The American Dream is typically described as the belief that no matter what race, gender, or social class you were born into, you can obtain your version of success with hard work and sacrifice. In The Great Gatsby, there is a common theme of the American dream throughout the story which can lead to many harmful effects as you will soon read. The American dream can lead people to do things that would be considered as good by any means.
Gatsby had the dream of being with Daisy by any means necessary. In the end, this would lead to his very demise. Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy decided everything he did including giant parties filled with hundreds of guests just to hopefully find her at the party to impress her. Gatsby knew that Daisy would only be with him with his wealth as he states “ Her voice is full of money.” (Chapter 7, page 120) With the obsession of being with Daisy, Gatsby also takes the blame for hitting Myrtle Wilson so that Daisy get in trouble or hurt by tom. When he does this, Wilson then vows to kill whoever hit his wife which ends up being believed to be Gatsby as know at the end of the story while Gatsby was in his pool waiting for Daisy he gets shot and killed by Wilson. This proves the fact that the American dream of finding love can be a complicated path which can lead to even your own death.
With Gatsby’s dream of wealth and success, he began trying earning an honest living under Dan Cosy until he lost his inheritance of money to Dan's ex-wife so Gatsby had to find other means of earning money. Gatsby began bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition period which can be seen as ‘dirty money’ which is very looked down upon during that time period. This was also looked down upon by Daisy which was the one and only person he cared about. In chapter 7, Tom states “ I found out what your ‘drug-stores’ were.” “ He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter…”.With Tom’s tone of voice describing these it further proves how bad bootlegging was seen and not a true way to get the American Dream.
Daisy’s American Dream of having a family with a wealthy husband leads her down a complicated path of wooing two different men both with mass amounts of money, this can also be seen as a bad thing. As Gatsby knows that daisy loves wealth as she is known as the “Golden Girl” as stated by Nick. Gatsby does everything in his power to impress her and she has an affair with Gatsby. This complicates Tom’s relationship with Daisy and with her family. Even though in the end it doesn't change anything. Daisy’s dream of marrying rich affects Gatsby so heavily that with his obsession with her he ends up dying and early death which in the end is a negative effect of the American dream.
In conclusion, Gatsby’s and Daisy’s ideas may have been pure in thought but the way of executing those dreams lead to more harm than good. The American dream in The Great Gatsby is more portrayed as a sense of false hope in the great gatsby, the thought may be there but the dreams that Gatsby especially had were unrealistic in some parts which could lead to great disappointment. The American dream is portrayed as more of a bad thing than good in The Great Gatsby.