Futility of the American Dream Exposed in The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel that explores the American Dream through the character of Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream to criticize and comment on the futility and agony of this pursuit. The importance of wealth and improvement in the American Dream is evident throughout the novel, but Fitzgerald also argues that the Dream is not necessarily a life of excess and wealth, as seen through the negative consequences experienced by characters like Tom and Daisy. The novel highlights the contrasts between the Dream and the reality of life, and Fitzgerald’s criticism of capitalism is also evident. Overall, The Great Gatsby is a commentary on the American Dream and its complexities.

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby, the main character, Jay Gatsby, puts in a lot of effort to achieve the American Dream. The novel serves as Fitzgerald’s way of commenting on and criticizing the American Dream. According to Bewley (113), Fitzgerald both defines and portrays the allure and splendor of this Dream. Through Gatsby’s downfall, Fitzgerald communicates the senselessness and pain in trying to attain the dream.

The American Dream is evident in Fitzgerald’s narrative, specifically in James Gatz’s remarkable rise from a clam-digger and salmon-fisher to the grandiose Gatsby, living in a colossal estate with luxurious amenities. Fitzgerald emphasizes the importance of improvement and change in the American Dream, rather than a life of excess and wealth. However, wealth does play a significant role in the Dream, as it brings comfort and opportunities for a better life.


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Futility of the American Dream Exposed in The Great Gatsby. (2018, Feb 07). Retrieved from


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