Why Gatsby Doesn’t Achieve the American Dream

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The American Dream is different for every American even if it’s a fictional character. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the protagonist tries to achieve the American Dream the only way he thinks it is possible. Gatsby doesn’t achieve his American Dream since he took the wrong path in order to achieve it. Some readers would say he does achieve his dream but, most could say it’s not right to achieve it through deception and criminal acts. Having said that, Gatsby doesn't achieve the American dream because he couldn't create a better life for himself even after climbing from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder to the top.

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Gatsby didn’t achieve his American Dream because Daisy didn’t have the patience to wait for him to become wealthy which led him to be consumed by greed. The first step that led to him not achieving his American dream was when Daisy’s parents threw a party for soldiers who were going to fight in WWI, which is where Gatsby and Daisy met for the first time. After hanging for a couple weeks they fell in love with each other. You would think they would do anything to stay together and stay in touch with each other after she couldn’t say goodbye to him when he left for the war. But, “By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever. She had a debut after the Armistice, and in February she was presumably engaged to a man from New Orleans. In June she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago … and the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This goes to show that she will get over anyone when someone richer comes around and showers her expensive gifts. Although, When he first saw her, right of the bet he put her on this pedestal where he couldn’t reach her because to his thought he wasn’t wealthy enough to be with her. However, if it wasn’t for Daisy than Gatsby wouldn’t have been led to climb the socioeconomic ladder by living a life of crime encouraged by greed to become wealthy enough for her to accept him and to be with him. Also, if it wasn’t for her then Gatsby’s American dream wouldn’t have been set in stone since he did all he could to achieve it. “At the first sight when he sees her, he knows that he has combined his ineffable ideal with the breath of her together. … He must be specific and must not be greedy. ”  Gatsby shouldn’t be put her on a pedestal, where she is viewed as a goddess who could do no wrong, and shouldn’t try to get to her level to be with her instead, he should view her as a human being who is high in the socioeconomic ladder. When Daisy found out that Gatsby kept his promise to become rich she regrets marrying Tom and not waiting for Gatsby. This is proved when Daisy starts to cry when she sees Gatsby’s shirts and regrets not waiting for Gatsby to make the money. It means that she probably might have had a little feelings for Gatsby which resurfaced when she saw his home. “The perversity of Gatsby's success is underscored by Daisy's base defeat … . In Gatsby's ability to make beautiful that ‘for which [Nick has] unaffected scorn,’ Nick realizes that Gatsby's idealistic imagination is misaligned, but its energy is not lost on Nick”. If Gatsby hadn’t invited Daisy into his house then Daisy wouldn’t have regret of not waiting for him. When Daisy starts to cry it tells use that is regretting she didn’t wait for him. “While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher—… . Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before’”(Fitzgerald 99). Since she started to cry after seeing the shirts it tells us that she regrets not waiting Gatsby and uses the shirts as a cover to hide the real reason why she is crying. By being consumed by greed in turns causes him to do business with criminals to get wealthy.

Gatsby shouldn’t have become wealthy and shouldn’t have tried to impress Daisy because Gatsby does business with gangsters to get wealthy enough to be with Daisy. To get wealthy in the quickest way possible, Gatsby works with thugs. Working with thugs means that Gatsby was breaking laws to satisfy his averese. “Gatsby has broken laws and done business with gangsters to get fabulously wealthy in the quickest possible way” (Voegeli). The only way for Gatsby to become wealthy in the shortest time is by breaking the laws and doing business with shady characters like Wolfshiem. Howerever, in order to hide that he is in business with gangsters he tells Nick he was in the oil and drug business. “I think he hardly knew what he was saying, for when I asked him what business he was in he answered ‘That’s my affair,’ before he realized that it wasn’t the appropriate reply. ‘Oh, I’ve been in several things,’ he corrected himself. ‘I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I’m not in either one now’”. This shows us that Gatsby isn’t old money, and he will say anything to hide his past of how he got really wealthy very fast. By doing business with a shady character like Mr. Wolfsheim Gatsby is breaking laws to get rich fast. By describing Gatsby as “a perfect Gentleman”, Wolfsheim is indicating what kind of characteristic he seek in Gatsby. This means that he is Kind of hint that He and Gatsby are in a business together. “His ensuing characterization of Gatsby … suggests the propriety Wolfsheim seeks from Gatsby while simultaneously establishing his distance from it. Nick's account implies that Wolfsheim owes his success more to a brazen disregard for the law than any perceptive reading of character or subtle scheming”. Since Gatsby and Wolfsheim are doing business together it means that they have no regards for the laws. When Gatsby and nick run into Mr. Wolfshiem on their way to lunch He says “‘I understand you’re looking for a business gonnegtion.’ The juxtaposition of these two remarks was startling. Gatsby answered for me: ‘Oh, no,’ he exclaimed, ‘this isn’t the man!’ ‘No?’ Mr. Wolfshiem seemed disappointed. ‘This is just a friend. I told you we’d talk about that some other time.’ ‘I beg your pardon,’ said Mr. Wolfshiem, ‘I had a wrong man’”. This quick response from Gatsby indicates that he is hiding something, something that he doesn’t want Nick to find out. Unfortunately, the plan to impress her works for a while but then it backfires.

