- Term Papers and Free Essays

American Dream In The Great Gatsby

Essay by   •  January 5, 2011  •  1,431 Words (6 Pages)  •  3,317 Views

Essay Preview: American Dream In The Great Gatsby

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

Work Log #3

The American Dream is a subjective term commonly implying a fulfillment of success and satisfaction in one’s life. F. Scott Fitzgerald, composer of the text The Great Gatsby, utilizes one of the main characters, Jay Gatsby, to provide the reader with a more defined and insightful perspective of the American Dream. Jay Gatsby is a character inclined to achieve the American Dream, motivated by pursuing factors of wealth, social class, and love, but fails to achieve success. Fitzgerald provides a vast amount of symbolism throughout the novel, one of the most significant being the green light, a reflection of the longing desire of Gatsby to achieve the American Dream. The American Dream can be seen to be composed of material and spiritual fulfillment, and Gatsby’s failure in achieving it lies in his failure of achieving spiritual fulfillment. Clearly the materialistic fulfillment is achieved as Gatsby transforms himself from a man of low class, who could not even afford a change of clothes, to a wealthy figure of a socially high class. However, the achievement of his materialistic success only occurs in attempt to reach spiritual success as Daisy, the woman of his dreams, could not marry him as he lacked financial support. Understanding the importance of money his self-actualization causes him to unleash his potential and achieve wealth. In addition the inspirational power of social dominance influences Gatsby to achieve popularity, as seen through the several parties which Gatsby hosts inviting numerous amounts of guests. Despite these two pursuing factors the one which is seen to be dominant throughout the novel is his love for Daisy. Nearly all his actions can be seen as an attempt to achieve Daisy’s love, which in turn would satisfy his spiritual fulfillment and allow his completion of the American Dream. Unfortunately Gatsby fails in this regard, and in turn fails to achieve spiritual fulfillment and thus fails to achieve the American Dream.

Tanner, Barney. "Joycean Elements in F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Great Gatsby." Reference & Research Book News Aug. 2007. CPI.Q (Canadian Periodicals). Retrieved 12 March 2008. <www.>

Tate, Mary J. Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Facts on File, 2007.

Bloom, Harold. Novelists and Novels. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005.

Prigozy, Ruth, ed. The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.

Wyly, Michael J. Understanding the Great Gatsby. California: Lucent Books, 2002.

Bryer, Jackson R., Alan Margolies, and Ruth Prigozy, eds. F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives. Athens: University of Georgia P, 2000.

Lehan, Richard. F. Scott Fitzgerald; New Perspectives. Athens: University of Georgia P, 2000

Tessitore, John. F. Scott Fitzgerald: the American Dreamer. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001.

Kazin, Alfred, and Harold Bloom. "Alfred Kazin on Gatsby and the Failure of the American Dream." Bloom’s_Notes: Great Gatsby (1999): 30-31. Ebscohost. Retrieved 9 March 2008. <www.>

Mandel, Jerome. "Jerome Mandel on the Great Gatsby as a Medieval Romance."

Bloom’s Notes: Great Gatsby (1999): 53-55. Ebscohost. Retrieved 5 March 2008.


Tate, Mary J. F. Scott Fitzgerald: a-Z the Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 1998.

Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson. Literature and Its Times. California: Gale, 1997.

Tredell, Nicolas. F. Scott Fitzgerald the great Gatsby. New York: Columbia UP, 1997.

Berman, Ronald. The Great Gatsby and Modern Times. Chicago: University of Illinois P, 1994.

Bryant, Mangum. A Fortune Yet; Money in the Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Short Stories. New York: Garland, 1991.

Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Vol. 3. California: Salem P, 1991.

Stallman, R. W., and Harold Bloom. "Gatsby and the Hole in Time." Bloom’s_Major Literary Characters: Gatsby (1991): 55-63. Ebscohost. Retrieved 6 March 2008.


Harold Bloom is a professor of the humanities at Yale University while R.W. Stallman

is a professor emeritus of English from the University of Connecticut. Bloom selected reprint of the

article "Gatsby and the Hole in Time," by R. W. Stallman, which was first published in the November

1955 issue of "Modern Fiction Studies." Throughout this article Stallman seems to steer clear of

involving his personal biases and successfully depicts Gatsby as a representation of the American dream.

Differentiation of this article comes through the inclusion of a separate theme, the theme of time, which

is introduced where the character of Daisy is concerned as she connects Gatsby with his past and was

the need for his success. The audience that this article seems to be written for is university students

conducting research on the novel or attempting to understand the American dream and Gatsby’s

inspiration to achieve it within the novel. This source was extremely relevant to my topic as it provided

me with an idea I had overlooked, Daisy as an inspiration for Gatsby to wish to achieve the American

dream. In summation this article by R.W. Stallman appears to be extremely useful to my topic as it is

directly related to my thesis.

Weaver, Gordon, ed. F. Scott Fitzgerald; a Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1991.



Download as:   txt (8.9 Kb)   pdf (116.2 Kb)   docx (12.4 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 01). American Dream In The Great Gatsby. Retrieved 01, 2011, from

"American Dream In The Great Gatsby" 01 2011. 2011. 01 2011 <>.

"American Dream In The Great Gatsby.", 01 2011. Web. 01 2011. <>.

"American Dream In The Great Gatsby." 01, 2011. Accessed 01, 2011.