The Corruption of the American Dream Displayed in The Great Gatsby

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The American Dream is something that everybody wants to achieve in their lifetime. People have an American Dream so that they have something to look forward to everyday. The American Dream is that person’s own version of success. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, offers a story on how the American Dream cannot come true for some people. Jay Gatsby holds onto his dream because it seems attainable to him. In reality, his dream cannot be reached due to the fact that Daisy moves on with her life. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, shows the corruption of the American Dream through the shallowness of the upper class, the unsubstantial relationships, and Gatsby trying to repeat the past.

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Every weekend Gatsby throws enormous parties at his gigantic mansion on West Egg. Guests show up without being invited and only a few have ever gotten an invitation. Even if there is not an announcement for a party, people still show up to his house. They spread rumors about Gatsby, although the do not know who he truly is. At the first party Nick attends, he realizes that people do whatever they want. “ Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of the heart that was its own ticket of admission”. They use Gatsby and his resources for their own purposes like drinking free alcohol and having a place to party. Although they are at Gatsby’s house, the do not care about who he is all they care about is having a fun time with their friends. The guests run wild when they are attending Gatsby’s parties. “ Many of them seem to have been transplanted from their natural habitats in the animal and vegetable kingdoms to Gatsby’s blue lawn, where they misbehave—among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars”. The do not respect Gatsby and his house if they are going crazy every weekend. The guests act like the parties are carnivals and they can have all the fun they want.

In The Great Gatsby there are two different cities that the characters live on, East Egg and West Egg. East Egg is old money which means that money is passed down from generation to generation. West Egg is New Money which means people work hard for the money they earn. Even though Gatsby has a lot of money, people from East Egg do not care about him due to the fact that his money is dirty and also new. Many people think that people who live on West Egg are bootleggers. “‘ A lot of these newly rich people are just rich bootleggers, you know”’. East Eggers believe that people who live there are bootleggers, even though most people work hard enough to become successful. People who live on East Egg do not take into consideration that people have to work in order to have nice things. Everyone cannot have the luxury of having money passed down to them. Gatsby has as much money as the people on East Egg, yet will never be accepted by them. “ He can never participate in the arrogant, inherited old wealth of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who live in East Egg”. Although Gatsby may be as wealthy as the people on East Egg, his money is New Money. He will never truly fit in with people on East Egg, given their differences on how they obtain their money.

Relationships are never as real as it seems on the outside, this is how someone can explain Tom and Daisy’s relationship. The real reason why they got married is because they have the same type of money. They do not really love each other like a married couple should. Their relationship has many problems, but they choose to ignore it and act like nothing is wrong. When Tom and Daisy first got married, Daisy would always be on edge whenever Tom left a room. “ If he left the room for a minute she’d look around uneasily and say ‘Where’s Tom gone?’ and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming through the door”. In the American Dream, a wife should not worry if her husband is cheating on her. The pair is supposed to love and trust each other. Since they do not love each other, both Tom and Daisy cheat on each other. When Tom first finds out that Daisy is having an affair, he gets offended that she is cheating on him. “After he discovers Daisy's relationship with Gatsby, he becomes outraged, and threatens to beat his wife”. Tom gets angry that Daisy cheats on him despite the fact that he does the same exact thing to her. He gets so mad that he wants to beat her even though both are in the wrong.

George and Myrtle Wilson are a married couple who live in The Valley of Ashes, unlike the rest of the characters who live on the Eggs. Compared to Tom and Daisy, George and Myrtle are poor. George loves his wife so much that he will do anything for her, on the other hand Myrtle cheats on him with Tom. Since they are poor, George cannot buy his wife expensive things unlike Tom who is rich and can buy anything for her. This is the reason why Myrtle cheats on George. When Myrtle married George, she thought that he was rich but then finds out that he was lying. “I married him because I thought he was a gentlemen,’ she finally said. ‘I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe’”. Myrtle marries George only because she thinks he has money. In a relationship, a couple should get married because they love each other, not because of how much money that person has. When Myrtle goes to the apartment in New York with Tom and Nick, she acts like someone she is not. She acts like she is rich and has a lot of money like Tom. In reality she is just a poor woman from The Valley of Ashes. There is a big difference between Myrtle’s life in The Valley of Ashes and when she goes to New York. “Myrtle must cross a vast social divide to reach the territory of the upper class”. Myrtle wants to be apart of the upper class so badly. She does not want to live in The Valley of Ashes because she thinks she deserves better. Myrtle has an affair with Tom because he can provide her with the life she cannot have with George.

Gatsby is stuck in the past because he holds on to the idea of having Daisy in his life. Since he went away to war when their relationship started, they did not get a chance to build a relationship together. While being away for five years Daisy was always on his mind. Within five years Daisy has moved on with her life; got married to Tom and had a child. When Gatsby and Daisy meet for the first time in years, he knocks down a broken clock symbolizing that time had stopped for him. He thinks that he can make up all the missing years between him and Daisy. “‘I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before’”. Gatsby is trying to make Daisy fall in love with him again even though they have not seen or even talked to each other in years. Love does not work like that. It takes time to develop a love for someone. If five years have passed and nothing has happened, Gatsby should move on. Daisy has a whole family and a life that Gatsby completely overlooks. “ He cannot confront the fact that she would never abandon her family to be with him”. Gatsby tries to ignore everything else that goes on in Daisy’s life. The only thing he cares about is wanting Daisy to run away with him in order to pick up where they last left off with their relationship. The fact that Daisy has a family now cracks his dream because his dream is to be with Daisy.

The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams with Daisy. His dream is to have Daisy as his loving wife and they will live happily back in Louisville. Daisy is all he wants, but she is married to Tom. He is envious of Tom because he has Daisy by his side. Gatsby believes that the green light is something positive in his life. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”. Gatsby believes in hope. He hopes that Daisy will leave Tom and run away with him, and then they can go back to how their relationship started. His hope is also that Daisy will fall in love with him again. He grabs at the green light like he is trying to grab for Daisy. Gatsby worships the green light as if it was Daisy. “ Gatsby sees no stars—natural if romantic lights—but worships the artificial green light at the end of Daisy's dock” . Whenever Gatsby sees the green light his feelings for Daisy and all the memories of her resurface. He has so much love and adoration for Daisy that he constantly thinks about her. Time was not on Gatsby and Daisy’s side five years ago, while he was away his feelings for her never went away while.

The corruption of the American Dream is displayed in The Great Gatsby through the shallowness of the upper class, unsubstantial relationships, and Gatsby trying to repeat the past. Guests at Gatsby’s parties use him for their own purposes and do not care about him. They act crazy and ruin his house after parties. East and West Eggers do not like each other because they have two different types of money. Gatsby will never be accepted by people who live on East Egg because he does not have the same type of money as they do. Tom and Daisy do not love each other like a married couple should. They cheat on each other and then get angry that they are both doing it. George and Myrtle are two very different people with different aspirations in life. George likes the lifestyle they have, but Myrtle does not, so she has an affair with Tom. Gatsby is stuck in the past unlike Daisy who has moved on with everything in her life. The green light symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams with Daisy. The American Dream should always be something a person wants to accomplish.

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