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Two American Dreams

Two American Dreams In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many themes are enclosed; the most salient of these themes is related to the American Dream. The American Dream is based on the idea that any person, no matter what they are, can become successful in life by his or her hard work. The dream also embodies the idea of a self-sufficient person, an entrepreneur making it successful for themselves. The Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American Dream during the 1920s, an era when the dream had been corrupted by the relentless pursuit of wealth. In this novel, the pursuit of the American Dream and the pursuit of a romantic dream are the ultimate causes of the downfall of the books title character, Jay Gatsby. Throughout the story, Jay Gatsby avoids telling the truth of his hard, unglamorous childhood.

He does this to keep his superficial image of himself and to save himself from the embarrassment of being in a state of poverty during his youth. His parents were lazy and unsuccessful people who worked on the farm, and because of this Gatsby never really accepted them as his parents. Jay Gatsbys real name is James Gatz and he is from the very unexciting North Dakota. He changed his name to Jay Gatsby when he was seventeen years old, which was the beginning of his version of the American Dream. In all realities Gatsby arose from his Platonic view of himself, the idealistic self-view that a seventeen year old boy has of himself (Fitzgerald 104).

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Though concealed for most of the story, Gatsbys embarrassing childhood is a major source of determination in his attempt to achieve the American Dream. During Gatsbys early adulthood, he joined the army. He first met Daisy when he was at Camp Taylor and he and some other officers stopped by her house. He initially loved Daisy because of her extraordinary house and because many other men had been with her already. One evening in October, during 1917, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy Fay, and in turn she fell in love with Gatsby.

Daisy was the first nice girl that he had ever known (Fitzgerald 155). Their love was an uneasy one at first for Gatsby to comprehend because he wasnt rich by any standards and he felt that he wasnt worthy of Daisys affection, but his uneasiness was uplifted when he and Daisy fell in love and when he found out that Daisy knew a lot because he knew a variety of things that she didnt. Their month of love was physically ended when Gatsby had to go to war, but their emotional love never ended. As Gatsby performed brilliantly throughout the war, they wrote each other frequently. Daisy couldnt understand why Gatsby couldnt come home.

She wanted her love to be their with her, she needed some assurance that she was doing the right thing. It didnt take long for Daisy to get over Jay because in the Spring of 1918 she fell in love with a rich, former All-American college football player named Tom Buchanon. This broke Jay Gatsbys heart. His love for Daisy was a strong one and he was determined to get her back. This first love with Daisy had a great impact on his idea of one of the aspects of achieving the American Dream. Throughout the novel, the reader is mislead about how Gatsby became wealthy. Gatsby claims on several different occasions that he inherited his parents immense fortune.

This is a story that Gatsby made up in order to keep his self-image up by not letting people know about his childhood. The truth is that Gatsby got rich by illegal measures. He was friends with the notorious Meyer Wolfsheim. Meyer Wolfsheim was the racketeer who supposedly fixed the World Series of 1919. He was Gatsbys connection to organized crime, in which Gatsby became rich. Gatsbys true sources to richness were selling bootleg liquor in his chain of drug stores and creating a giant business to get rid of and sell stolen Liberty bonds (Mizener 188).

Gatsbys methods of gaining wealth corrupt the morality of the American Dream although they help him to achieve it. It did not take long for Gatsby to attempt to win Daisy back after he returned from the army. Jay Gatsby had this romantic view of Daisy and himself together and happy forever. He felt the best way to achieve this idea would be for him to become at least as rich as Daisys husband Tom Buchanon. He knows that the best ways for him to pry Daisys affection away from Tom are gaining wealth and gaining material possessions.

Daisy is a shallow woman who is easily overwhelmed by material items. Gatsbys main way to show off his wealth and material possessions were to throw lavish parties. His parties featured the finest drinks and live jazz bands. The parties were so huge that Nick Carraway, Gatsbys best friend and the narrator of the book, alluded to them as the Worlds Fair. Not only did the parties fulfill Gatsbys reasons for having them, but they also showed his grand sense of pride that stemmed from his richness.

Gatsby and Daisy are finally reunited by Nick at Gatsbys request. This is Gatsbys second chance for him to show off his wealth and to win Daisy back. Gatsby uses this meeting to show Daisy what he has become through his possessions (Way 103). Daisy is amazed when she experiences the extravagance of Gatsbys house. When Gatsby throws his imported shirts all around the room, she begins to cry because she realizes that she has missed out on so much of Gatsbys life.

It is at this moment, when the dream that he has strived for is right in front of him, that he realizes that Daisy isnt as perfect as he imagined her to be. This is clearly evident to Nick who thinks that: There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy fell short of his dream- nor through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. (Fitzgerald Chapter 5) This is the first point in the novel which shows that Gatsbys dream can never be fully achieved, yet it is also his dream being achieved because he is finally back with Daisy again even though she is still with Tom. The beginning of the downfall of Gatsbys dream occurs when Tom suspects that Daisy is cheating on him with Gatsby.

His hypothesis is proven correct when he, …

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