The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

February 16, 2010
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Never a Real “American Dream”

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they made,” (Fitzgerald, 188). This quote from The Great Gatsby shows how Tom and Daisy’s vast amounts of money allow them to not care about others and take no responsibilities for their actions. Not only does it show that, but also that the “American Dream” and the entire mentality of American people have been distorted from the get go. It could arguably be said that as the generations go by, this idea of a dream has become more and more distorted especially in America with children, “having access to western media, being exposed to information and advertisements that are designed to turn them into consumers, either directly from their own funds, or more commonly through parents or grandparents,” (Materialism, 2001). But with more examination it’s plain to see that this “American Dream” is no longer one of nobility, but it never really was.

For instance, in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald the main focus of the entire book is to show that every idea, hope, and fulfillment from each character was driven by money and in any time period it’s seen as money is power, and power is money. Fitzgerald had set out for Gatsby to be seen as a tragic hero, because ultimately his love for Daisy got killed, but he just came off as a con- artist and an obsessive man. Some might say his love for Daisy is wonderful, but the way he earned her love was all the wrong ways. Gatsby was a dishonest bootlegger of pharmaceuticals. Not to mention Tom who had a whole other life with Myrtle and used his power and money to have control over both his wife and lover. A lack of character is portrayed throughout the entire book, from small things such as Jordan lying about a golf tournament, to both Tom and Daisy’s lovers. It’s safe to say nobleness was the farthest thing from all of the characters minds, even in the 19th century.

Next, was the entire concept of East Egg vs. West Egg, or old money vs. new money. In society today this division still appears in fact it is said that people’s opinions “of the façade of the old wealth is preferred over new wealth has risen from 38% to 63% from 1975,” (Setlow, 2000). Although in The Great Gatsby, West and East Egg is hardly separated by a bridge there is a huge divide. The lack of nobility is shown in both East Egg people, such as Tom and Daisy and West Egg, example Gatsby who threw elaborate parties just to have an affair with another mans’ wife. Although the generation now has more knowledge, such as “product brands, TVs, latest fashions before age 12,” (Materialism, 2001) it’s obvious this gain of materialism and separation just because of class just because of money has stemmed long before now.

As a matter of fact the main start of dishonesty and promiscuity that runs rampant on society today maybe the cause from the generation of World War babies. The reasons for it are much different because instead of the “true love” that seems to be shown throughout the book now the reasons stem from, “A severe drop on self esteem that occurs around 12-13 because a lack of material things and a need for many lovers to make themselves feel better,” (Reutter, 2006). Although in the 20th century things might have been different from reasoning behind affairs, it still comes to light as a way to feel powerful from extra love and the need for this extra love because a lack of material things. Myrtle and Tom were prime examples, because Myrtle was poor and married to a man in a lower social standing. Tom was able to treat her badly and abused her; he was able to provide not only love but money this kept her with him.

Furthermore, it is a valid point that the entire concept of “American Dream” has started to deteriorate overtime with the development of more opportunities and openings to material things at younger ages, it didn’t just come out of nowhere. People had to give birth and teach children and even the parents of this generation these corrupted ways. There has never been an “American Dream” and there probably never will be. It comes down to this, as long as there’s money, affairs, material things and crooked people in the world the American dream will never be safe.

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