Examples of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Throughout the writing career of Fitzgerald, a pattern can be seen in his works this pattern is that of the american dream and no novel of his displays the american dream and his option of it better than The Great Gatsby. The novel revolves around Gatsby as self made millionaire who yearns for the affection of a girl he loved many years prior to the books beginning. In his desire for this girl we see a glimpse into how Fitzgerald feels about the american dream. He presents Gatsby's strife as almost futial in that no matter how much he wishing for his american dream to be fulfilled he will always be just beyond it. In this Fitzgerald shows that the american dream is unachievable and that it will lead to one's own downfall.

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One of the first examples of the american dream In The Great Gatsby can be seen in the way he writes the character of Tom Buchanan. Tom is seen as a great man who strives to achieve masses of wealth for himself and his wife. Tom however always spends massive amounts of money to have fun with his wife, this leads to a dissatisfied life in which he seeks love in a mistresses. All of his actions lead to the death of his mistress and the end of his involvement in the story has he frames the death on the main character Gatsby.

Within the The Great Gatsby he portrays the character Gatsby as a rich and successful man who had served in the army and was speculated about among higher class society. Gatsby had always wanted to be with his dream girl Daisy. Fitzgerald made it clear that Daisy was Gatsby’s american dream and that he would do anything for her. Despite the Daisy representing gatsby's american dream, she acts cold and distant half the time like she's just off in her own world. She is also already married to another person who is Tom Buchanan, representing that not everybody is able to achieve this “american dream” and that the world itself is cold and unfair. The book takes inspiration from many parts of Fitzgerald's life, he uses this to display the american dream in a more personal/potaint way. In the end of the book while trying to finally be with daisy, Gatsby lets death come to him(unintentionally) to protect daisy from the blame of a murder committed earlier on in the book, reinforcing the idea that the “American Dream” was never real, and the strive for it is to give your own life in its pursuit, weather literally or metaphorically.

In Fitzgerald's short life as a writer he had achieved modest wealth and went all over the world with his wife finding adventure and fun until her institutionalization. After he graduated form high school he was accepted into Princeton University because of his writing ability and took full advantage of it to further his goals in life. He hardly did his work but he found entertainment in the many local clubs at Princeton. He ended up meeting his future wife Zelda because of parties he attended and the crowd he hung out with. He found her to be as adventurous as he was if not more and a steady equal to his antics. He was able to attract the attention of her because of his adventurous lifestyle that was very similar to her’s . When they weren't together they still had a good time at the party and events, they ended up having a good time together despite the different social classes they came from. He believed that Zelda was his american dream, and it showed when they were together at parties or events, however they were not great guests because of their drinking problems which in turn made them act like fools in public and embarrassments to the host of the parties they attended. Despite all of their faults they were charismatic and many people liked having them around and did not complain much about them when they made messes or when they made parties seem trashy. Throughout the course of lives their reputations and the fun side of them slowly diminished and came to an anticlimactic end. Fitzgerald became a washed up writer and yelled at Zelda a lot despite many attempts to fix their relationship. Zelda ended up having what seemed to be a form of schizophrenia, which crushed spirit Fitzgerald. He wound up seeing another woman on the side but still visited Zelda in the institution. Although he was unfaithful to Zelda, he accordingly never stopped caring about her but did not stop what he was doing to prove it and even tried to conceal his guilt. This is where it appears that his “American Dream” falls apart for him and his belief in it. It is during this time period that he would write The Last Tycoon a book whose plot mirrors his life in many ways, this being the fate of the main character who ends up without a lover or a father and is left completely alone in the world.

Although on a first glance F. Scott Fitzgerald might seem like he had everything he need to achieve his american dream, when one goes deeper into his life they can find a man who when given everything he need to be successful he took it all and spent it away. In the end he was more lonely than the rest of the people he knew and he most likely had wished that he had never achieved his american dream due to his situation afterwards and the condition his wife was left in. His writing shows the absurdity of the concept of an “American Dream” and how striving to achieve it lead to his undoing and the undoing of plenty others. In his pursuit to disprove the american dream he goes as far as to make a entire character’s plot about the american dream and their failure to achieve it. Throughout his writing and his public words he shows a clear distaste if not hate for the idea of the american dream and the trouble it bring with it to those who attempt to achieve it and the around the dreamer.  

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