In The Great Gatsby, what argument does F. Scott Fitzgerald make about the American Dream?

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The essence of the American Dream is the rags-to-riches tale where someone achieves greatness through their own hard work. In this story, Gatsby comes from extremely humble origins but has managed, by the time he is a young man, to make a modest success of himself. He wins Daisy's love, even though she is his social better, but even at this point he still feels that she is too good for him and feels a sense of conquest in achieving her. His feeling that she will not stay with him, however, seems borne out by the fact that when he is away at war, she does not wait for him, but marries someone of her own social class. This is the end of Gatsby'

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The essence of the American Dream is the rags-to-riches tale where someone achieves greatness through their own hard work. In this story, Gatsby comes from extremely humble origins but has managed, by the time he is a young man, to make a modest success of himself. He wins Daisy's love, even though she is his social better, but even at this point he still feels that she is too good for him and feels a sense of conquest in achieving her. His feeling that she will not stay with him, however, seems borne out by the fact that when he is away at war, she does not wait for him, but marries someone of her own social class. This is the end of Gatsby's first American Dream: he's been taught that making a success of oneself does not actually enable someone to become equal with people who were born rich.

After this knockback, then, instead of abandoning the American Dream, Gatsby simply doubles down in his pursuit of it. Having found that honest hard work has not allowed Gatsby access to the upper echelons of society as promised, he instead sets out to make himself phenomenally wealthy through illegal pursuits and lying about his upbringing. When everyone believes that Gatsby is an Oxford graduate from a rich family, he is then able to become the center of social activity in the area, but he still cannot have Daisy. The difference between Gatsby, "new money," and Daisy, "old money," is symbolized by the space between West Egg and East Egg. Gatsby has done all of this to make himself someone Daisy might be willing to be with in public, but he still does not achieve what he wanted; he has put in a huge amount of hard work but he still does not win Daisy.

When, at the end of the novel, Gatsby is revealed to have come from humble origins, he loses everything in the eyes of the shallow, "old money" crowd of East Egg. Thus, being a self-made man has not enabled him to make his own destiny: he is still distanced from those who were born into money because they do not actually respect him, knowing that he has come from nothing. In this novel, then, it seems that the argument Fitzgerald is ultimately making is that the American Dream is hollow, or else that Gatsby himself has misunderstood the dream.

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Fitzgerald examines the vain pursuit of the American Dream throughout the novel The Great Gatsby. The idea of the American Dream revolves around the assumption that individuals can attain social status and wealth by working hard. Jay Gatsby embodies the idea of the American Dream throughout the novel. His quick ascension to the upper class and extraordinary wealth is the result of his hard work and dedication. However, his dream of marrying Daisy is unfulfilled because he lacks the ability to provide a secure relationship due to his illegal occupation as a bootlegger. As a result, Gatsby's amassed wealth means nothing. His emphasis on superficial items was not enough to win Daisy's heart. Even though he attained what many consider to be the American Dream, he died lonely and unappreciated. Other characters who also attained the American Dream through financial freedom and social status live fruitless, superficial lives. Both Tom and Daisy have attained the American Dream, but they are not happily married and continually cheat on one another. Myrtle Wilson is another character who attempts to climb the social ladder in hopes of attaining the American Dream. Unfortunately, she dies in a fatal accident and never achieves her goal of living a wealthy, secure life with Tom. Once again, Fitzgerald illustrates how the vain pursuit of money and social status, the preeminent characteristics of the American Dream, is unfulfilling and empty.

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The idea of the American Dream is a huge theme in The Great Gatsby. Each character is searching for his/ her version of the American Dream. Typically, the American Dream refers to the belief that one can start with nothing and ultimately succeed through hard work. For Jay Gatsby, this belief is extremely important. He started with nothing, and through hard work was able to amass a great deal of wealth. Gatsby is considered "new money," while other main characters (Tom and Daisy) are "old money." Gatsby wants to be on Daisy's level, and he tries to show off his wealth to her every chance he gets with lavish parties and his collection of custom shirts. His American Dream is to prove his worth to and win over Daisy, by proving he can provide for her.

Fitzgerald seems to be warning his audience about the pitfalls of pursuing the American Dream. Gatsby is never truly accepted by Tom and Daisy, and in the end, Daisy chooses not to be with Gatsby despite his wealth. Gatsby ultimately dies in pursuit of his American Dream—shot and left for dead in his swimming pool. His attempt to achieve the American Dream was unsuccessful.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream, the people who pursue it, and the impact of that pursuit through his depiction of Jay Gatsby and the people in Gatsby’s life?

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel shows the contradictions in pursuing and achieving the American Dream. Fitzgerald seems to support the idea that people should aim high and that people often succeed in achieving the American Dream. He also conveys, however, that there is often a very high cost associated with success. The author presents birth, family, and heritage as important aspects of social class. In the novel, several characters were born into in a higher social status, and they are shown as maintaining that status. In contrast, others struggle to move up in the hierarchy ladder; those who reach a higher position are rarely able to hold onto it.

