F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Corruption Of The American Dream

1475 words - 6 pages

Jay Gatsby is a man with a dream and will stop at nothing to attain it.  When he loses the love of his life to a wealthy, sophisticated and bigoted socialite, his mind is set.  Born a poor farm boy, he centers his life around achieving extraordinarily vast amounts of wealth and great social status.  The poor man never gets the girl; in fact, he never gets anything in Gatsby's eyes.  Gatsby is determined not only to be rich, but become the richest man who ever lived.  When he does become the richest man who ever lived, he wants to become the ultimate ruler of the universe.  Gatsby wants to be God.  Nick Carraway, his laid-back and observant neighbor, despises Gatsby's flamboyant and exaggerated ways.  However, he comes to admire Gatsby because of his unending optimism and his ongoing pursuit of making his dreams become reality.  To many, Gatsby can be seen as the ultimate symbol of the greatness of the American dream.  However, Gatsby is really the ultimate symbol of the ridiculous excess and waste of wealthy American socialites, which Carraway is so opposed to.  Nowhere but in America is everything and anything possible, and nowhere but in America can the attainment of excessive frivolity be seen as admirable, even heroic.  From his pathetic attempts to fake fate to his almost childlike whims of knowing no limit, Gatsby is not a symbol of the greatness of the American dream, but a mere parody of it.

            First of all, Gatsby is not admirable because he refuses to be himself.  Perhaps he wasn't meant to be a farmer or a pauper, however, Gatsby will never be the Rhett Butler he parades himself around to be.  "His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people - his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all."  From the start, he denied who he really was in an attempt to forge a new identity for himself.  He proclaims himself to be "God's-son".  Yet this title is not a description of his newfound greatness but merely the fabricated image he attempts to impose upon others.  Gatsby is not the suave and sophisticated man he wants to be.  He mannerisms are awkward and unnatural.  When he speaks of his Oxford education, his words become hurried phrases, or he "swallowed it, or choked on it as though it had bothered him... with this doubt his whole statement fell to pieces" as if his education wasn't even meant to be.  Gatsby is hardly what one would call urbane.  Furthermore, Carraway notices that Gatsby's movements seem practiced and calculated.  Gatsby is forcing himself to be someone he's not and will pay the consequences.  When he is waiting for his first "chance" encounter with Daisy, he becomes nervous and fidgety.  When she finally arrives, he is once upon at his awkward and clumsy best: "Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place."  Years of practice did little to help Gatsby be truly...

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