The Delusion of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s vision of the ‘American Dream’ is yet another delusion of grandeur which he so intricately pieces together through his stories such as ‘The Great Gatsby’. Jay Gatsby is the everyman in all of us who rises from the depths of poverty and embarks on a journey of wealth. Living out what one envisions to be true happiness is the supposed ‘American Dream’, and it provides a solid backdrop to most of Fitzgerald’s dramatic, yet relatable pieces of work.
Fitzgerald breathes life into the perpetual goals of wealth all the while stating the ‘American Dream’ can not bring happiness, and it can never end well. The melodramatic climax of ‘The Great Gatsby’ pits both Daisy and Jay into schemes of murder, simply on opposite ends. Gatsby is murdered by a scored lover and Daisy takes a life from that same burning jealousy. Fitzgerald sets up his characters as anti-heros who represent ‘The American Dream’ itself, and always falter since they can’t exist in harmony.
There is an ominous nature to the works of Fitzgerald and his descriptions of modern day America, a time for him which was the foundation for society today. Big business, middle class, the poor and rich alike were described very colorfully by Fitzgerald, yet no singular character led a happy life with a happy ending. The lives of Gatsby and Daisy resemble the new age Romeo and Juliet, they experience the highs and downfalls of love and loss all the while losing their lives in the process.
The archaic symbolism within the novel such as ‘The Valley of Ashes’ which homes the impoverished of society feels almost biblical in its nature. Fitzgerald creates his own lore of the darkness that lurks amongst the elite of all society. The ‘1%’ of modern society almost rings as a parallel to the nature of Jay Gatsby and the lavish lifestyle that only led to his misery and untimely death.
As an author, Fitzgerald is able to pit each reader into the mind set of his protagonists, and expel the reader from their current situation. It is strange that even so many decades after the release of a classic such as ‘The Great Gatsby’, society can still create parallels and relate on an intrapersonal level to the gripes of past generations. The gap between rich and poor create the illusion of a happiness spectrum, only true enlightenment can come with freedom of all material possessions.
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