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Discuss the extent to which a novel has been successful in expressing ideas which are or will remain relevant.

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Introduction

Discuss the extent to which a novel has been successful in expressing ideas which are or will remain relevant. The American Dream is the fantasy of complete independence and self-reliance mixed with the opportunity to attain wealth through one's labours. On the surface, this dream seems almost enchanted, offering people the unique prospect of achieving success regardless of one's race, religion or family history. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an immortal illustration of the American Dream. Fitzgerald analyses the 1920s and expresses ideas of the American Dream being distorted from a pure ideal of security into an idea of materialistic power. Fitzgerald incorporates the aspects of both the old dream and the new dream in his tragic story to depict how the American Dream has been corrupted and lost forever. The main qualities of the American Dream presented in "The Great Gatsby" are perseverance and hope which are relevant to the life of Jay Gatsby. This is shown through the eyes of Jay Gatsby, who focused all his attention on living the American dream and becoming a hero. Ever since he was a young, Gatsby worked hard on becoming a great man. This is documented in Gatsby's copy of the adventures of Hopalong Cassidy, who was an American figure. While showing this journal to Nick, Mr Gatsby professed "Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. ...read more.

Middle

F. Scott Fitzgerald credits the destruction of the American Dream to wealth, privilege and the lack of humanity that those aspects create. Money is clearly identified as the main culprit in the dreams death. It becomes easily entangled with hope and success and replaces their positions in the American dream with materialism. This is shown through Gatsby's use of illegal practices and underground connections to make money. His lavish parties, huge mansion and giant collection of clothing all represent his corruption. But there are worst qualities of the dream's modern face that are relevant to Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who live their lives without any hopes or regrets because the foundation of their character, is money and wealth. Nick describes the Buchanan's as "careless people". "They smashed things up and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made". An example of the Buchanan's carelessness and lack of regret comes when Nick runs into Tom one last time. When confronted with Gatsby's death Tom merely responds "I told him the truth. What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him". Even though Tom admits to the fact that he is responsible for Gatsby's murder and Wilson's suicide, he continues to claim innocence because he has never known guilt or shame as a member of the established elite. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is relevant to his moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure, George survives his day to day basis, within valley of ashes, the plight of the poor. The deaths of both the rich and poor man trying to achieve their goals symbolize the death of the old American dream. The dream is now completely lost and can never be restored. Through the tragic story of Jay Gatsby and his failed attempt to reach his dream, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the need for hopes and dreams to give meaning and purpose to a man's efforts. Striving towards some ideal is the way by which a man can feel a sense of involvement, a sense of his own identity. Fitzgerald goes on to state that the failure of hopes and dreams, the failure of the American dream itself is unavoidable, not only because reality cannot keep up with ideals, but also because the ideals in any case are too fantastic to realise. Gatsby is na�ve, impractical and sentimental, which makes him attempt the impossible, to repeat the past. Therefore "The Great Gatsby" is not about the life and death of Jay Gatsby, but about what Jay Gatsby stood for. It is about the life and death of the old American dream. ...read more.

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