• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald shows the corruption of the America Dream in 1920s America. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the American Dream, give your response to the above view.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald shows the corruption of the America Dream in 1920s America. With reference to appropriately selected parts of the novel, and relevant external contextual information on the nature of the American Dream, give your response to the above view. The American Dream was aptly summarised by James Truslow Adams: ?a better, richer and happier life for all our citizens of every rank, which is the greatest contribution we have made to the thought and welfare of the world.? The American Dream promised fresh new beginnings, a classless society and a land of wealth and opportunity for all. This was the ideal behind the affluent society of 1920s America. However, in The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald clearly presents a thorough corruption of the American Dream. To quote Bernie Sanders, ?For many, the American Dream has become a nightmare.? In examining the corruption of the dream, a good place to start is the class divide. Fitzgerald paints a clear picture of a society that is deeply divided by class. Even the upper class is divided amongst itself; Nick inhabits West Egg along with ?new-money? people such as Gatsby, whereas East Egg is inhabited by those with ?old money? such as the Buchanans. Nick describes a, ?bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.? However, the greatest example of a class divide stems from the intense poverty of the Valley of Ashes. ...read more.

Middle

Fitzgerald hints at the unglamorous reality of Gatsby?s life several times in the book, even from the rumours spread by his party guests: "Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once." Later on in the novel Gatsby?s own behaviour when Nick asks about his business suggests that he is not as pure as he likes to appear: ?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.? This web of secrecy and deceit suggests although the American Dream appears pure on the surface, it is built upon a web of criminality and corruption. Gatsby?s shady business is likely related to prohibition and the bootlegging of alcohol. This was a very common crime in the 1920s, and bars that sold alcohol were referred to as ?speakeasies.? An example of an affluent bootlegger is Al Capone. Within 2 years, Capone was earning $60 million a year from alcohol sales alone. However, his life was not a glamorous affair; he was caught and spent 11 years in jail. Gatsby never went to jail ? he got a life sentence instead. Fitzgerald suggests that criminality is the only way to achieve the American Dream, signifying that it has been exhaustively corrupted. In light of this, it perplexes me that anyone could claim the Fitzgerald presents a pure vision of the American Dream. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was the time of the Harlem Renaissance, a term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the Harlem district of New York City. During the mass migration of African Americans from the rural agricultural south to the urban industrial north, many who came to New York settled in Harlem, as did a good number of black New Yorkers moved from other areas of the city. For the first time they were respected as integral to the community. This was not a corruption of the American Dream, but a realisation of it, which promised equality for all. To conclude, after careful consideration we determine that Fitzgerald uses The Great Gatsby to display the corruption of the American Dream. He once said, ?The idea that we're the greatest people in the world because we have the most money in the world is ridiculous.? Ironically, the Wall Street Crash occurred not long after this statement was made; the American Dream was always founded on shaky ground and he reflects this in his novel. The opposing arguments have some merit but ultimately they fail to realise the true implications and context of The Great Gatsby. The final line of the novel shows how the dream always lives on, even if it cannot be fulfilled: ?so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    HOW DOES FITZGERALD TELL THE STORY IN CHAPTER 1 OF THE GREAT GATSBY?

    5 star(s)

    of the stars", there is a feeling that Gatsby is a dreamer and a wonderer, one who aspires to go higher in life. And then, "when (Nick) looked for Gatsby once more, he had vanished." - This adds to the sense that there is something about Gatsby which is intangible

  2. Marked by a teacher

    'The American Dream not only fails to fulfil its promise but also contributes to ...

    4 star(s)

    However, he gives little thought to values such as honesty and modesty, which are obscured by wealth as a result of him expecting them to be synonymous with this lifestyle - his expectation is that they will form passively without intervention.

  1. Three characters in The Great Gatsby and the theme of obsession

    It was said that Cody found Gatsby to be " ... quick and extravagantly ambitious." (101) He took Gatsby in and treated him almost as a son. Gatsby was to inherit some of Cody's wealth after his death but was stripped of his inheritance by Ella Kaye.

  2. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the ...

    or one bottle. The introduction of Prohibition in 1919, the result of campaigning before the war, was intended to restrict the consumption of alcohol, yet demand for alcohol increased at an astounding rate. A gap in the market was created for organised crime, made famous by gangsters such as Al Capone.

  1. Gatsby is more of an anti-hero than a hero. With reference to appropriately selected ...

    Unlike the traditional hero who is morally upright and steadfast, the anti-hero usually has a flawed moral character, just like Gatsby. The moral compromises he or she makes can often be seen as the unpleasant means to an appropriately desired end.

  2. The real hero of The Great Gatsby is not Gatsby but the narrator Nick ...

    Finally, it could be argued that Nick is the true hero rather than Gatsby because he is the only character that recognises that the American Dream is flawed and he has the courage to move away from the East. In the closing chapter of the novel, Nick writes, ?After Gatsby?s

  1. Gatsby's world is corrupt but ultimately glamorous. How do you respond to this statement?

    ?Devil? has negative connotations and implies that parts of Gatsby?s character are baneful and the ways he has achieved his glamorous life are not noble. However, the rumours are revealed to be said by ?the hundreds who had accepted his hospitality? and those who haven?t even met Gatsby ?who is

  2. In The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway is not a reliable narrator. With reference to ...

    There may be some merit to this opinion, especially if we consider that Nick seems to have higher moral standards than the rest of the characters. In chapter one he states, ?I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work