What is Fitzgerald's view on the American Dream?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, believed that the American Dream was not really feasible. Gatsby, the protagonist of the novel, has defined the American Dream not only as merely gaining wealth, but also as being accepted into the stratum of society that was born elite.

While Gatsby has been able to gain wealth through mainly illegal means (it is insinuated in the book that he is a gambler and bootlegger in the days of Prohibition), he is unable to shake off his lower-class origins and gain full acceptance into the "old money" class represented by Daisy and Tom Buchanan. In the end, Daisy rejects Gatsby's advances and his attempts to rekindle their age-old relationship, and Tom treats Gatsby with contempt. Though many people appear to like Gatsby and many attend his lavish parties, almost no one (save Nick, the narrator of the novel) attends Gatsby's funeral. Gatsby's money allows him to construct an ornate mansion and to throw thrilling parties, but, in the end, he dies friendless and without any real inroads into the elite stratum of society. His money has not provided him with an education, with a sense of comfort about himself or his origins, or with full acceptance. The American Dream of truly moving from the lower classes to the elite classes is therefore denied to him. 

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The Great Gatsby

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