Daisy is cruel and heartless since she doesn’t show up at his funeral and acts like she doesn’t care. Also, she says she has feeling for him but later she doesn't even talk to him hinting she doesn’t like him. When Daisy, Nick, Jorden, Gatsby, and Tom are in Tom’s the living room, Daisy tells Gatsby that he is cool and her husband, Tom, hears it, and he is surprised because he thinks his wife is having an affair, but he knows that nothing can happen since He and Daisy have a daughter together. Telling Gatsby that he is so cool, Daisy was pretty much saying that she loved Gatsby instead of her husband, Tom. This means that She loves Gatsby and Tom is surprised that her wife is cheating on him with Gatsby of all people. “This is the exchange that impels Nick to call Daisy's voice ‘indiscreet.’ Daisy's physical presence here fills the gaps between voice, words, and meaning turning the words … into a declaration of love”. From Daisy’s tone, choice of words, and body language the reader can indicate that she loves Gatsby. Nevertheless, when Daisy suggests that they all should go to town, Gatsby and Daisy are going in the same car without anyone else indicates that Tom knows that nothing will happen between them. “‘Come on, Daisy,’ said Tom, pressing her with his hand toward Gatsby’s car. ‘I’ll take you in this circus wagon.’ He opened the door but she moved out from the circle of his arm. ‘You take Nick and Jordan. We’ll follow you in the coupé.’She walked close to Gatsby, touching his coat with her hand. Jordan and Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby’s car … we shot off into the oppressive heat leaving them out of sight behind”. This shows the readers that it bothers Tom a little, but he doesn’t care that Daisy and Gatsby are in the same car by themselves. The last time Gatsby and Daisy talked was after coming back from town and that was when Daisy stopped loving Gatsby and started to love Tom once again. “‘Nothing happened,’ he said wanly. ‘I waited, and about four o’clock she came to the window and stood there for a minute and then turned out the light’”. It goes to show that even if she saw Gatsby standing outside she ignored him and turned out the lights. However, when Gatsby was murdered Daisy and Tom didn’t care and didn’t attend his funeral, which helps to clarify that Daisy didn’t have feelings for him, and that she just cared that he had money. It means that Daisy didn’t like Gatsby for himself but, instead she like him for his wealth. “Gatsby was as alone in death as he had been in life. Of all the hordes who had accepted his largesse when alive, only one—an unnamed ‘owl-eyed man’ who had admired Gatsby's books— appeared at the funeral. He delivered a pathetic epitaph: ‘The poor son-of-a-bitch’”. It tells the reader that no one in his life cared about him but the owl-eyed man and this goes to show that in the end Gatsby didn’t achieve his American Dream of creating a better life for himself with the person he loved — Daisy.

In conclusion, even after climbing from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder to the top Gatsby still wasn’t able to create a better life for himself so in the end he wasn’t able to achieve the American dream. When Gatsby met a rich girl he fell in love and since she got whatever she wanted it led Gatsby to be greedy, so he can give her whatever she wants. However, Gatsby’s path of greed led him to a life of crime by doing business with gangsters. When Daisy realizes that he kept his promise her feeling for him resurface, but only for a while and when Gatsby dies she was cruel and heartless by not coming to his funeral. Ultimately, Daisy never loved Gatsby and he wasn’t ever able to reach his American Dream.  

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