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

"How do the values and attitudes of the Great Gatsby reflect the American Dream".

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald A-Level English Literature : Ed Gillett - October 13, 1997 "How do the values and attitudes of the Great Gatsby reflect the American Dream" "Out of a misty dream, our path emerges for a while, then closes within a dream" - Norman Douglas (1862-1958) In "The Great Gatsby" F. Scott Fitzgerald has created a social satire of America in the 1920's in which he exposes the American Dream as being inherently flawed and merely an illusion produced by idealism. This American Dream has been traditionally associated with the pursuit of freedom and equality. It can be traced back to the original settlers and the hope which the New World brought to them, away from the persecution inflicted by their religion. Essentially it offered the fulfilment of human desire for spiritual and material improvement. However, what became quickly apparent was that the materialistic side of the dream was achieved to quickly and easily and outpaced the spiritualistic development. A state of materialistic well being emerged, but lacking in spiritual life or purpose. Throughout "The Great Gatsby" we, the audience, are made aware of the flaws of the American Dream through the values and attitudes of the western society. ...read more.

Middle

Gatsby's popularity amidst society, in fact few people who were in attendance at the parties with Nick Carraway had even met their host and those who were were filled with malicious gossip against him - "a german spy during the war", "I bet he killed a man". As conveyed to us through the aspect of Nick Carraway, the parties serve as a device to expose the values and attitudes of society outside the limited focus of the principal characters. Through the coloured variety of society in attendance at the parties, a common element becomes apparant - the artificial, insincere and hollow nature of the guests themselves. We have already touched upon the sheer disrespect which is shown towards Gatsby as the host of the parties, only Nick shows a genuine desire to meet Gatsby out of courtesy. Other guests, upon being asked if they knew the whereabouts of the host merely "stared at (him) in such an amazed way and denied .. vehemently any knowledge of his whereabouts". As Nick himself had established upon entering the melee of people at his arrival to the party, 'few of the guests had actually been invited'. In it's mildest form, such activity could be described as exploitation, but yet Gatsby allowed this to occur, in the doomed hope that DaisyBuchanan would one day wlak upon the acres of garden in revellry. ...read more.

Conclusion

Myrtle's death at the hands of Gatsby, the American Dream personified, can only be seen as Ironic and esssentially tragic. This desire for more, the 'unexpected' side effect of the American Dream,can also be seen in the corruption of society. Jordan Baker's incident with the golf ball allegations displays how the desire for increased worth in society has driven Jordan to degrade the honesty of society as a whole. The American Dream in "The Great Gatsby" therefore can be viewed as essentially flawed. The artificial equality originally produced by America's frontiers produced competition among equals rather than harmony - common sense and the laws of economics dictate that if one has more, another will have less and thus The American Dream did nothing to aid class differences. In such a light the American Dream is doomed to failure by a society torn apart by class and prejudice. The dream as personified by Jay Gatsby is similarly doomed to failure by society and therein lies the tragic element to Gatsby's death and the allegory which it contains - Myrtle's husband's vengeful act of murder as a representation of class and Gatsby as the American Dream left to die amidst the most elaborate of his material possessions, the marble pool. Idealism eventually destroyed by realism, the harsh reality of the American Dream is exposed through the most poignant of Fitzgerald's novels. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. The Great Gatsby-The American Dream

    He did now that it was already behind him.... Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out arms further ...

  2. Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.

    Money is actually the only thing that Gatsby had a lot of. Jay Gatsby tries to live the life of The American Dream, but fails in his battle. I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh, green breast of the new world.

  1. "The Great Gatsby" and the American Dream.

    This side of the American Dream, shown through admirable characteristics of self-improvement and hard-work and perseverance, is what is missing for Tom and Daisy, who are happy just to be wealthy, and leads Nick to note that Daisy has an "absence of all desire".

  2. The Corruption of The American Dream.

    By this we know that Daisy's concern, and maybe only concern, is money. Gatsby realizes this and is motivated by it. He's driven to extensive and sometimes illegal actions to gain acceptance and feels he must be rich and careless.

  1. ‘He paid a high price for living too long with a single dream’ with ...

    In the 1920s they would have been a status symbol in higher proportions than today as it would have had to be shipped over to America. However the fact that he is not precious about its use, has the effect of highlighting he is so rich that it does not matter.

  2. "Gatsby is a Victim of the American Dream." Discuss Scott Fitzgerald's Portrayal of Gatsby ...

    Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams." For Gatsby, it seems his dream is very easily realised, to a certain extent, by virtue of his immense ambition and idealism.

  1. How far do you consider Gatsby to be the epitome of the American Dream ...

    He also has a large attachment to the past and he believes he can change it "Can't repeat the past" he said incredulously "of course you can' as well as this he has a large picture of Dan Cody the man who made him what he.

  2. In "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald the American Dream is shown by ...

    There is also the example of the Buchanan house, there is similar evidence again of extravagant lifestyle with a 'sunken Italian garden, a half acre of pungent roses and a snub nosed motor boat'. Such possessions are clearly only a way of establishing the relative wealth of the Buchanans in materialistic form.

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