Compare the treatment of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby to Revolutionary Road.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In both works, the verdict rendered on the American Dream is that any pursuit undertaken without honesty and a sense of reflection within it is doomed to failure.  Gatsby naively believes in his own idealism about "the American Dream."  There is little in way of reflection about it and even less in terms of honesty and pragmatism adopted.  The American Dream is shown in Fitzgerald's work to be one that entices individuals for all of the wrong reasons.  There is scant candor and rumination about what defines being in such a condition.  Frank and April Wheeler in Mendes' film demonstrate some of the same tendencies.  The American Dream is one in which there is outward demonstration of success with little in way of internal reflection and open discourse about motivations and rationale.  Frank and April are incapable of embracing the dialogue that assesses truthful and honest notions of reality.  Rather, they are shown to embrace the next thing that can help to bring happiness. Paris, acting, computers in a professionally upward mobile world and even abortions are all a part of an elusive pursuit towards a dream that is not rooted in substantive reality with openness and a sense of discourse intrinsic to it.   In much the same way, Gatsby's throwing of the next big party, his pursuit of Daisy, and mistakenly believing that the trappings of wealth are substantive and real similarly operate as "the next thing" for the characters in Fitzgerald's novel.  Both works operate in the realm of exploring the hollowness that exists within the concept of "the American Dream."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial