The American Dream is the idea that any citizen can attain wealth and advance their social status through good fortune, hard work, and dedication. Jay Gatsby is the ironic epitome of the American Dream in the novel The Great Gatsby. Gatsby, who was born James Gatz, comes from humble beginnings as the son of poor farmers in North Dakota. As a young man, Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, a beautiful girl from a wealthy family. Gatsby realizes that because of his lower-class background, he will never be able to win Daisy's affection. This motivates Gatsby to become wealthy through illegal means after he returns from war. In Gatsby's pursuit of the American Dream, he enters the criminal bootlegging business with Meyer Wolfsheim.
Gatsby ends up attaining the American Dream by becoming an upper-class, wealthy citizen, who enjoys a life of luxury in the West Egg. However, Gatsby becomes corrupt in his pursuit of the American Dream by believing that he can buy happiness. Despite Gatsby's fortune, he sacrifices his morals and does not develop meaningful relationships with people. While Jay Gatsby's intentions are genuine, every aspect of his luxurious life is a fraud. He loses his grasp on reality by acting like an aristocrat and pretends to be an enhanced version of himself. Unfortunately, Gatsby's efforts are in vain, as he discovers that he will never be able to provide a secure life for Daisy. Overall, Gatsby's pursuit of the American Dream does not result in his happiness and becomes a corrupting force. His emphasis on material wealth negatively affects his ability to form lasting meaningful relationships with others, and he dies an unhappy, lonely man.