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Great Gatsby - American Dream

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Owen Van Sickle

Ms. Laura Bolling

Honors English III

Great Gatsby Essay

American Dream

        The term “American Dream” comes from a historian by the name of James Truslow Adams. He portrays the idea that America is, “Dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement.” The American Dream exists in the Great Gatsby and other works of literature in attempt to persuade us readers to follow our dreams. The idea that no matter the person or social background, an individual can have and do whatever they want in life. People in society question if this supposed truth actually still exists today, and the answer is certainly yes.

        With that hopeful and prosperous outlook on this American philosophy; there also exists doubts of its truth. In “The American Dream’s Death Spiral,” by James W. Thomson, it’s said, “The good times are over and we should accept continuity.” This short phrase sums up the article and its main point that America has quit being the land of great success and ingenuity, and now rather a country of systemic life and commonality in career. The author urges the readers to understand that Americans just follow along with the social norms and do not fully chase their own personal success. This point is reasonable to agree with, but the fire of the American Spirit undoubtedly lives on; it’s the occurrence and fruition which is not quite as common today.

        Gatsby wants acceptance and fulfillment so desperately in The Great Gatsby. He came from nearly nothing, and from a young age was determined to make his way out of poverty and into wealth and stature. His determination and hopefulness shows the readers and Americans that this “Dream” is rooted in everyone from everywhere. The path to success is possible for everyone and exists in everyone’s abilities, but a person must make the decision whether or not they will pursue their goals as Gatsby did. With this realization told and understood, it is safe to make the assumption that the American dream may well never cease to exist.

As a nation, the citizens must understand that the old American dream has changed. We are now a technologically advanced country with great infrastructure and development. Going to college and getting a well paying job is rather easier and more common than ever, and contributes to the idea that many Americans already have what was once a “delicacy.” The article, “Rethinking the American Dream,” gives great insight on this edited version of the old “dream.” “The American Dream should be embraced as the unique sense of possibility that this country gives its citizens- the decent chance to scale the walls and achieve what you wish.” This excerpt really emphasizes that individuals of this country should look at the American Dream as more of assurance that we can be whatever we want to be, rather than just trying not to be in poverty.

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