AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Dream a Little Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

by Íris Ósk Valþórsdóttir 1980

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Enska
Record ID: 1220689
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21175


This essay explores how Jay Gatsby pursued his American dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. It looks at America in the 1920s and gives insight into the culture in which Gatsby’s behavior takes place. There were many changes in American society around that time, with more freedom in some areas and restrictions in others, particularly related to social class; how this affects Jay Gatsby is examined. The essay then examines what the American dream means and how it is viewed in more recent times. The subject of the American dream has always been a sensitive topic for Americans and Jay Gatsby is no exception. The essay further reviews how Gatsby and his dreamed-up character have made their way into the scene of the new American upper class, and what reactions he receives from those watching his entrance into this desirable society. His intangible dream is somewhat disturbing; and what is more unnerving is the effort and energy he puts into his outrageous plans, and the lengths he goes to in order to chase after and fulfill his unrealistic dream. The essay concludes by looking at how the American dream is portrayed in the novel. Fitzgerald seems to be mocking those who dare to dream, as no one sees their dream fulfilled and most end up worse off for having tried. The American dream comes across as more of an illusion than anything else. Those who pursue it seem doomed to fail at reaching it, as it is just that: a dream.