’s upper classes is exposed in ‘The Great Gatsby.
The simile describes the people as “like moths”, which “came and went”, illustrating how these people would move insubstantially, without engaging in meaningful conversations or taking any actions. Gatsby’s death is a symbol for the end of the Jazz Age. Another theme in this novel is the relationship between time and the past. Gatsby is obsessed about the past and tries to recreate his time with Daisy prior to her marriage. This is illustrated when Gatsby leans on a clock and it falls. He “caught it” with trembling hands, demonstrating how much Gatsby wants to stop the time.
Nick also reflects on Gatsby’s passing, stating that they will “beared back ceaselessly into history”, which proves how Gatsby is obsessed with the past. These themes demonstrate that there are many ways to interpret “The Great Gatsby” and that the primary objective may not be showing the corruption in the American Dream. Conclusion: I agree with the assertion that “The Great Gatsby” is a novel about corruption of the American Dream. However, there are other themes in it which seem to complement the main theme of the American Dream.
This theme is illustrated using a variety of literary devices, including motifs, symbols, and geography. Gatsby’s and Daisy’s relationship that failed is the most representative of the corruption in the American Dream. It is probable their entire relationship is a metaphor. The American Dream doesn’t live up to its expectations and became unpopular. Daisy also cannot live up the ideal Daisy believes she represents. Their relationship is not happy.