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In The Great Gatsby, how does Jay Gatsby represent the American Dream?I'm trying to...

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kwak1450 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted October 7, 2012 at 5:46 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, how does Jay Gatsby represent the American Dream?

I'm trying to write a paper about Gatsby and comparing him to the orphan Annie from the movie since they both represent the American Dream ... So anyone ??

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nnwilli | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 7, 2012 at 6:34 PM (Answer #1)

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Jay Gatsby represents the American dream because he is born of humble beginnings and rises to a position of wealth and power. We are aware of his humble beginnings when we learn about his early meeting of Daisy while still a young soldier on a military base. Daisy initially loves him, but their romance is stymied by her parents and his departure for "The Great War."

After the war, Gatsby knows that the only way he could ever be an acceptable husband for Daisy is if he were to accumulate tremendous wealth. To that end, Gatsby begs, borrows and steals his way into the bootlegging industry. The wealth he accumulates from bootlegging buys him the tremendous house and parties Gatsby needs to once again catch Daisy's attention.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how Gatsby made his money, just that he had a dream and achieved it (almost) through hard work and determination.

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2012 at 1:56 PM (Answer #2)

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Like Annie, Gatsby gained success with help from someone else. While still living under the name Gatz, Jay meets Dan Cody. 

In an action that changes the young boy's life, Cody welcomes him aboard his yacht and introduces him to fine living. Gatsby becomes the protege of the wealthy goldminer...

Though Gatsby was never orphaned, he was not acquainted with anyone with access to "fine living" until he met Cody. When Cody dies, Gatsby uses the lessons he has learned from him to build a fortune of his own. In this way, the story of Jay Gatsby is similar to that of orphan Annie. 

Also, each of these figures represents the classic American Dream story of "rags to riches", as they rise to success from humble beginnings.

This achievement of transformation from one social station to another is, effectively, the nature of the American Dream. 

When writing this essay, you can look at the talents possessed by each character and assess how their specific talents were learned, how they led to a specific type of success, and how it was not talent alone but hard work also that led to success. 



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