What are passages or quotations in The Great Gatsby that indicate Tom's and Daisy's concept of the American Dream?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of the novel, Nick says that Daisy and Tom are completely careless in their behavior and treatment of everyone and everything around them:

"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. . ."

Nick's statement suggests that the American Dream for Daisy and Tom represents the ability to forego responsibility and to use their money for power and influence.  Throughout the novel, both Tom and Daisy have used their money to wield power over others.  Tom kept Myrtle as his mistress and treated her poorly because he knew that for her, his money and status made him a desirable "trophy" that she could parade in front of her friends.  He never cared about Myrtle and used her for his own simple pleasures.  Similarly, Daisy does not take responsibility for her own actions.  She allows others to believe that Gatsby was driving the car when Myrtle was run over even though she was the one driving.  Daisy writes Gatsby out of her life once again and settles for Tom because of his wealth.  So, the American Dream for Tom and Daisy revolves around power and frivolity.

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The Great Gatsby

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