Essay Extra Credit-Gatsby Question: How does The Great Gatsby display the idea of the American Dream? Writers are constantly incorporating subtle messages about society in their literature. F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of these writers who is extremely artistic in this sense and can lift his novels’ impacts to new levels. He displays the emptiness in conformity in This Side of Paradise as well as the only temporary satisfactions of aristocracy in Tender Is the Night.Continuing his philosophic-like and critical analyzations of society in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald points out the elephant in the oom by redefining the American Dream as an illusion with an evident relationship to corruption and amorality. By thoroughly using the literary device of symbolism, he includes Americana references, a different interpretation of the color yellow, and the “Great Gatsby’ himself.
The Americana culture is sprinkled throughout the book to immediately make the reader relate it to America.Instead of Just pairing the literary and typical symbolization of the color yellow with wealth, opportunity, and beauty, Fitzgerald also pairs yellow with corruption, amorality, and death. Lastly, Jay Gatsby imself is the ultimate emblem of the the American Dream and its flaws. By using literary devices and brilliant writing style, Fitzgerald is able to send a bold statement about American society.
Americana culture, the color yellow, and Jay Gatsby are key symbolizing elements that enhance this discreet, yet powerful message about the illusion of the American Dream.American traits are scattered throughout The Great Gatsby to allude the reader to directly correlate the traits to American society, thus enforcing the idea that Fitzgerald is supporting the illusion of the American Dream with classic American haracteristics. He includes American history references, American images, and ideal American attributes along with their obscured flaws.
“My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western society… sent a substitute to the Civil War and started a wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today. (pg. 3) In the beginning of the book, Nick Carraway briefly tells a little about himself by mentioning how his family became wealthy. First he begins by giving the impression of his family working their way to the top like a classic, hardworking, self- ustaining family in the Middle West. Yet by mentioning how his grandfather’s brother sent a substitute to the Civil War and then starting a “wholesale hardware business” (producing weapons) contradicts his wishful idea of earning his wealth, rather than inheriting it.
Fitzgerald also mentions baseball as another example of Americana. “He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919… ” ( ) Gatsby reveals Meyer Wolfsheim’s fraud to Nick.
Baseball, the archetypal sport of America, is combined with fraud which has implications of hidden corruption with America. Nick ven recognizes Gatsbys American essence. “He was balancing himself.
.. with the resourcefulness of movement that is so particularly American… breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness. He was never quite still.
( ) Nick is critical of the model American; the constant yearning and aspiring to better oneself and not being satisfied with what one has until all goals are reached. However, although Gatsby stays true to this characteristic, it is this same characteristic that becomes destructive and eventually leads to his demise. Through examples of American traits, Fitzgerald is successful in uncovering the unseen side of the American Dream. He pairs these American traits with unlawful and fallacious notions to ultimately leave the message that the American Dream is solely an illusion because of these flaws.Fitzgerald also cleverly contrasts the colors, gold and yellow, to their traditional, literary symbolic meanings as well as alternative, more misanthropic symbolic meanings to thoroughly expand on the illusion and misconception of the American Dream. Gold is a color that generally symbolizes wealth, opportunity, and beauty. Yellow is usually viewed in a similar manner, however Fitzgerald indicated yellow to have counterfeit and deceitful characteristics; almost giving the air of yellow as a “fake gold”.
With Jordan’s slender golden arm resting in mine, we descended the steps and sauntered about the garden. “( ) Nick falls for Jordan’s air of value and class and he views her in an admiring way with the idea that she is “golden”. However, she is not someone to be admired or highly respected in such a flattering way because she is careless, apathetic, and a cheater. Fitzgerald emphasizes the twins’ yellow resses with Jordan to contrast Nicks admiring perspective to her corrupt and disagreeable traits. Gatsby frequently is associated with yellow and gold items. High in the white palace the kings daughter, the golden girl.
.. ” ( ) Gatsby, along with everyone else, views Daisy as a golden girl, or the high “prize”to be achieved. Gatsby desperately tries to “achieve” her by becoming an equal and having many golden and yellow items like a yellow car, yellow cocktail music, a gold toilet, a gold tie, etc. Jay Gatsby surrounds himself with wealth and beauty, yet he achieved it all by corruption nd lies, thus associating gold and yellow with corruption and lies. “The eyes of Doctor T.
