Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper
The characters in The Great Gatsby illustrate that, by the 1920 s, the American Dream is deteriorating. Through symbolism, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows that the lost generation brought with it the deterioration of the American Dream. Immigrants from all over the world, at the beginning of the twentieth century, came to America with the hopes of establishing new lives different from the way they lived in Europe and other parts of the world. America was that land where anything was possible. People who lived in poverty, without any way of making their lives better, could come to America and start over. Dreams could come true in America. Well-paying jobs and nice houses, complete with white picket fences, were ideals that exemplified the American Dream.
Gatsby s vision is like the American Dream itself, the illusion that youth and beauty can be forever recaptured if only one can make enough money. He is the symbol for the whole American experience. Gatsby, who is in love with Daisy thinks that by turning materialistic, he can win her over. He thinks that money alone will be enough to fulfill an ideal, which shows what the American Dream had come to mean to people in the 1920 s. Daisy is a depiction of the American woman of her class. She is beautiful and charming but yet very hollow. Her apparent emotion is only the illusion of love, just as her voice gives only the fallacy of sincerity; behind it is a self-satisfied smirk.
Jay Gatsby never really accepted or was content with his parents who were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people (Fitzgerald 104). At seventeen years old, Gatsby changed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, and to this conception he was faithful to the end (104). In this way, Gatsby erases his past and his parentage in a very superficial manner. The name change serves as a transition for Gatsby in the same way immigrants had naive innocence and idealistic hopes for their futures in America. At Gatsby s young age, it is evident that he wants to be rich and own ornate, wonderful things, however it is apparent that there is pain attached to these acquisitions. His heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain (105). This shows that even as a young boy, Gatsby imagines unrealistic fantasies and dreams, a trait that remains with him until the day he dies.
Get rich quick, the motto and ideas of Americans in the 1920 s shows that the ideas about working and money had shifted. Before the 1920 s, it was ideal to work hard to earn money. But in the 1920 s people wanted quick money. They wanted to do the least amount of work for the most money possible.