The novel’s main character, Jay Gatsby, exemplifies the rapid ascent from humble beginnings, and he descends even more quickly. The two people who are most important in his life, at least during the course of the novel, are Nick Carraway and Daisy Buchanan. Jay, Nick, and Daisy all have different attitudes toward the material and emotional benefits that the American Dream may bring.

Throughout the course of the novel, Nick gradually learns that Gatsby came from a poor, rural background. His tremendous wealth is a source of fascination to the people he hosts at his parties, whom he barely knows. Gatsby valued his money and material possessions because they might place him in the same status as Daisy, whom he desperately loved. Although Gatsby comes to appreciate Nick’s friendship, he also values Nick as the person who can connect him with Daisy.

Nick believed that his Wall Street job would bring him satisfaction as well as a good income, and he wanted to fulfill his family’s expectations. Because he also believed in love, he distanced himself from two women did not love: the woman he left in the Midwest and Jordan Baker. Nick’s convictions are so challenged by the summer’s events that he leaves his job and returns home.

Daisy was born and raised in wealth and married someone from the same world. Although she is a romantic who fell in love with Gatsby, she cannot fathom leaving the wealthy environment in which she was raised. She married Tom for security, not love. Nick describes the Buchanans as "careless people"; this attitude causes Daisy to flee to Europe rather than assume responsibility for the fatal accident she caused. Ultimately, Gatsby pays with his life for her actions.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American dream, the people who pursue it, and the impact of that pursuit through his depiction of Jay Gatsby and the people in Gatsby’s life? Include specific examples, quotations, and supporting details from the novel as support. 

Although The Great Gatsby is often seen as a book about the lives of the Jazz Age wealthy, such as the Buchanans and the nouveau riche Gatsby, Fitzgerald also goes to pains to weave in allusions to those who don't have access to the American dream of starting anew and building the good life.

For example, Klipspringer, a faded soul who seems to be homeless and living on a permanent basis in Gatsby's mansion, is pressed into service to earn his bread by playing the piano and singing for Daisy, Nick, and Gatsby, as Daisy tours the vast home for the first time.

Nick prefaces the song by mentioning the rain and tying the lyrics to lives of thousands of working people coming home at the day's end:

Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the Sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air.

Tellingly, however, the plaintive tune Klipspringer sings speaks not of excitement but of the more melancholy plight of the poor:

One thing's sure and nothing's surer the rich get richer and the poor get—children.

There are those pursuing the American dream with a scrambling energy and those like Klipspringer and the poor for whom the dream fails. One of those poor appears to be George Wilson. He is a ghostly presence in the Valley of Ashes. As Nick describes the scene when he first meets George and Myrtle:

A white ashen dust veiled his [George Wilson's] dark suit and his pale hair as it veiled everything in the vicinity—except his wife, who moved close to Tom.

We waited for her down the road and out of sight. It was a few days before the Fourth of July, and a grey, scrawny Italian child was setting torpedoes in a row along the railroad track.

"Terrible place, isn’t it," said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.

"Awful."

"It does her good to get away."

We see the "scrawny Italian" child, one of Tom's despised "non-Nordics," playing on the tracks amid a dismal scene. Tom says it does Myrtle good to get away, but he is being a hypocrite: he cares nothing for the plight of poor people like her, simply using them as conveniences and casting them aside when they are no longer useful to him.

Gatsby, too, struggles as a poor teen trying to get ahead. He is forced into what he considers humiliating work to have a scholarship at

the small Lutheran college of St. Olaf in southern Minnesota. He stayed there two weeks, dismayed at its ferocious indifference to the drums of his destiny, to destiny itself, and despising the janitor’s work with which he was to pay his way through.

Gatsby intuits that he will have to break the rules if he is going to achieve the American dream. He pursues what Fitzgerald depicts as a dream of new beginnings that was always an illusion and is now badly tarnished and out of reach for most Americans.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream in terms of the people who pursue it?

All of the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel can be analyzed as pursuing the American Dream in some way, but the author seems to suggest that no one can achieve it because it is just that, a dream. Nick Carraway, the narrator, tries to hold himself aloof from that pursuit through much of the novel, positioning himself as an observer and commentator more than a participant.

The futility of everyone’s pursuit is connected not only with personal flaws that become obvious in each character, but is closely tied to the historical era in which the book takes place. The over-the-top excesses of the Jazz Age followed closely on the tragic suffering of World War 1. Gatsby and Nick, who are both veterans, bear the emotional scars of that conflict, but they have reacted to it in very different ways. Gatsby’s dream includes a return to an idealized past, while Nick is more forward looking and insists that the past cannot be repeated.

