The American Dream in the Great Gatsby

The path to attaining what we want can require all our focus and commitment, leaving us in pain from seeing others have what we cannot. In the Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald for characters this problem can be real. Gatsby works for all his life through scams and more scams to attempt to gain what he thinks is rightfully his including Daisy Buchanan. The soon image of lies emerges through the smoke of the once painted picture of the American Dream seen by many as greed where vulture like characters like Tom Buchanan will stop at nothing to attain what they desire.

The love based marriage of Tom and Daisy is really just an upper class content with one another getting children like an object to display a good image instead of wanting kids to start a loving family. There is no hiding that this marriage is unhealthy from Daisy sneaking off with Gatsby or Tom’s affair with his mistress. The lack of care starts to emerge form all characters especially Gatsby in thinking that he can roll back time to light a new spark for what he and daisy supposedly once had. Gatsby expecting Daisy to drop and leave everything she has including her child to start a new life, “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”(Fitzgerald 110). Gatsby simply ignores that he can’t rewind enough time back and it is to late for him.

This marriage pattern also occurs in the more pedestrian couple of Myrtle and George Wilson. When Myrtle leaves George thinking that she is going to visit her sister in New York, but instead goes to cheat and see nothing wrong with that shows us that the core values of the American have come a long way from their wholesome beginning. Myrtle’s death eventually leading to Gatsby’s death is a strong indicator that Tom and Daisy who “They were careless people…smashed things up…then retreated back to their money” (Fitzgerald) leaving us with the strong sign that they were just spoiled children who only cared about an issue if it affected them directly, unaware they have no idea the damage they have caused.

Jay Gatsby the man whose only goal was wealth, is the only thing he wanted. His pursuit for Daisy was a quest for an image to have on his side, his image of success. He says Daisy “was the first ‘nice’ girl he had ever known” (Fitzgerald 148) meaning that she was a nice object for him to attain; he didn’t love her he wanted her. The attempt to rekindle was an attempt at a second chance to get his golden girl that he couldn’t marry when in the military because of his state of wealth at the time. With all this desire to Nick, the closest character we as a reader can relate to, thinks that the “After Gatsby’s Death the East was haunted” (Fitzgerald 176), with Gatsby alive nick couldn’t see how bad the so called American Dream really was or maybe with all the death and destruction it was a legitimately haunted place for him.

Fitzgerald uses The Great Gatsby to give us a commentary on the American dream and what it was to the people who lived it. By creating characters like Gatsby or Tom to be the ones to want the golden image of prestige or Nick a character who let us connect better with someone like Gatsby. The American dream during the 1920’s was an illusion of greed and lies showing us that the American Dream is only who can get away with more without having to clean up their mess.

Did you like this example?

Cite this page

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby. (2021, Jun 13). Retrieved June 30, 2022 , from

This paper was written and submitted by a fellow student

Our verified experts write
your 100% original paper on any topic

Check Prices

Having doubts about how to write your paper correctly?

Our editors will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Get started
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Go to my inbox