The American dream was a shared vision among all Americans. It represented the aspiration for their country to become wealthier and offer opportunities to individuals based on their achievements. This dream encompassed the idea of working hard to attain success, acquiring wealth, owning a nice house, raising two children, and securing a high-quality job.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the American dream is portrayed as the freedom to travel unrestricted along the river and enjoy the vast open spaces of the Western frontier. This dream holds great significance for Huck and Jim, who is enslaved. The novel demonstrates that ultimately, the American dream evolves into a celebration of liberation from oppressive systems and societal norms while also reflecting the prevalent chauvinism in Southern society during slavery.
On contrast, Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby provides a figurative exploration of how the American dreams declined during the 1920s—an era characterized by unprecedented wealth and excessive materialism. Fitzgerald depicts this time as one marked by moral decay and social deterioration exemplified through America’s cynicism, excessive consumption habits, and relentless pursuit of empty pleasures.
The book Adventures of Huckleberry Finn explores the idea of the American dream by showcasing the interracial friendship between Jim and Huck. Huck, a young white male, runs away from his abusive father and finds comfort in the freedom of the Mississippi River. Initially, Huck has a childlike mindset, but throughout the novel, he grows more aware of issues such as racism. Likewise, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays Gatsby as an embodiment of the seemingly unattainable nature of achieving the rags-to-riches American dream.
The protagonist’s moral development is compared to Tom Sawyer’s, who justifies his unethical behavior based on prejudice and the brutality of actions that undermine the American dream.
In summary, the American dream embodies the aspirations of individuals who strive for success and wealth through hard work, seeking high-quality jobs and prosperity. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the American dream represents liberation from all constraints, enabling the enjoyment of life on the open frontier. Conversely, The Great Gatsby critiques the American dream as it highlights the moral and social deterioration within society.
Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby. London: Urban Romantics, 2012. Print.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Univ of California Press, 2003. Print.