Ultimately Nick understands that he was proved right: Gatsby’s backward-looking optimism led to Daisy’s abandonment and his own death, with Myrtle Wilson as collateral damage along the way. Ironically, Nick changes his mind and comes to believe in the power of the past, but in a pessimistic way. Nick’s bitter disappointment—in his job, his crush on Jordan, and his failure as Gatsby’s friend—is summarized by the novel’s last lines. America is no longer “fresh [and] green,” but “we”—perhaps meaning all Americans—are “borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream in terms of the people who pursue it?

The Great Gatsby is an extended critique of the American Dream. And this critique is made all the more effective for being personified by the people who pursue that dream. For a dream is precisely all that it is. No one truly achieves fulfilment, try as they might. Their lives are shallow and meaningless. Jay Gatsby's fortune is built on the proceeds of crime, and though he appears to enjoy immense popularity, hardly anyone turns up to his funeral. His whole life, like the American Dream itself, is just a mirage, one that holds out the prospect of untold riches, but ultimately destroys those who pursue it.

The pursuit of the Dream is inherently corrupting; it forces people to do things they don't really want to do. Human relationships are commodified, with people treated like property. Observe how Tom treats Myrtle Wilson. To him, she's just a plaything, an object to bolster his macho self-image. The way he looks at Daisy's not much better. She's little more than a trophy wife, a glittering trinket to parade before the whole world.

But Daisy's as corrupted by the American Dream as much as anyone. Her relationship with Gatsby is shallow in the extreme. She's swept away by his wealth and charm, but there's no real depth to her feelings. She shows more emotion over his collection of shirts than she does towards him.

And it's not just the East Eggers who are suckered into this delusional fantasy. The denizens of the valley of ashes also go along for the ride. Myrtle Wilson is using her affair with Tom Buchanan as an entree to a better life. She's tired of being married to someone she regards as a loser. She wants to have fancy clothes and attend high-class parties. But she too is corrupted. In the party scene at Tom's love-nest apartment, she starts lording it over everyone, putting on airs and graces while still betraying her invincible vulgarity. 

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream in terms of the people who pursue it?

Throughout the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald condemns and criticizes the vain pursuit of the American Dream. Fitzgerald critiques the pursuit of materialism and social status by illustrating the tragic deaths of Jay Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson, as well as the hollow relationship between Tom and Daisy Buchanan. He suggests that the American Dream is artificial and slowly decaying throughout the novel. Those who pursue material wealth and status are superficial and live unfulfilled lives. The Valley of Ashes represents the social and moral decay of those who pursue the empty American Dream by seeking pleasure at all times. The citizens of the East and West Egg are more concerned with their appearances than they are with their spiritual well-being. Fitzgerald suggests that the American Dream of becoming wealthy and famous is essentially futile because those in pursuit end up both unhappy, unfulfilled, and spiritually dead. 

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream in terms of the people who pursue it?

Fitzgerald's statement about the American Dream and the people pursuing it rests in hollowness when such visions are rooted in material temporality as opposed to something more real and lasting.  One can see this in the characters.  Jordan's pursuit of her dream is one of fame and cheating, revealing how the temporal condition of being can make consciousness a shallow experience.  Tom and Daisy seem to live their dream only at the cost of other people and how they can benefit their own states in life.  Their pursuit is material in how it uses people as a means to an end as opposed to an end in its own right.  Even Gatsby's own ignorance about what is real and endless faith in his ability to "win" Daisy for himself and not accept real and valid limitations are reflective of a temporal state of being.  In these examples, Fitzgerald is suggesting that there is something hollow in the pursuit of the American Dream when it is so driven by the contingent need of satisfying "the now."  There is little in terms of the substantive and a sense of the grounded that exists in these visions, and for this, Fitzgerald's ultimate comment is how such dreams and their pursuits reflect shallowness and eventual unhappiness.  The characters fail to realize this and with this is what contributes to their tragic state of being.

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In The Great Gatsby, what does F. Scott Fitzgerald suggest about the state of the American Dream in terms of the impact of its pursuit? Use the depictions offered in the work as support.

I think that Fitzgerald is suggesting that the American Dream can easily become something of nightmarish proportions.  Fitzgerald recognizes the fundamental beauty of the American Dream.  Yet, he also understands clearly that dreams that are predicated upon selfish interests and interests that have little else other than narcissistic constructions can result in pursuits that destroy others.  These dreams can even destroy the dreams.  For Fitzgerald, the condition of life featured in his novel is one in which individuals are more driven by their own dreams of self- interest and narcissism.  People like the Buchanans know only of their own satisfaction in the pursuit of their dreams.  Jordan Baker is amoral in her pursuit of what brings her happiness.  Meyer Wolfsheim is a criminal.  Myrtle Wilson is an example of someone who dreams of better things for herself, but cannot see that she is forever the tool of others' manipulation.  While Gatsby, himself, is selfless in his dreams, his dreams, too, are shallow.  They fail to embrace any significant notion of social maintenance or move past his own condition of self. For Fitzgerald, the state of the American Dream is one of eventual pain and hurt when it is geared towards sole self- satisfaction.  It is here where the American Dream becomes more of a nightmare.

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