“The Essence of Success” Great Gatsby

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Success is attained not by being popular or having personal connections, but by putting in effort, being intelligent, and being fortunate. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Miller’s Death of A Salesman, the main characters face obstacles in their quest for success and attempt to overcome them by seeking higher social standing and good reputation. Despite facing similar situations, Gatsby and Loan’s choices ultimately lead them to confront the unavoidable failure on their path toward happiness.

Both Jay Gatsby and Wily Loan fail to achieve success due to the virtues and values of the American Dream. Success, defined as the coexistence of love and material happiness within the American Dream, is a challenge to obtain individually but still possible. In The Great Gatsby, the protagonist successfully achieves material happiness through his vast wealth, owning a grand mansion, and having over a dozen servants at his disposal.

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Even with all this, he is never rule happy and life to him is not yet complete. His fortune as it turns out is nothing but a ruse for the love Of his life in which he works five years towards. “But it wasn’t a coincidence at all… Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay” (Fitzgerald, 78). Scott Fitzgerald is depicting the message that love overrules materialistic views and that life is useless without someone to share it with. In Death Of a Salesman, the father figure is a loving character who cares for nothing but providing for his family.

In his work, Arthur Miller highlights the importance of love and personal fortune in ensuring a secure and satisfying life for one’s family. The protagonist in both works grapples with the absence of wealth, leading to stress and anger. The protagonist acknowledges the significance of love, stating, “You’re my foundation and my support, Linda” (Miller, 18). However, money is also crucial for the well-being and security of the family. Unfortunately, the protagonist is unable to attain the means to acquire such riches and continues to struggle throughout their brief existence. Both works depict characters who possess one of the prerequisites for a contented and prosperous life.

Both Gatsby and Wily face hardships in their quest for fulfillment. While Gatsby is wealthy, he lacks love and selflessness. Wily, on the other hand, has love in his family but lacks the financial support they need for their future. Both characters find it impossible to achieve true happiness and success, which ultimately results in their deaths. Their relentless pursuit of seemingly unattainable goals leads them to their graves. Despite love and material success being seemingly contradictory, it is indeed possible to attain both and still find happiness.

Without a positive mindset or the right motivation, a goal may feel more difficult to accomplish than it seems. However, with strong determination such as a powerful mentality which is shown by the protagonists from both works, such goals can be achieved. These characters demonstrate their determination through their continued effort in attaining the American Dream. Gatsby is seen as a hard working character throughout the novel. His remarkable work ethics are recognized by his father. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something.”

Do you notice what he has achieved in terms of improving his mind? “(page 173)” The protagonist’s relentless pursuit of success is evident in the well-organized schedule he developed as a young boy. It is this determination that brings him so close to achieving the American Dream. These similar traits can also be observed in Wily. Despite facing numerous challenges, the aging character demonstrates unwavering perseverance. With a caring wife who constantly reminds him of unpaid bills and unhelpful sons, Wily struggles to support his family. LINDA: Well, you need to take a break, Wily. You can’t continue like this. “(page 13)”

Despite feeling stressed, the determined protagonist refuses to give up and strives to please his family and impress his acquaintances. He constantly works to prove others wrong and demonstrate that he can achieve his goals. Although he has had negative thoughts, such as suicide, his strong qualities enable him to overcome his struggles. Both protagonists in the works embody a strong inclination to maintain a positive attitude while pursuing the American Dream.

The characters in The Great Gatsby and the Death of a Salesman serve as inspiring examples of successful individuals. Despite this, both characters resort to deception and cheating to achieve material happiness. In our society, such actions are viewed negatively as they promote dishonesty in earning a living. The protagonists in these stories each demonstrate their unique approaches to establishing their desired lifestyles. In Fitzgerald’s novel, he depicts Jay Gatsby’s unconventional perspective through his preference for large parties.

They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” (Fitzgerald) Gatsby is rich, but he earned his wealth through illegal activities, creating a fake lifestyle that he cannot admit to – similar to Wily Loan in Arthur Millet’s novel. Wily is self-deceptive and denies his inadequacy as a salesman, trying to convince his family that he possesses the qualities and qualifications of a successful entrepreneur.

