The theme of the decline of the American Dream played a central role in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book takes place over a few months in….
Illusion of American Dream
People, In one way or another, are continually and Invariably trying to Improve the quality of their lives. Some believe their happiness lies within materialistic goods and the freedom to buy them; while others believe their happiness Lies within the bonds and relationships they have. The American Dream is a combination of both. Stereotypically, the American Dream is to marry the perfect someone, move to a suburban house with a white picketed fence, have kids that attend private school, both parents work and do not have to worry about financial issues.
Although in the ass’s the Idea of the American Dream was exaggerated to match the glamour and luxury of the era also known as the Roaring Twenties. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby exposes and emphasizes the American Dream as a failure and an Illusion. The failure and illusion of the American Dream is seen through the corruption of morals, purposeless lives of the aristocrats and the out-of-reach dreams fueled by the idea that anything was possible.
Arguably sexual attraction is what could have caused Myrtles immoral behavior and made her vulnerable to Tom’s sexual objectification; however Myrtles affair with Tom Is an attempt to get a glimpse of the American Dream. Her desperateness results In her corruption of morals which leads her to become an object of desire to Tom. The description of their first encounter made it clear the intentions of the soon-to-be relationship. “He had a dress suit on and patent leather shoes… ” (Fitzgerald 40).
In Myrtles recollection of the memory it is significant that she mentions his appearance for it is reflective of his wealth and is season she took interest in Tom. As she continues to retell the story to Nick, Toms actions proves the value he gives to her; ‘When we came Into the station he was next to me and his white shirt front pressed against my arm— and so I told him I’d have to call a policeman but he knew I lied. I was so excited that when I got into a taxi with him I didn’t hardly know I wasn’t getting into a subway train. (40). Tom’s aggressive, domineering come-on shows he feels superior to her. Tom did not even have the decency to introduce himself. To Myrtle it did not matter because she knew she was out of her league chasing Tom and the social circle he revolved In, but hoped desperately and pathetically to Improve her situation. For Myrtle and those who are far from living the American Dream, the luxury and glamour this Illusion presents led her to devalue herself. On the other hand, Tom and Daisy seem to be living the American Dream.
They have all the material possession one could ever need and such great wealth to securely fall back on, but all this and they are unsatisfied with their lives. Tom and Daisy’s lives show that achieving or obtaining the American Dream leads to purposeless lives. During Nick’s first visit at Tom and Daisy’s house, Tom begins discussing his recent readings about the white supremacy. Nick made an observation that “There was something pathetic in his concentration as if his complacency, more acute than old, was not enough for him anymore” (18).
Tom’s satisfaction in life is no longer enough to shield him from his unhappiness, so he becomes absorbed with supposedly ‘scientific’ books about white supremacy, hoping o find the root of his disillusionment. Later that evening Daisy shares with Nick conclusions she has made about life on the basis that she has “… Been everywhere, young age of Daisy she feels she no longer has nothing left to do. With great fortune, social standing and material possession do not have much else to desire or seek in life thus putting into question the greatness and happiness that is associated with the American Dream.
Gatsby experienced this greatness and happiness of the American Dream when he came so close to achieving it. Although he devoted all his time and effort toward his ultimate dream of winning Daisy back, it still proved to be unattainable due to his overblown idealization of her. Jordan Baker explains to Nick about Gatsby mysterious behavior that “… It was no coincidence at all. Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be Just across the bay’ (83). Gatsby entire presence is built so that Daisy will notice him.
Despite the flashy parties and careless wealth that imply he is living in the moment, he is in fact stuck is the past. Nick attempts to reason with Gatsby naive thoughts about reliving the past but Gatsby simply responds “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can! ” (116). At the point it is foreshadowed, that once again, the great American Dream is unrealistic since Gatsby is leading an unrealistic life, based upon a reality that may soon come crashing down around him. Fitzgerald expresses his disillusioned view of the American Dream in the last line of the book where Nick reflects on Gatsby ending. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes fore us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter ? tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning ” (189) the dream is dead, just like Gatsby. The book ended with Fitzgerald disenchanted view of the American Dream. Regardless, he ends the story with hope. Even though no one really gets what they want in this story and the “American Dream” is seen to be a scam; he knows that people will still pursue their dreams, Just like Gatsby chased after Daisy.