What is the significance of the characters pursuing their American Dream in The Great Gatsby?

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Virtually everyone in The Great Gatsby is pursuing his or her version of The American Dream, and almost none of them achieve it.

Those from humble backgrounds such as Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson are particularly vulnerable to the Dream's intoxicating allure. It is instructive that they are both eventually destroyed...

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Virtually everyone in The Great Gatsby is pursuing his or her version of The American Dream, and almost none of them achieve it.

Those from humble backgrounds such as Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson are particularly vulnerable to the Dream's intoxicating allure. It is instructive that they are both eventually destroyed by their pursuit of what turns out to be nothing more than a fantasy.

Although Gatsby ends up being phenomenally wealthy, with a large mansion, lots of money, and a nice collection of fashionable shirts, he can never have the one thing he wants most of all: Daisy Buchanan. And the reason for this is that blood still counts for something, even in this materialistic age. Gatsby may be rich, but he's new money, not like the blue-blood Buchanans. And no matter how much money he makes, no matter how vigorous his pursuit of The American Dream, he will always be an outsider.

Myrtle Wilson is also pursuing The American Dream by hooking up with Tom Buchanan. Her affair with this scion of an elite East Egg family has given her a tantalizing glimpse into how the other half lives. Myrtle is so overcome by her obsession with The American Dream, with getting out of the Valley of Ashes once and for all, that she's deluded herself into thinking that she'll soon be the next Mrs. Buchanan. But like Gatsby, she has no chance whatsoever of being accepted by the old money elite.

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