the great gatsby american dream

In The Great Gatsby, Francis Scott Fitzgerald attempts to confront his conflicted thoughts towards the American Dream. The book sheds light on the spiritual emptiness, decadence, and unbridled pursuit of materialism in the 1920s. Despite the fact that the plot is about Nick, it represents Fitzgerald’s journey between the need for materialism and the search for a spiritual heart. The plot reveals the protagonist’s love for a woman who represents all he desires but ultimately leads him to everything he despises. The Great Gatsby exemplifies the disillusionment that followed the collapse of the American Dream in twentieth-century America. One of the techniques Foster uses in a fundamental literature convention is the quest motif. For the quest to exist, Foster argues that there must be a character who shall be taking up the quest, a place where the character should visit, stated reasons for going there, challenges and problems encountered while on the journey and the real reasons for going. An example is given by Jay Gatsby in the American Dream as a man who was out to achieve greatness regardless of what came his way. People would think the dream was fallacy because it was not what a majority expected. Born in impoverished environment, Gatsby started a journey of becoming rich. The only way of getting to the Promised Land was through “organized crime, trading in stolen security and distribution of illegal drugs” to unsuspecting people (Fitzgerald 64). From his early days, there is evidence that Gatsby hated poverty and would do anything humanly possible to get out of such a frustrating life. Gatsby started school but later dropped out of St. Olaf College just after two weeks of joining to pursue Daisy Buchanan.
The second technique Foster highlights as having significant literary meaning are the meals. An aspect of eating may have several literal meanings. Christians go for Holy Communion as a symbol of sharing which brings peace or goodwill. Others eat together as a show of love, intimacy or even friendship. Foster argues that describing meal scene in literary work is herculean for writers. For it to be included in any work, it must have a very strong significant importance. Gatsby sells illegal alcohol as part of the criminal activities being undertaken (Fitzgerald 64). Illegal alcohol can only be sold to unreasonable people like him in the suburbs. Alcohol erodes the positivity with which the American dream was started. People who take illegal alcohol have no genuine jobs which justify disillusionment of most American people.
The third technique highlighted by Foster is the use of vampires and Ghost in literature. In most cases, they are always used to give the reader a scare. The reader would be imagining of how dreadful a particular place or a situation is. They also symbolize selfishness and domination. Gatsby has transformed so many things on the way to “success” including changing his name from “James to Jay Gatsby” so that he gets what he wants (Fitzgerald 102). The re-invention of Gatsby as a man out to transform his hopes into dreams much quicker can only happen with the magicians. Even education takes time before one can realize its benefits.
The journey to success can be at times tortuous and in most cases painful. A writer’s literal work can only be complete if quest motifs are clearly spelt. Where meals and the use of Ghosts and vampires are provided, they should clearly bring out the theme of the story.
Work cited:
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York. Scribner, 2004

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