The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald embodies may
themes, however the most salient one relates to the
corruption of the American Dream. The American Dream is
that each person no matter who he or she is can become
successful in life by his or her own hard work. The
dream also embodies the idea of a self-sufficient man,
an entrepreneur making it successful for himself. The
Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American
dream in the 1920s, a time period when the dream had
been corrupted by the avaricious pursuit of wealth. The
American dream is sublime motivation for accomplishing
ones goals and producing achievements, however when
tainted with wealth the dream becomes devoid and hollow.
When the American dream was pure, motivation and
ambition were some key aspects of the pure American
dream. "He stretched out his arms toward the dark water
in a curious way...and distinguished nothing except a
single green light"(page.26). It shows how Gatsby was
striving for the his goal and trying to accomplish it.
When the dream was pure, motivation and self-discipline
were present. This quote talks about Gatsby's daily
agenda and how in the earlier days he upheld the pure
American Dream "No wasting time at Shafters, No more
smoking or chewing, Read one improving book or magazine
per week, Save $3.00 per week, Be better to parents"
(page 181-182). Nick says "I became aware of the old
island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes-a
fresh green breast of the new world"(page 189). This
quote shows the pristine goals of where the
possibilities were endless and one could accomplish
anything through hard work.
The American dream became corrupted, its main aims
were wealth and power. Gatsby became corrupted because
his main goal was to have Daisy. The only reason he
want Daisy was that she symbolized wealth and took on
the characteristics of money. "Her voice is full of
money"(page127). Gatsby needed to have an enormous
mansion so he could feel confident enough to try to win
Daisy. " That huge place over there? Do you like it? I
love it" (page95). The tainted dream was so empty that
having accouterments of wealth could even incite
feelings of love. "He's the man who fixed the World
Series back in 1919" ( page 78). The dream became so
focused on money that any means of a obtaining it were
condoned, even if it were unscrupulous.
Result of American dream being corrupted is that
the motivation and ambition were gone and the dream is
left with the pursuit of an empty goal. This is
displayed when Daisy says "Do you always watch for the
longest day of the year and then miss it? I always
watch for the longest day of the year and miss it."
This quote shows the lack of motivation and meaningless
to which the empty rich society has turned to. Another
result of this corrupted dream is that the dearth of the
idea that each person no matter who he or she is can
become successful in life by his or her own hard work.
This ignorance is shone when Tom says "The idea is if we
don't look out the white race will be utterly submerged.
It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved" (page
Ignorance and the ideal of looking out for oneself is
prevalent. Where as in the pure American Dream striving
to accomplish ones' own personal goal is ones main
One should use the American Dream for motivation
and hope that one can achieve ones personal goal. The
American Dream should not be centered on money and other
materialistic things but on a real goal.