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

"I don't see any 'American Dream'. I see an American nightmare" - Malcolm X.

Extracts from this document...


"I don't see any 'American Dream'. I see an American nightmare" - Malcolm X Malcolm X sounds rather harsh, futile and far from what most of us conjure up in our minds when we think of the phrase the 'American Dream', so what exactly is this 'American Dream' that every other person seems to be having on the tip of their tongues? Webster's New World College Dictionary defines it as the "ideal according to which equality of opportunity, hard work and perseverance permits any American to aspire to high attainment and material success." This we see from the very first colonists and settlers in the 16th century who wanted freedom from oppression right up to the current inflow of immigrants searching for new and better opportunities. This so called 'American Dream' has become an integral part of the American culture and Americans seem to have become obsessed with wanting to make this dream a reality. Kurt Vonnegut, the American novelist in his book God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater says, "The 'American Dream' has turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, and went bang in the noonday sun" and Barbara Jordan a former US Congresswoman in her keynote address at the Democratic National Convention echoed the same sentiment when she said, "The 'American Dream' ... ...read more.


(121) The idealistic characteristics of Gatsby and his aspirations allow Fitzgerald to define his views on the 'American Dream'. Here we see Gatsby as being a model example of the 'American Dream' - a self-made success, where he had created not only a new personality for himself but had succeeded both financially and socially. However, in his zealous pursuit of the 'Dream', Gatsby climbed to a solitary, isolated and alienated place in society where he finds himself alone with his 'Dream' and ambitions. His primary shortcoming, which would eventually lead to his own downfall, was his sole focus on regaining Daisy and reliving the past so much so he was willing to sacrifice his other aspirations, such as, improving himself. Through this quote we observe Gatsby's disappointment after his first encounter with Daisy. Fitzgerald through his tone and characterization clearly expresses his view on how the 'American Dream' for attaining material success was not fully based on reality. He portrayed the 'American Dream', as an illusion within our own minds - something that we think is attainable, achievable, and realistic but we, like Gatsby, can actually never attain it and this so called 'Dream' remains allusive or just out of our reach until our resignation to failure. ...read more.


Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest film directors of our time, once said, "Failure is inevitable. Success is elusive." F. Scott Fitzgerald was thinking the same way when he wrote The Great Gatsby with the ambition to write "The Great American Novel", and he has succeeded to some extent. Jay Gatsby's dream can be identified with that of America herself with its emphasis on drive, determination and goal orientation. But with the death of Gatsby, we observe the possible destiny of America and the 'American Dream' and Fitzgerald does not fail to continuously remind us that the 'American Dream' is an illusion and an unrealistic goal to be met and we will surely fail if we try to attain it but yet he prides on the supplementary parts of the 'American Dream' such as goodness, vitality and openness to life. F. Scott Fitzgerald's views on the American Dream can similarly be summed up by a quote by the current President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam who during his inaugural speech said, "Let us dream ... dream about our future. Dream ... knowing that getting as close to it as humanely possible is more than enough to make us great." 1 ...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. Peer reviewed

    Death of the American Dream

    5 star(s)

    Even then, once Tom pleads with her to stay, Daisy quickly changes her mind and ultimately leaves Gatsby for a life of comfort and security. The Buchanans are the ultimate examples of wealth and prosperity, the embodiment of the rich life of the American Dream, yet their lives are empty, unfulfilled, and without purpose.

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

    though the opportunities and help from Dan Cody have to been acknowledged. His determination to strive towards his ideal can be mirrored in his changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, which best fits him into a new, more dignified social class.

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

    He uses George's wife as a plaything that he would throw away if things ever became inconvenient for him, just like he did with the chambermaid from the Santa Barbara Hotel. He doesn't understand how important his actions could be to the Wilsons or Daisy.

  2. The Corruption of The American Dream.

    "Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruitier in New York-Every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his backdoor in a pyramid of pulp less halves". This symbolizes the relatedness between the "pulp less halves" and the rather "empty" guests, who were nothing but soulless

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

    "He had certainly taken her under false pretences...he had let her believe that he was a person from much the same strata as herself...he had intended, probably, to take what he could and go." I believe very firmly that it is this quest that makes Gatsby the ultimate victim of

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

    This could be linked back to my early comment in that Gatsby is trying to replicate the so-called "old style aristocrats" which supposedly had everything that wanted. I think Gatsby acts in this way because before he achieved his fortune and was with daisy he believed they truly happy and

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

    It is through such an attitude where we begin to see the moral corruption of the American Dream taking place. The materialistic part of the dream has been happened but the actual appreciation of what you have has disappeared and any generosity has turned into greed.

  2. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on 24 September 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota ...

    Their next meeting takes place a week later when for the first time Tom and his wife go to one of Gatsby's parties. During the evening Tom is hostile and Gatsby is convinced that Daisy didn't enjoy the party. Gatsby tells Nick that he wants to recreate the past with Daisy.

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