The Standard American Dream English Literature Essay

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What is the standard American dream? Money, power, status and Happiness define the American dream. Happiness is the key part of the American dream, if you are not happy, you truly are not living the American dream. F Scott Fitzgerald's book named The Great Gatsby toys around with the American dream. We see the wealth of some of the main characters in the book as Nick narrates throughout the book. We also see the power some of them have but since Nick is such a descriptive narrator, we see the many of the other characters are truly not happy. It is through his description that we find out that everything is not what it seems. Mr. Fitzgerald is able to tell us through this book that the ideal American dream is extremely hard to

achieve or may not even exist as none of the main characters are able to achieve, no matter

how close they came to it. We always talk about the American dream and he toys around with it

as we see characters who have a lot of wealth or power, and yet none of them were ever truly

happy for the rest of their lives to complete the standard American dream. Each of the main

characters needed something else to complete it which they could not get.The American dream

is the unachievable dream because the main characters were unable to attain the standard of

what the ideal American dream represent. Tom was unhappy with his marriage, Gatsby could

not get Daisy and Wilson was never able to take control over his life.

Tom Buchanan, one of the villains in the book (just kidding). Although to a normal person

who is not one of the main characters in the book, he would think that Tom is living the

American dream. "By the next autumn she was gay………, and the day before the wedding he

gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars." (Page 76,

paragraph 2). The quote shows the wealth that Tom has. He has a beautiful wife and a child. He

is so close to the American dream that this world knows. But why is it that he is so close even

with all those things which the common man would think is the American dream, is he still too

far away from achieving it? As Mr. Fitzgerald gave Tom the perfect life, he also gave Tom the

flaws to destroy that life. Tom is very egoistic and very temperamental, both end up taking the

American dream away from him. His American dream is unattainable as he is not happy with his

own marriage. "Why-"she said hesitantly. "Tom's got some woman in New York."(Page 16.

Paragraph) When Jordan mentions this, the idea of the dream is thrown out the window. Tom is

not happy with being with Daisy and he shows it by having an affair with Myrtle. As we know

that the affair means that Tom is not happy, it tells us that because he is not happy with Daisy,

no matter what else he has, he will not be able to achieve the American dream and it is too far

away from him. When Nick talks to Tom again after Myrtle's and Gatsby's death, he tells about

how he started to cry because of Myrtle's death. The ironic part is that Tom did not care as

much about Myrtle when she was alive and he only missed her when she died. Tom may have

been the closest to the American dream, but he never was truly happy with anything and

anyone, not even his own

family. He only starts to care about someone when he is about to lose them, and if he did have

the American dream, Daisy wouldn't even thought about leaving him, and he would love his

daughter and wife. When Tom is mentioned with being close to the American Dream because of

money and power, Gatsby comes into the same conversation.

Jay Gatsby, a millionaire with huge parties and political power, who has one dream and is not

able to achieve it. Before talking about why he couldn't achieve the American dream, it is critical

to look at why he was really close to living the American dream. His huge parties represented

wealth. He was able to become from poor to wealthy. "Recorvering himself in a minute he

opened for us two hulking……. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each

season, spring and fall." (Page 93, paragraph 2)The clothes are the symbolism of his wealth.

The fact that he can hire a person to buy clothes from other countries tells everyone that

Gatsby was a man with money. "All right, old sport…. Taking a white card from his wallet….

know you next time, Mr. Gatsby. Excuse me!" ( Page 68, paragraph 3)The white card was a

symbol of power and status. It was because Gatsby had a friendly relation with the

commissioner, he basically had political power with him and was able to use it to get out of a

ticket. Now that it's a fact that Gatsby had both power and money, the reason he is not able to

attain the American dream is because he is not able to get the love of his life, Daisy. Nick, Jordan

and even Tom later on know that Gatsby loves Daisy and he did all of this to get her to be with

him. If she had gone with him, his American dream might have been completed but since Daisy

was a character who needed another force to make her do things, she did not go with Gatsby,

thus breaking his American dream apart. It is also after the New York affair that everything goes

downhill for Gatsby and not only the American dream, but his own dreams start to break apart.

He was so close to the American dream and yet so far from it too as Gatsby shows obsession

against Daisy and in the end he died. His death was the final point from the author in saying

that the American dream is not achievable as instead of living a life of happiness, Gatsby's life

ended with death. Who else to end Gatsby's life then George Wilson himself, a man who was

the furthest form the American dream.

George Wilson, a man of hard work and yet also the representative of the lower class in the

1920s. When to raise an idea about the American dream, characters like Wilson are important

because they represent the exact opposite of that life. In fact, Wilson had no control over his life

till the end when he gets tricked to kill Gatsby. The place Wilson lived, Valley of Ashes was a

symbol itself. Representing the poor or the lower class in America and everyone who lived there

were the same. Myrtle was Wilson's wife and we know he cared a lot about her. If Wilson had

been able to get a car and escape from the town, he may have lead a better life but he couldn't

because of Tom. "When are you going to sell me that car?' 'Next week; I've got my man

working on it now'" (Page 25, paragraph 2). The car that he needed. Cars themselves in this

book are a symbol because they all trap the people in the book. Gatsby's car got him killed and

the car that Wilson needed to escape would not come into his hands. Wilson is a character who

represents failure in the book. He failed in his marriage, he failed in wealth as he had barely to

no business, he also failed in morality as he ended up killing Gatsby and then himself because of

the guilt. " God knows what you've been doing, everything……. Standing behind him,

Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which

had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night. 'God sees everything,'

repeated Wilson" (Page 161, paragraph 2-3). The eyes played a huge role in the novel the

American dream. It was the eyes that took away all the other characters American dream. The

eyes were a symbol of guilt and realization for Wilson on what he could not achieve. He always

thought about the American dream and yet he could not achieve is what the eyes said to him.

They looked down on him. To people who did have wealth and power, the eyes showed them a

way and made them realize that they had or were close to the American dream, but to Wilson

and people like Wilson, it showed regret of not being able to live the American dream.

Through all of these characters, Mr. Fitzgerald showed or toyed with the idea if the American

dream was really possible or it is really just a dream or a fiction. No one on the book was able to

achieve the American dream. Tom couldn't achieve it even though everything was basically

given to him, but since he is so arrogant, he could not realize it and then failed to achieve it.

Gatsby's American dream was different from the standard dream, as he only wanted Daisy but

even he could not get what he wanted to finish his American dream, even though he had

money and could have gotten any woman he wanted to complete it. Wilson was just unlucky in

his life as he was betrayed by Tom and Myrtle. He was born poor and died poor while also

regretting that he could not achieve the American dream. No one in the book ever truly became

happy and finally gotten what they all wished, thus Mr. Fitzgerald telling us that the American

dream is just fiction and it does not mean that it has to be all money, power and happiness as

people in real life are happy even if they don't have as much money as Tom or Gatsby. The ideal

American dream is extremely rare and Mr. Fitzgerald showed in his book that not everyone can

achieve it, but also showed us that in that time it was the life that everyone wanted and aimed

for, even if they were already happy with their lives.