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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American Dream is the idea that an individual from humble beginnings can earn financial freedom and advance their social class through hard work and dedication. Jay Gatsby earns the typical American Dream by entering the bootlegging business and amassing wealth through illegal means. Despite growing up in a working class family, Gatsby earns enough money to buy a beautiful mansion located on Long Island's West Egg. Despite his seemingly unlimited material possessions, Gatsby's energy is focused toward Daisy Buchanan. Jay Gatsby's American Dream involves a healthy marriage with Daisy Buchanan, which is something he cannot achieve. Gatsby's motivation for becoming extremely wealthy revolves around the possibility of one day getting married to Daisy. Unlike Gatsby, Daisy hails from a traditionally wealthy family and would not agree to marry a man of Gatsby's original social status. Gatsby eventually achieves his dream of becoming wealthy and prestigious throughout New York, only to have his hopes destroyed once Tom exposes him as a bootlegger. Daisy decides to remain in her unhealthy relationship with Tom because she does not feel secure with Gatsby. Gatsby's American Dream is unattainable because Daisy is a superficial, hollow individual, who predominantly cares about money.

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The Great Gatsby

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