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Symbolism of the American Dream: An analysis of the role it plays in the nove

Uploaded by madcaddie on May 15, 2001

In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, all the characters are, in one way or another, attempting to achieve a state of happiness in their lives. The main characters are divided into two groups: the rich upper class and the poorer lower class, which struggles to attain a higher position. Though the major players seek only to change their lives for the better, the American Dream is inevitably crushed beneath the harsh reality of life, leaving their lives without meaning or purpose.

Tom and Daisy Buchanan, the rich socialite couple, seem to have everything they could possibly desire; however, though their lives are full of material possessions and worldly goods, they are unsatisfied and seek to change. Tom, the arrogant ex-football player, drifts on "forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game"(pg. 10) and reads "deep books with long words in them"(pg. 17) in order to have something to talk about. Though he appears happily married to Daisy, Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson and keeps an apartment with her in New York. Tom's basic nature of unrest prevents him from being satisfied with the life he leads, and so he creates another life for himself with Myrtle. Daisy Buchanan is an empty character, someone with hardly any convictions or desires. Even before her loyalty to either Tom or Gatsby is called into question, Daisy does nothing but sit around all day and wonder what to do with herself and her friend Jordan. She knows that Tom has a mistress on the side, yet she doesn’t leave him even when she learns of Gatsby's love for her. Daisy makes her love to Gatsby apparent, yet cannot bring herself to tell Tom goodbye except when Gatsby forces her too. Even then, once Tom begs her to stay, even then Daisy ultimately leaves Gatsby for a life of comfort and security. The Buchanans are the ultimate examples of wealth and prosperity, and the American Dream. Yet their lives are empty, unfulfilled, and without purpose.

Though Myrtle Wilson makes an attempt to escape her own class and pursue happiness with the richer set, her efforts ultimately produce no results and she dies. She is basically a victim of the group she wanted to join. Myrtle tries to join Tom's class by entering into an affair with him and taking on his way of living, but in doing so...

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Uploaded by:   madcaddie

Date:   05/15/2001

Category:   The Great Gatsby

Length:   4 pages (881 words)

Views:   2426

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