. rom a pair of enormous yellow spectacles… ” ( ) Doctor T. J. Eckleburgs eyes are critical in The Great Gatsby because they have a slightly omniscient, moral outlook on all parts American society. These eyes, rimmed with yellow spectacles, see both parts of the American Dream: the illusion and the reality of the American Dream.
The eyes unbiasedly watch over the Valley of Ashes as extremely wealthy, yet careless people like Tom Buchanan drive through. Ironically, these eyes were present in the scenes when tensions were extremely heightened by sudden realizations of infidelities.Yellow is used here to intertwine the illusion and the reality of the flaws in the American Dream. This example, along with Jordan Baker’s corruption and Gatsbys wishes, the colors yellow and gold have dualistic implications with wealth/beauty and corruption/deceit, thus proving the American Dream as not only an illusion, but a delusion as well.
Jay Gatsby is the ultimate analogy of the illusion of the American Dream because e had the idealistic American Dream characteristics (his achievements, charisma, hope, etc. , yet achieved them with unethical values that were cautiously concealed. “It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it… understood you Just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you immediately notices Gatsbys appealing presence, and leads Nick to admire, respect, and wonder about Gatsby. Nicks impression of Gatsby represents the illusion of the American Dream; what everyone believes it to be as a perfect and unflawed vision.
Gatsbys stretching for the green light is one of the most symbolic parts of the novel. Gatsby believed in the green light… tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms further..
. boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. ” ( ) The last few lines of The Great Gatsby truly underscore Gatsbys direct correlation with the typical person who tries so hard to achieve the American Dream. Although wealth and beauty are the key elements of the dream, the “boats against the current” describe the difficulty and problems that are always prevalent with it. “Sprang from is Platonic conception of himself… nd he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty.
.. and to this conception he was faithful to the end. ” ( ) Jay Gatsby fell hard for the illusion of the American Dream at a young age, making him determined to achieve this “dream” by any means. He believed that this dream of wealth and aesthetics would come with automatic fulfillment and happiness, hence the “Platonic conception,” which is also an allusion to the “Allegory of Plato’s Cave”.The reader learns that Gatsby achieved all his allure nd prosperity through illegal methods like distributing illegal alcohol and trading in stolen securities. These criminal activities are not admirable and greatly flaw the American Dream, making it seem unattainable to have unless one does immoral actions. It is clear that Fitzgerald uses irony by titling his book, The Great Gatsby.
Gatsby is not “great” because of his unethical and dishonest ways of reaching the American Dream, and Jay Gatsbys real name is James Gatz, allowing the reader to see an automatic catch to the whole aura around the American Dream.Gatsby epresents the entirety of the American Dream with his wealth, beauty, and ongoing hope, however Nick gives the reader Just enough information to see what the average person doesn’t see??”that the American Dream isn’t what it seems at all; it is flawed, corrupt, and immoral. Fitzgerald’s message to the reader of The Great Gatsby is to convey the idea that the American Dream is not only an illusion, but a delusion as well by relating the book to Americana archetypes, dualistic yellow/gold symbolisms, and Gatsby himself as the reality and the commonly perceived conception of the American Dream.Wealth, happiness, and prosperity gained by hard work was the American Dream. “… it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
” ( ) The “foul dust” that floated in the wake of his dreams is the actuality of the American Dream. It is the corruption, immoralities, and dishonesty that is carefully hidden from people in hopes to keep them to continue “stretching” for more. Dust is the result of objects that have not had upkeep and are not being olished/cleaned.Just like dust, the American Dream is now Just an illusion, or “object”, that has not been interfered with and therefore the reality of it is being hidden with corruption and wrongdoing. Fitzgerald uses his writing talent to incorporate many messages in a creative and effective manner. Gatsby is the emblem of the American Dream, but he is also subliminally the concept of the “Analogy of Fitzgerald isn’t Just applying Gatsbys character to that of a misguided American, he is applying Gatsbys character in a universal manner.Like the cave prisoners watching he shadows on the cave wall and believing that is reality, the majority of people live their lives as conformists to their society and do not question if there is more, better, and/or mind-opening things to be known and realized.
Characters like the Buchanans, Jay Gatsby, Jordan Baker, etc. live their lives in a sociologically constructed mannerism without questioning the flaws of the system (e. g. corruption and infidelity), hindering their fullest potential of life fulfillment. It is not Just the American who should question and be skeptical about their societys norms, it is everyone.