Did Gatsby Achieve the American Dream? Quotes from the Novel to Analyze
“The American Dream” is a phrase that has been used to describe the belief that anyone can achieve success and prosperity through hard work and perseverance. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby,” the main character, Jay Gatsby, is often seen as a representation of the American Dream. However, the novel questions whether Gatsby truly achieved this dream. Here are some quotes from the book that offer insight into this debate.
“I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
This quote from Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s love interest, highlights the gender inequality that existed during the 1920s. Daisy recognizes that as a woman, she is limited in what she can achieve in life. Gatsby, on the other hand, is a man who has risen from humble beginnings to become a wealthy and successful individual. However, this success is dependent on his ability to hide his past and create a false persona. In this sense, Gatsby’s success is not entirely his own, but rather built on the illusion he has created.
“I lived at West Egg, the—well, the least fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.”
This quote from Nick Carraway, the novel’s narrator, shows the contrast between the high society of East Egg and the newly rich inhabitants of West Egg, where Gatsby lives. While Gatsby has achieved material success, he is not fully accepted by the established elite. His parties and lavish lifestyle are seen as gaudy and tasteless by those who were born into wealth. This suggests that Gatsby’s success is only superficial and that he has not fully achieved the American Dream of social acceptance and status.
“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!”
Gatsby’s desire to relive the past, specifically his relationship with Daisy, is a central theme in the novel. This desire shows that despite his wealth and success, Gatsby is still searching for something he cannot have. His belief that he can repeat the past highlights the futility of his efforts to achieve the American Dream. Gatsby’s tragic end shows that the American Dream may be unattainable for some, no matter how hard they strive or how much they achieve.
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things 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…”
This quote from Nick Carraway highlights the moral decay of the elite class, of which Daisy and her husband Tom are both members. It suggests that the American Dream has been corrupted by greed and selfishness. Gatsby, who has achieved success through illegal means, represents this corruption. In this way, the novel suggests that the American Dream has been distorted from its original intent and is no longer attainable in its purest form.
In conclusion, while Gatsby does achieve some form of success and prosperity, the novel questions whether this can truly be considered the American Dream. Through the character’s actions and words, Fitzgerald paints a picture of a corrupted and unattainable dream, where success is often built on deception and materialism. Gatsby’s tragic end serves as a warning that the pursuit of the American Dream can lead to a hollow and unfulfilled life.