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The Great American Dream – The Great Gatsby

At the first glance, unhappy love may seem to be the main theme of the novel “The Great Gatsby”. However, the novel covers a larger and less romantic scope. The events described in the novel are symbolic and vividly represent America of the 1920’s, particularly the collapse of the American dream at the times of unexampled prosperity and material wealth.

F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the 1920’s as the time of declining social and moral values. Greed, cynicism and meaningless pursuit of pleasure are the features Americans of this time possess. The extravagant parties Gatsby throws every Saturday night symbolize the ultimate corruption of the American dream. We can see that noble goals are overcome by the careless desire for money and non-stop pleasure.

After the end of the World War I young Americans who had served in military and fought the war were disillusioned fast. The violence they had been involved in made the social morality seem hypocritical. Capitalism was growing quickly and stock market rose immensely. This increase of national wealth promoted the development of spending and consumerism at high levels. A person with any social background could earn much money, however the American aristocratic families despised the industrial magnates and speculators who have suddenly become rich. After the 18th Amendment was passed in 1919 the official sale of alcohol was prohibited, and this only created flourishing underworld business selling smuggled drinks.

The characters of the novel are the symbols of these social changes. Gatsby and Nick show cosmopolitism and cynicism resulting from the war.

The author of the novel believes that the American dream was primarily about the discovery of new things, the development of individual qualities and striving for happiness. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 20th century described in the novel, this dream was corrupted by easy money-making and the decline of social values and morals, especially on the East Coast of America.

Gatsby’s dream of loving Daisy is destroyed by the difference of their social statuses, his involvement in crime to be rich enough to impress her, and the wild desire for money showing in her way of life. Gatsby sees Daisy as an ideal which she is not. His dream is ruined due to the lack of value of its object, and the American dream is ruined as well, because its objects – wealth and pleasure – are equally unworthy. When his dream vanishes, death is the only outcome for Gatsby.

At the first glance, unhappy love may seem to be the main theme of the novel “The Great Gatsby”. However, the novel covers a larger and less romantic scope. The events described in the novel are symbolic and vividly represent America of the 1920’s, particularly the collapse of the American dream at the times of unexampled prosperity and material wealth.

F.

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Assignment ID
100002975
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CREATED ON
November 8, 2016
COMPLETED ON
November 9, 2016
Price
$17
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