The American Dream

The American Dream originated in the early days of the American settlement, with the mostly poor immigrants searching for opportunities. It was first manifested in the Declaration of Independence, which describes an attitude of hope. The Declaration of Independence states that “all man are created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”. In The Great Gatsby the American Dream plays a big role. In it you can see what happened to it during the 1920s. The values have totally changed, instead of striving for equality, they just want to get as rich as they could get.
Fitzgerald's social insight in The Great Gatsby focuses on a select group: privileged young people between the ages of 20 and 30. In doing so, Fitzgerald provides a vision of the "youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves". Throughout the novel Nick finds himself surrounded by lavish mansions, fancy cars, and an endless supply of material possessions. A drawback to the seemingly limitless excess Nick sees in the Buchanans, for instance, is a throwaway mentality extending past material goods. Nick explains, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made".

So it is not surprising that the new kind of "American Dream" fails several times, which F. Scott Fitzgerald describes in his book. He shows that people are not yet treated equally and that social discrimination still exists, which is described in the scene where Tom and Wilson talk to each other in Chapter II. For the reader it is immediately clear that Tom sees himself as superior to Wilson. We can see that when Wilson wants to resell Tom’s old car. Tom simply goes on with his game with Wilson since he wants to continue his affair with Wilson’s wife, as a result of that he does not give the car to Wilson.

Most of the people appearing in The Great Gatsby are full of hope. Especially Gatsby who is hoping to win Daisy back. He has an “extraordinary gift of hope“ and he sacrifices himself to fulfill his dream. He struggles to get into the upper class. In the end his dream fails completely, and his life finds an abrupt end.
Nick Carraway is a pragmatic man, who comes from the Middle-West, and does not share the American dream . But still he is striving for something, he wants to be himself, as he sees himself, tolerant, objective and reliable. The money of the upper class is just a tiny bit of his dream together with his admiration for the rich East Eggers. Mainly, his dream consists of mental values, of a pursuit of honesty. He says of himself “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known”.

Daisy lives her American Dream with Tom as her husband, who has a lot of money. She does not have any long term aims in her life. Having that kind luxury around her, she lives for the moment, and does not think about the next one.

Tom was born into his American Dream. He never had to work in his life, and got all his money from his parents. Since everything is perfect for his narrow-minded eyes, he does not want any changes. Losing Daisy would be a major change in his dream because he sees her as one of his possessions.

Wilson’s dream is to earn enough money to move away with his wife and to start a new life some place beautiful. But his dream can just become true with the help of Tom. Although, Wilson does not realize that Tom does not want to help him at all. His dream fails, when his wife is killed, which is the point where life becomes senseless to him.

His wife, Myrtle, has also a dream, she wants to become a girl of the upper class. Having an affair with Tom, she acts as if she already belonged among those rich people. Tom is her key to the upper class and she would do everything for him. She hates Daisy, because Daisy is standing in her way, for her marriage with Tom.

Although everyone’s idea of the American Dream varies a little bit, for Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby the American Dream is all about finding a life less ordinary and reaching the top.

Some more details about the American Dream of Jay Gatsby:
Jay Gatsby is the epitome of every man trying to find the American Dream. He is looking for a life better than the one he grew up with, filled with fortune and materialistic wealth. When Gatsby meets Daisy, he finds what he is looking for. For Gatsby, Daisy is his American Dream. From then on he does everything he can to achieve her. Gatsby refuses to see Daisy’s faults and she can do no wrong.

In reality, Daisy is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the American Dream. She is shallow, greedy and concerned with nothing but external wealth and material luxury. Gatsby’s failure to realize this symbolizes America’s failure to realize that the American Dream is not all that wonderful.

Gatsby comes from a poor family and he rose to the top of wealth, something every American in the 1910-1920’s was trying to do. Making his fortune off illegal alcohol and stolen securities, Jay Gatsby demonstrates his place at the top with his illustrious Saturday evening parties. However, like many struggling to get to the top, for Gatsby, the American Dream is still out of reach and his goal will not be complete without Daisy.

Gatsby transforms to get to the top. Instead of working hard and going to school, Gatsby drops out and takes the criminal highway to wealth. The moral rights and ethics of good are overshadowed by the need to become rich, something that was happening frequently in the 1920’s. He changes his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, and re-invents himself and his surroundings to suit what he strives for- the perfect world of a life less ordinary. On the one hand, he demonstrates with his immoral rise to fame how the American Dream of wealth was nothing but shallow money and unprecedented wealth.

In reality, the American Dream is based on nothing but immoral wealth and materialistic desires for the pleasures in life. However, once at the top, there is nowhere to go but down. And, for those who took the easy road of immorality to reach the American Dream, the ride down is nothing short of a ride from Hell.