Topic: Outline your understanding of the American Dream and explain how far Gatsby may be regarded as a fulfilment of the American Dream. The American Dream is one of hope, purity and vision. It suggests that every person may become a success through hard work. Typically the dreamer aspires to rise to wealth while accumulating things like love, high status and power on his way to the top. Gatsby seems to be a successful American dreamer. He has mastered the acquisition of great wealth and reinvention of himself to become what he wanted to be, but he has ties to organised crime, and this contradicts the expectation of the original American Dream - that its attainment should be moral. Furthermore as Gatsby personalises the American Dream and merges it with Daisy he dooms it to failure as it is impossible for anyone to fulfil expectations that have been dreamed into perfection for five years. Idealistically Gatsby seems to have achieved the American Dream, but his romantic view of life, of having unrealistic expectations and yearning for it so much that ultimately it becomes impossible to fulfil.
Jay Gatsby is a self made man who started out with nothing. All he had was a plan for achieving the American Dream of wealth, freedom and equality. He first aspires to attain freedom through hard work as his 'schedule' he wrote as a boy shows. However when Gatsby meets his mentor, Dan Cody, he is shown a way to pursue his dream in a criminal manner. Gatsby pursues wealth in an attempt to realise his dream and in the process follows the path of corruption, becoming a part of the degeneration of the American dream. On the surface it seems as though Gatsby has indeed achieved the American Dream; he is rich, he can afford to throw lavish parties for countless guests every weekend. He appears to be the perfect example of the American Dream- that success is within reach of everyone- as he achieved wealth despite his disadvantaged youth. Yet he has no real friends and had to corrupt the dream in order to achieve it. (he became a big time criminal, feared so much that Walter Chase was too scared to give Tom information about his and Wofshiems latest project) this shows that although Gatsby appears to have achieved the American Dream it is hollow. He is not happy and has an incommunicable desire for something greater. The corrupt atmosphere in which Gatsby lives blights the success of his achievement of the American Dream.
As Gatsby pursues the American Dream he personalises it by merging it with Daisy, which eventually dooms it to disappointment. She becomes a symbol of everything Gatsby strives for. He lives not just for himself but for the his dream, for his vision of the good life of relief from poverty, personal and emotional fulfilment and material all inspired by Daisy. Her voice is instrumental in the attainment of his dream. Gatsby says Daisy's voice was ''full of money - that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals song in it.'' And although Gatsby has achieved all the riches and idealistic values of the American Dream, for him it cannot truly be fulfilled until he has Daisy. Gatsby becomes so enamoured by Daisy and her voice that for five years he based all of his actions and decisions on winning Daisy over. This dream becomes a reality when he meets with Daisy and she falls in love with him. However, the tragedy is that because he merges his version of the American dream with her, it is doomed to fail. As she becomes the dream it is inevitable that she will be unable to live up to it. In addition Gatsby's idealism is so great that he loses grasp of what is true and realistic, and although Daisy is married and she and him are Having an affair he assumes that his dream cannot be realised unless Daisy declares that she never loved Tom. He expects Daisy to merely eradicate the last five years of her life, and it is here that the true fulfilment of the American dream for Gatsby fails. It is through Gatsby's love for Daisy that it can be shown that although outwardly it may be perceived that Gatsby has fulfilled the American Dream as he has successfully risen to wealth, conversely he did not truly achieve it. Daisy left him and for Gatsby she was everything the dream stood for.
In conclusion, it can be seen that Gatsby only achieved the American Dream superficially. And because of his romantic idealisms he was not satisfied with merely frivolous wealth but desired more, yearned for the unattainable which came in the form of Daisy. And this is how, for Gatsby the American Dream could not truly be fulfilled. Even though his wealth was attained unlawfully, his failure in winning Daisy over was his biggest downfall.
(In conclusion it can be seen that although Gatsby may seem to have achieved the American dream in reality he did not. Although he is rich he is not happy as he did not get what he had aspired to. Even though he gained his wealth illegally he did not get daisy, which was everything the dream stood for for him.)