How would you compare The Beautiful and Damned with The Great Gatsby in regards to the American Dream?

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These two novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald are similar in the attitude they show toward the American Dream. Fitzgerald generally stresses the artifice and hypocrisy of a society that celebrates wealth and status while it holds out the false promise of equality in the opportunity to succeed. The main difference...

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These two novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald are similar in the attitude they show toward the American Dream. Fitzgerald generally stresses the artifice and hypocrisy of a society that celebrates wealth and status while it holds out the false promise of equality in the opportunity to succeed. The main difference is that The Great Gatsby includes a central character who buys into the dream, only to end in the nightmare of disappointment and death. The author has a cynical stance on the "dream."

Tom and Daisy are similar to Anthony and Gloria in their backgrounds. Tom already has plenty of family money, while Anthony is waiting on his inheritance. None of these people are motivated to achieve because their needs are all met, yet they greedily want more.

Jay Gatsby, in the backstory Nick finally hears, started out poor and had some success due to serendipity as much as hard work. He parlayed his luck into a fortune by servicing the desires of the rich, through bootlegging. While he may have worked hard, his business was illegal. Gatsby acquires the outward symbols but does not have solid values. His unrequited love is for a shallow rich girl. Wilson, the unsuccessful hard worker, becomes the instrument of Gatsby's demise but pays with his own life as well.

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On the one hand, The Great Gatsby represents the American Dream in the 1920s (a phrase not coined until much later) as the potential to succeed in striving, to better one's financial prospects and abilities, and to climb to the level of wealth held by "old money" of long-established wealthy families. Gatsby embodies this as he strives to attain a level that will be acceptable to Daisy.

On the other hand, The Beautiful and the Damned represents the American Dream as the desire for choking indulgence in all things physical that incline toward physical, mental and spiritual dissipation in the partaker. Gloria and Anthony seem to display their digust with this "dream" through their rebellion.

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