The Illusion of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925 when the beginning of the American Dream's ideal found. In the 1920s, the American Dream was a well-known term and defined as if anyone is hard-working and risk-taking, regardless of what their background is, they can be nobody to somebody. Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's novel also pursues his version of the American Dream, but it is only an illusion. His failure to attain happiness leads The Great Gatsby to suggest that the American Dream is ultimately unachievable.

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Although Gatsby is rich and famous, he has not been accepted into the upper class. In The Great Gatsby, the upper class is divided into two groups, which are 'old money' and 'new money'. 'Old money' is who inherits the wealth passed down from previous generations. They always look down on 'new money', especially those making money through illegal businesses like Gatsby. The first quote is: “Come on,” said Mr.Sloane to Tom, “we’re late. We’ve got to go,” And then to me: “Tell him we couldn’t wait, will you?”. When the lady invites Gatsby to the supper, Mr. Sloane is uncomfortable about it. He is haughty man and shows his contempt toward Gatsby, a 'new money'. Therefore, he shows his disregard by leaving the place without a word in a hurry so that Gastby cannot join the supper. Not only Mr. Sloane, Tom also looks down on Gatsby, as he says: 'An Oxford man!' He was incredulous. 'Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.'  Tom marks this statement because he does not believe Gatsby went to Oxford university. Secondly, in Tom's opinion, Gatsby’s origin from worker class so his suit is unusual and makes fun of him. In conclusion, even though Gatsby had been trying to act like upper class, he would never catch up or equal to them.

Gatsby of the present is a well-known millionaire and owns a lot of drugstores in Chicago. However, his wealth only an illusion because it is only based on illegal business and unhealthy relationship with other rich people. From the very young age, the desire of being a son of God was so strong that he has never accepted his parents at all. Therefore, he decides to run away and joins Wolfsheim to bootleg liquor as Tom figures out: 'He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores… sold grain and alcohol over the counter'. He hides the fact of being wealthy through selling illegal liquor to everyone. However, once his business was disclosed to the police, he would go to jail. His wealth is really unstable and it is only the matter of time before it is completely vanished. The second evidence is: “They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money … and let other people clean up the mess they had made”. Nick blames how upper class people are so corrupted by their wealth that they become ignorant and careless. However, Gatsby genuinely thinks that tangling up with these people, he might get wealthy and have some business. He would never imagine that his life in general, and his wealthy status has been destroyed by them. In summary, his wealth is unattainable because it is illegal and unacceptable.

One of Gatsby's biggest dreams is Daisy, the golden girl he has fallen in love with and obsess over for many years, but his love is only a dream. After five years, when they meet again, Gatsby becomes wealthy and famous but his love toward Daisy has never changed. On the other hand, Daisy has already married to Tom Buchanan, also her feelings toward Gatsby gradually fade away, as she claims: 'I never loved him,' she said, with perceptible reluctance… 'Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. Gatsby feels insecure and senses that Daisy seems to be cynical about her love toward him so he keeps pushing her and he unconsciously burdens Daisy, puts her in a dilemma which is really confusing her feelings. For her, she cannot say her marriage with Tom is meaningless, even though she is unhappy and Tom is unfaithful. Her hesitant voice while saying it likely denies Gatsby's demand. This denial means her love toward Gatsby is only the past and his American Dream destruction begins. Later on, Nick finds out that:

Daisy and Tom were sitting opposite each other… she looked up at him and nodded in agreement … anybody would have said that they were conspiring together. After a mass murder Daisy has done to Myrtle, Tom realizes Daisy caused it and he might try to convince her to stay with him, or claim that associating with Gatsby would lead her to be arrested. Daisy also feels uncomfortable and does not bear to see Gatsby again as she agrees with Tom. It happens when it is almost the last day of the summer, as a result of the end of Gatsby's dream. Ultimately, his love is only an obsession toward Daisy and unachievable.

Gatsby is a dreamer ends up wealthy, but eventually his version of the American Dream is a failure and destroyed as him was at the pool. Fitzgerald portrayed the belief that the American Dream is the brutal reality and hard-working is not enough to achieve it.   

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