The Cost of Pursuing a Dream


To effectively pursue a dream, one must sacrifice faithfulness

Pursuing a Dream: Faithfulness is The Cost

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is truly faithful to Daisy, the love of his life. He has to live a "fake" life to impress her. There is something artificial about his mansion, his "friends," and even the books in his library. However, Gatsby's faithfulness to Daisy comes at the cost of his faithfulness to the law; in reality, Gatsby is just an outlaw. In order for Gatsby to pursue his dream of life with Daisy, he thinks he must trespass the boundaries of the law to his desired wealth. He goes to the extremities of lying to other people. Gatsby tells Nick Carraway that he "was in the drug business and then [he] was in the oil business," but ends by saying that he is "not in either one" now (Fitzgerald 95).

In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko attempts to convince the stockholders of Teldar Paper that " good...greed is right" and "greed clarifies." Above all, Gekko tries to drive the main point home to his audience that "greed...will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA" (American).

An appetite for money inspires one to achieve great things. For Teldar Paper directors to pursue their dream, they had to sacrifice faithfulness. They owned hardly any stock in their own company, thus demonstrating a lack of faith. Gordon Gekko challenges their lack of faith, but his words are just a strategy for driving up Teldar's stock price. This strategy is almost exactly the strategy used by Jay Gatsby, which is to play upon people's faith in the American Dream. Just as Gatsby represents the American belief that great wealth is good, Gordon Gekko preaches a similar message.

The Inside Job is a film revealing the truths behind the 2008 economic financial crisis that caused millions of people to lose their homes and jobs (Inside).

In the film, when asked when exactly she found out about the Lehman Brothers' declaring of bankruptcy, the Finance Minister of France, Christine Lagarde, said that she discovered the news "after the fact" (Inside). One of the highest officials of France, in regards to finances, did not know that Lehman Brothers, a world-renowned investment bank, was to declare bankruptcy until after the bankruptcy occurred. Shocking, huh? In another interview, U.S. managing editor at the Financial Times and author of Fools Gold, Gillian Tett, reported that the people "who had assets with Lehman in London discovered overnight...that they couldn't get those assets back" (Inside).

The start of the Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation ironically began in 1928, less than a year before the stock market crash, and quickly flourished. But how? Goldman, Sachs "[bought] heavily of its own had bought 560,724 shares of its own stock" by March 14. "This, in turn, had boomed" the value of the shares. Investors saw the price of the stock rapidly rising, but they did not know that Goldman, Sachs was actually buying itself (Galbraith). The dream of Goldman, Sachs was to drive its perceived value as high as it possibly could, even by illegal means. This, however, required to be betray the faith that stock purchasers placed in the company. The Lehman Brothers company sacrificed faithfulness to pursue their dream of becoming wealthier and wealthier. The investors with stocks in Lehman had no idea that the company they had stock in was collapsing behind their backs. Just as Lehman sacrificed faithfulness to pursue their dream, Goldman, Sachs sacrificed faithfulness to pursue its dream as well. Goldman, Sachs "[bought] heavily of its own had bought 560,724 shares of its own stock" by March 14 (Galbraith).

In her book, "Serving in Florida," Barbara Ehrenreich conducts an experiment on low-wage workers. In her experiment "in the town nearest to where [she]...[lives], Key West, Florida," she discovers that the faithfulness of the American Dream for the majority of low-wage workers comes at a very high cost (Ehrenreich). The people she worked alongside all had different issues in each of their lives. They all, however, had one similar issue: money. For example, George, the Czechoslovakian dishwasher, receives $5 an hour from an agent who paid for his trip to America, and the profit goes to the agent. Each person, however, had to sacrifice faithfulness...faithfulness to their kids, their spouse, as well as many other things.

Below is a video created by former AP English students at Coppell High School.

The Cost of Pursuing a Dream

Works Cited

American Rhetoric: Movie Speech: Wall Street - Gordon Gekko Addresses Teldar Shareholders - Greed Is Good. Dir. Oliver Stone. Perf. Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen. 20th Century Fox, 1987. Film. American Rhetoric: Movie Speech: Wall Street - Gordon Gekko Addresses Teldar Shareholders - Greed Is Good. American Rhetoric, 2001. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Nickel and Dimed." Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara Ehrenreich, 2001. Web. 07 Jan. 2014.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Chapter 5." The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. 95. Print.

Galbraith, John Kenneth. "The Library of America - Story of the Week." John Kenneth Galbraith: The Affluent Society & Other Writings 1952-1967. New York: Library of America, 2010. 234-38. Print.

Inside Job. Dir. Charles Ferguson. By Charles Ferguson. Prod. Charles Ferguson. Sony, 2010. DVD. Sony Classics. Web. 7 Jan. 2014.

"Inside Job - Movie Website for the Documentary Film." Sony Pictures Classic. Sony, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014.