Gatsby Synthesis Project

The Cost of Pursuing a Dream

We Were Always Told to Dream Big...

In early childhood, kids are regularly told to dream big. They are told to "shoot for the stars." Little do most children realize that in order to obtain some of their dreams, they will need to stomp out competition to become the best option. In most cases, "stomping out the competition" will cause dream pursuers to lose respect for others.

What is the cost of pursuing a dream?

“The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated” (“Stockholders” WWW). Corporate America is constantly compared to a battlefield where you have to fight your way to the top. Those pursuing dreams of high level have to rise above the rest, but not always in a subtle way. The successful seem to be the kind who acquires power only by squashing others. While pursuing these dreams, people tend to be so ambitious that they lose respect for other people and their dreams. In F.Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby”, the plot follows an ambitious Nick Carraway. Nick is a man just starting his life by trying to make his way in the bond business. Nick is similar to a woman named Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote a book in which she talked about what life was like starting out on her own. While struggling to find a job, Ehrenreich thought, “How many dollars' worth of stolen goods have I purchased in the last year? Would I turn in a fellow employee if I caught him stealing?” (“Serving” WWW). Ehrenreich didn’t even have a job or success yet and was already starting to think about “stomping out her competition,” when she started working. Ehrenreich seems very different from Fitzgerald fictitious character Daisy Buchanan who said of her daughter, “I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 17).

When Chilean miners were saved from an underground mine, David Henninger wrote “Capitalism Saved the Miners” about how a free market economy saved the miners but exposed a major truth about it in America. He stated, “In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry. But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation” (“Capitalism” WWW). Henninger, like Ehrenreich and others in business, realizes too, someone’s dream can easily be taken away by the success of another. Similarly, in “Great Gatsby”, Tom Buchanan easily “stomped out” Gatsby’s hopes of wooing Daisy when he argued with Gatsby about the legitimacy of his business. When Tom realized he had won, he instructed, "You two start on home, Daisy...Go on. He won't annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over" (Fitzgerald 135). Tom spoke down upon Gatsby with no respect at all. Tom's dream of staying with his wife caused him to lose all respect for Gatsby. Tom isn't the only one who lost respect for other people. It happens all the time in Corporate America. A recent documentary by Charles Ferguson called "Inside Job" chronicles the causes and effects of the 2008 Recession in which banks and ratings companies made an enormous amount of money conning investors. These people not only respected the people financially providing for their companies, but they went as far as to rob them of trillions. The cost of pursuing a dream is too great if one has to end other peoples dreams to achieve their own.


Sources


  1. Inside Job. Dir. Charles H. Ferguson. Perf. Matt Damon. Sony Pictures Classics, 2010. DVD.


  2. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechwallstreet.html


  3. Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Nickel and Dimed." Barbara Ehrenreich. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.<http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/nickelanddimed_excerpt.htm>


  4. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703673604575550322091167574


  5. http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/15/markets/junk_mortgages.fortune/index.htm


  6. http://www.thestreet.com/story/12034529/1/wall-streets-great-recession-cost-us-all-30-trillion.html
  7. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1925. Print.