The great salesman must lie in order to keep his family content, as shown by Miller’s portrayal of how Loan’s perspectives are influenced by his financial situation. As he states, “Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever built.” However, he later exclaims, “I’m not going to pay that man! That goddamn Chevrolet, they ought to prohibit the manufacture of that car!” (Miller) When Wily steps out of the fantasies he has created about himself, he becomes aware of his true financial status. Consequently, Wily completely changes his opinion about his car, illustrating the fragility of his ideas and assertions.

Both Jay Gatsby and Wily Loan in the book and play, respectively, deceive each other to fill a void. They both believe material success will bring them accomplishment. However, both characters deny and refuse to accept they are essentially deceiving themselves. Ultimately, they both succumb to relying on popularity as the means to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, their unwavering belief in this trait causes them to fall short of their targets.

Both individuals share the belief that being popular will persuade the person they are attempting to win over (either for financial gain or romantic interest) to accept their proposition and acquire their product or marry them. It is evident that despite their fame, they lack genuine friendships and only maintain a superficial level of acquaintance. As a result of their inherent flaw, they relentlessly chase after popularity at any cost, sacrificing their personal lives in order to achieve widespread recognition.

Wily expresses his belief that popularity is the key to success, not realizing that hard work is what truly leads to success. In addition, when he reminisces about how people adored a particular person in high school, he fails to consider the importance of dedication. In another part of the text, someone exclaims with excitement about a large place and questions how the person can live there alone. The response is that the place is always filled with interesting people around the clock.

People who do interesting things, celebrated people. Gatsby believes that his success in gaining popularity will enable him to win Daisy’s love. However, he fails to realize that the only thing that can truly help him win Daisy’s love is money. Both protagonists share the belief that popularity allows them to attain their desires through the influence of others.

Many people see popularity as a way to achieve wealth, love, and life goals. However, they don’t realize that their popularity comes from their accomplishments, not the other way around. The people they think like them actually appreciate the persona they display (their actions and achievements) rather than the products or emotions they are promoting (like love or commercial items). Reckless mistakes can sometimes lead to an untimely death, nothing more.

Both Jay Gatsby from the book and Wily Loan from the play became victims of their pursuit for success. They sacrificed years of hard work and in some cases, even their lives. By the end, their goals became so important to them that they overshadowed their own lives. This is evident in The Great Gatsby, where Gatsby’s selflessness is shaped by his relentless pursuit of love. In the excerpt (“Was Daisy driving? ” “Yes… But of course I’ll say I was”), Gatsby willingly takes the blame.

The passage demonstrates Gatsby’s innocence in the accident and his decision to sacrifice himself instead of Daisy, showing his love overpowering his survival instinct. Similarly, in Death of a Salesman, Wily’s duty is depicted as he dies in pursuit of success despite the stress and failure he faced while trying to support his family.

Will’s entire life revolved around his responsibility to support his family. As a result, he strongly believed that the purpose of life is success, and if one cannot attain it, death is more preferable. Due to his distorted thoughts, he feels that he should at least enable Biff to succeed and provide him with the necessary resources. Both main characters are convinced that without success, one’s existence is meaningless. They agreed that you should perish rather than abandoning the pursuit of achievement, emphasizing the greater significance of attaining goals over mere survival.

Both Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman are driven by the other characters in their respective stories to sacrifice their lives for the people they love, hoping to give them a chance at a better life. However, they are unaware that the people they have dedicated themselves to either do not care about them or do not appreciate their financial contributions. Tragically, they die without ever understanding the true value of the dreams they chased, which ultimately prove unattainable. The American Dream is an elusive aspiration that proves difficult to fulfill, despite their tireless efforts.

Despite their determined attitude, both protagonists ultimately meet an unfortunate fate in their pursuit of the American Dream. The belief that popularity will lead to success proves to be misguided, as it tragically results in the deaths of both characters. Nevertheless, the authors share a common theme of shattered beliefs in their attempts to achieve success. Despite their hard work and strong traits, failure seems to be an inherent possibility when chasing the elusive American Dream.

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“The Essence of Success” Great Gatsby. (2018, Feb 09). Retrieved from


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