For Fitzgerald, the American dream is Gatsby's dream writ large. Gatsby believes he can roll back time and start over from the period five years past when he and Daisy were young and in love. He dreams of the two of them having an idyllic future together. Likewise, according...
For Fitzgerald, the American dream is Gatsby's dream writ large. Gatsby believes he can roll back time and start over from the period five years past when he and Daisy were young and in love. He dreams of the two of them having an idyllic future together. Likewise, according to Nick, when the first settlers from Europe saw the American continent they dreamed of starting anew and building a land of opportunity in which people could achieve an idyllic future.
Fitzgerald shows the failure of the American dream in many ways, but three examples are the following.
The American dream did not eradicate the class system. As in Europe, some have excessive wealth while some must live, as the Wilsons do, in the metaphorical Valley of the Ashes. Daisy has everything money can buy, but her butler has a nose problem brought on by a job where he had to polish too much silver:
Well, he wasn’t always a butler; he used to be the silver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning till night until finally it began to affect his nose
Further, much like an Old World aristocrat, Tom can prey on the lower classes, the chambermaids, and poor wives of garage owners.
Second, Old World issues like racism and sexism have not been eradicated. Tom's belief in the superiority of the Nordic "race" threads through the book. Daisy hopes her daughter will end up beautiful and stupid, so that she will be able to get along better in the world.
Third, Gatsby's tragic fate is an indictment of the American dream of setting back the clock and starting anew. As Nick tries to tell Gatsby, you can't turn back time. Gatsby's dream, audacious as it is, mirrors the American dream's failure.