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The Great Gatsby: Not Everyone Can Live The American Dream

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What does the American dream mean to you? The American dream is the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American allowing the highest aspirations and goals achieved. That being said, I do not believe the documentary Born Rich and the novel The Great Gatsby is the only evidence that shows the myth of equality in America and the falsehood of the American dream.

My first piece of evidence is from The Great Gatsby being that the American dream is hardly earned. Gatsby did not work for his money, the novel states, 'I found out what your 'drug-stores' were.' He turned to us and spoke rapidly. 'He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong.', Gatsby obtains his wealthiness through illegal bootlegging of alcohol. Creating a fake interpretation of himself. As you can see the “American dream” is not lived to the full expectation, being of how Gatsby “earned” his money through his illegal ways.

Second, The American dream is a myth, it is no longer lived by what it is truly meant to be. In the novel, Daisy is on Gatsby's bed while he is throwing all of his shirts at her and out of nowhere she says, “They are such beautiful shirts, she sobs, her muffled in the folds, it makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts.”. This shows how materialistic Daisy is. This is the first time at Gatsby's mansion and when he throws the shirts at her she gets overwhelmed by how much he has changed and by his new wealth. That being said, having money changes people's perspective on others. Using them for wealth other than who they are as a person.

Next, in order to live the American dream, you will need money. Having money leads to how successful you will be in the future. The novel states, “... And on Mondays eight servants including the extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and g=hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before…”. By having money Gatsby goes to the extraordinary extent for materialistic things, being over-the-top with his wealth. Everyone who comes to Gatsby's parties is attracted by his wealth- many people don't even know who he is personality wise. This shows people are blinded by money and wealth.

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My fourth piece of evidence is also from the novel being that, not everyone can live the American dream because everyone grows up living in different situations. Nick's father gave him advice saying, “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father… whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, ”just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had”. Don't be too quick to judge peoples living situation, you never know what they had to grow up living with. Whether it be poverty, health issues, no family; everyone's life is different. Not everyone grows up the same and people are not going to have the same chance to have the same opportunities.

My next piece of evidence is from The Great Gatsby being that everyone gets stuck trying to live up to the American dream. To truly achieve it you have to live up to hard work and dedication. In the novel, Nick states, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded faster, stretch out our arms farther… And then one morning- So We beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”. Nick focuses on the struggle of humans to achieve their goals by transcending and re-creating the past. Yet humans themselves are unable to move beyond the past and there is a constant struggle to turn their dreams into reality.

Finally, the last piece of evidence is also from the novel proving that your environment can affect your American dream. Who you surround yourself by con convey your outcome of life. Nick is one of those people who surround himself around the wrong people, for example, Nick states, “I am one of the most few honest people that I have ever known.”(pg 49). Nick Carraway comes from the midwest and is determined to make something of himself. Then he develops interests in the wealthiness of New York that he is surrounded by. Nick never truly achieved the American dream because he becomes so caught up in the life of others around him.

All in end, due to the many reasonings, I do not believe that the novel The Great Gatsby is the only piece of evidence that shows the myth of equality in America and the falsehood of the dream. The American dream is not available to any and every American due to the fact that not everyone has equal opportunities. It is often sensed of physical accomplishments and not the hard work behind all of it. The dream has once meant hard work leads to fortune but has now changed to greed, laziness and “earning” your fortune in an easier way. This proves that the American dream no longer exists.

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The Great Gatsby: Not Everyone Can Live The American Dream. (2021, July 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
“The Great Gatsby: Not Everyone Can Live The American Dream.” Edubirdie, 18 Jul. 2021,
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