In The Great Gatsby,Fitzgerald suggests that the American dream is in a sense, corrupt. Though inthe book it never directly states any specifics on the people who pursue theAmerican dream, one can infer that if you are wanting to go after the American dreamyou needs to be willing to work hard and fast. In the example of Jay Gatsby… Wereally don’t get truly introduced to Gatsby until chapter 6. In chapter 6, itis stated “James Gatz-that was really, or at least legally, his name.
He hadchanged it at the age of 17…” (Fitzgerald, 98). At this point in the story, wehave been told where Gatsby is from and what kind of social class he grew upwith. After we are introduced to the original “James Gatz” we hear nothing ofhim again unless it is dealing with the wealth he accumulated in just a fewshort years and how in love with Daisy he is. As we saw in chapter 9, after thedeath of Gatsby of course, James Gatz (Gatsby’s Father) shows Nick the scheduleGatsby made as a teenager, before he even met Daisy. It is clearly stated”Practice elocution, poise, and how to attain it… 5.00-6.00″ (Fitzgerald,173)thus showing the reader that even before Gatsby met Daisy he was set onbecoming a better person of a more elite class.
Given that, one canindefinitely tell that through Gatsby’s point of view, the American Dream, itto achieve a life of money, manners, and struggle. In Gatsby’s life, or rather, from what segment of Gatsby’slife the reader did see, one can infer that Daisy was the most important personin Gatsby’s life, and one mentions her first because everything Gatsby doesafter he meets Daisy, it to ensure he gets Daisy, to have and to hold, all onhis own. We as the reader, also know that once Nick meets Gatsby Nick becomesjust as important as Daisy though not of the same reasons.
Nick is Gatsby’sconfidante, the one who essentially becomes Gatsby’s best friend. At leastuntil Gatsby is murdered. That said, one can see that everything Daisy does isbased on money. A perfect example is in chapter 4, Daisy marries Tom because hehas money, or rather “old money” he was born into money, he did not technicallyhave to work a day in his life. Not to mention she fit into the gender rolesvery easily as back then white girls (or women rather) were expected to act like”beautiful little fools.” Which is why daisy said “I’m glad it’s a girl. And Ihope she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, abeautiful little fool.
” (Fitzgerald,17) One can Infer she said this because shedoes not want her daughter to know of hurt and heartbreak, which is of courseperfectly understandable and yet completely unrealistic to those of us livingin modern times. At this point, Daisy does know Tom is cheating on her, but sheblatantly refuses to confront him about it in fear of how she will be viewed.Women of the time were supposed to remain oblivious when their husbands startedto play butler with the maids. They were supposed to expect a man to “wear thepants” in the relationship, women of the time were not women, they werepossessions, pawns, unintelligent pawns. Of course, this is not the case withDaisy as she has experienced so much in her life already and only within the 20somewhat years she was. She is the perfect representation of a woman living theAmerican Dream.
She had a rich husband, who was of course, at the top of thetop, the towns bigwig, and she had a daughter, she could literally do what evershe wanted because she did not need to work, he husband had enough money andshe herself had enough money, not to mention a nanny who was more like thechild’s mother than Daisy herself. The perfect dream of American women. Now we go back to someone mentioned previously. Nick, theguy who essentially turned out to be the best friend of one Mr. Jay Gatsby.
Asyou can tell, different people have different views of what the true “AmericanDream” is, while Jay believed the American dream was to get to spend the restof your life with the love of your life along with believing in making money tobe more of an elite character, Nick believed that really the “American Dream”was to make it to the top and make money and become wealthy and becomesuccessful. I believe Fitzgerald wanted to illustrate these things in order tospecifically make the characters seem as they are. With this view Nick has onthe “American Dream” it makes him seem more relatable to our generation and ourmodern people, being that Nick’s “American Dream” is still the dream we have inAmerica today, or at least some people of America. Nick goes about success in arather different way than what Gatsby did, Nick is trying to acquire all theaspects of the American dream in a truly noble way, hard work, lost of time,dedication, no illegal activities, etc. Gatsby went about it as “How can I makethe most money in the shortest amount of time so I can get Daisy back” (as ifshe was ever planning on getting back with you to begin with apologies butrather unrealistic) which led Gatsby to turn to gambling and illegal selling ofalcohol (but I mean really Tom you were drinking alcohol at your house and yetyou want Gatsby to seem like the Criminal?) In chapter 9, there is aconversation that happens between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom. Gatsby is at firsthaving an innocent conversation with Tom answering questions about Oxford andtelling the truth (all in all Gatsby is a noble man) over every word, and yetTom so desperately feels the need to point out “He and this Wolfsheim bought upa lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol overthe counter…” (Fitzgerald,133) Okay Tom… because you totally didn’t just bringyour own grain alcohol at all, right? Point being, Fitzgerald shows usdifferent things in writing based on different characters views on the”American Dream”.