The American Dream

By Ashley Dietze

Jay Gatsby

Gatsby can be describe as a few things.

He can be established as a dreamer, charming, gracious, but very mysterious.

Gatsby is like a rags-to-riches kind of story. He started off with his parents being farmers who didn't have a lot of money. But he didn't like that, he wanted, needed more of life.

He left his old life behind so he could go be rich and well-known. That's all he wanted in life. He never really thought of love, family, or making friendships.

Gatsby could be thought of as the ideal examples of the American Dream of that time.

He went to having nothing to having "everything" but did he really have everything?

This life style he was living was a lonely one. He closed a lot of people out. People only visited him when he had his big parties, or they loved him for his money.

Gatsby's American Dream

Gatsby's American Dream was what almost everyone's dream was in this book. To be rich and make a name for themselves.

They all think that if they are rich and famous, then they will be happy, but they loose sight of what is really important. Love, family, and friendships.

In order for Gatsby to achieve his "American Dream" he had to leave everything he ever knew behind and completely start over. He changed his name, where he would live, his friends. He never stopped to think it out and ask himself "Is this worth risking everything I have?" But no, he was greedy and wanted more than what he had. Yes everyone always wants a bit more than what they have, but he risked everything for it.

Text Examples:

  1. “I’ll tell you God’s truth.” His right hand suddenly ordered divine retribution to stand by. “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.” - later on in the book we find out he was lying at this point just to make a good image of himself. Pg. 69
  2. "James Gatz — that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career —" Pg. 104
  3. "His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself." Pg. 104
  4. “I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past.” “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand. “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.” This shows his belief that if he played his cards right, him and Daisy can rekindle the love they had in the past. pg. 116-117
  5. “He come out to see me two years ago and bought me the house I live in now. Of course we was broke up when he run off from home, but I see now there was a reason for it. He knew he had a big future in front of him. And ever since he made a success he was very generous with me.” Pg. 181

Did he get his dream?

Yes since he just wanted to be rich and famous, but he never really tried finding love or friendship. So in the end when he dies barely anyone went to his funeral because they only knew him for his money and parties and they didn’t care that he was gone

American Dream today

I feel like the American Dream still does exist but everyone has their own ideas of it.

I think the American Dream today is personal freedoms.

We all want to be able to be our own free person and to not be judged by our choices/beliefs. But most of us don't have the determination to strive for them. We complain about all these things that we want/ need but the only person that is able to achieve that is ourselves. The people who do try, most of the time achieves it. I think everyone just expects others to do the things for them. Honestly I just think people are afraid of failure and disappointment. People are consumed in their own self pity that one fail and they are done trying.

Theme of Great Gatsby

I feel like the overall theme of this book is “Lust controls us.”

In the book almost everyone is controlled by lust and their own personal desires.

Gatsby is lustful over money and power. He will do anything to keep his reputation and his money, even if that means changing who he used to be and leaving all connections he used to have. He is willing to leave his life/family just so he can have the life of power and riches.

Myrtle is controlled by money as well. She is willing to just up and leave her husband for another man who is rich. Myrtle doesn’t seem to care that she is picking a man who is powerful, rich, and mean; over someone who is kind, hardworking, and loving.

Daisy is controlled by her lust of attention. Daisy speaks quietly just so people can lean in and pay attention to her and what she is saying.

Tom is controlled by power. He has to go almost everywhere with Daisy just to make sure she stays in line and so he can keep an eye on her. He also demonstrates it when he hits Myrtle just for speaking his wife’s name. He seemed like he wanted to get the point across that he is in charge and if she goes against his charge then she will be punished. He wanted to scare Myrtle into realizing he is in charge. “Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.”

They are all alike in some way. They all lust over money, power, and love. They don’t all do the same things but they are still controlled by all of their own lust’s.