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Great Gatsby- American Dream

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Nicole Spadaro

on 17 April 2015

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Transcript of Great Gatsby- American Dream

The American Dream basis is, anyone who works hard and is determined can bring anyone success, happiness, equality, and freedom.
The American Dream originally was the desire for equality and happiness.
In the 1920s values of the American dream changed, and became the desire for material goods, wealth, and property.
The dream was out of reach for most and for many the once inspiring dream faded into a taunting one.

The Great Gatsby
Theme: What is the "American Dream"? Outline in detail this philosophical notion including a brief history of the United States, and specific examples of the dream. What is Gatsby's dream? Is it the same? Are his methods of achieving it the same as the American Dream?
The History of America
Upon the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the North America population boomed because of the colonization and trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In 1776 America received its freedom and the founding fathers including, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, changed the path of America.
Throughout the next 200 years the USA were involved in many wars, peace agreements, and revolutionary discoveries that impacted the rest of the world.
American Dream
The evident theme in
The Great Gatsby
is the death of the American Dream. By analyzing high society during the 1920's through Nick Carraway's eyes, Fitzgerald argues that the dream has no means of noble pursuit for progress anymore. Instead it has become largely corrupt by materialistic greed.
Shown through Gatsby's involvement in bootlegging, underworld connections to make money, his large parties, unimaginable house, and expensive clothing show his corruption.
Fitzgerald shows that the American Dream dies with Gatsby.
Gatsby's pursuit of his dream takes on a mythic quality, mirroring the dream which led Americans to conquer the frontier.
Gatsby's Dream
Gatsby’s dream is to win Daisy back
Gatsby shows off his wealth by throwing parties hoping Daisy will come to one of them
Gatsby has an “extraordinary gift for hope” and he sacrifices himself to fulfill his dream
Gatsby’s desire for wealth and materials represents the new American Dream
The American Dream is the desire of wealth, Gatsby is obsessed with the American Dream because of his desire for Daisy and acquires his wealth for her
The American Dream
Thesis: The American Dream
Fitzgerald reflects on the American Dream in his novel The Great Gatsby. The 1920's was a time period when the idea of the dream became corrupt and destructive. Gatsby is ultimately obsessed with his version of the American dream, achieving Daisy's love, and does everything in his power to obtain it. Myrtle, Daisy, and most of all Gatsby have all been destroyed by this common dream.
Other Characters and their Dreams
Daisy thinks she has everything, wealth, love, and happiness which all relate to the American Dream.
But her dreams are corrupt
She married Tom for money, not love, and upon being reunited with Gatsby she realized she could have had both.
Her chase for the American Dream and the ideal man destroyed Daisy's happiness.
Nick moves to Long Island, New York, to get a fresh start in the bond business.
He forgets his old life and puts in hard work and determination to become successful
Nick represents the old American Dream
An aspiring social climber who wants to leave the Valley of Ashes
Myrtle's desire is for a luxurious, wealthy life which leads her to her affair with Tom.
She sees Tom as an advertisement for the American Dream.
Myrtle is driven by desire for money and having a higher class which proves to contribute to her destruction.
American Dream in Other Novels
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
James Turslow Adams, The Epic of America
Examples of the Dream
A protestant faith based on the principles of equality, freedom and community.
They were driven out of Europe from persecution and settled in Boston, creating a strong community in the end.
Many celebrities today including Oprah, Drake, and Jay Z have built their lives from very little.
They have an abundance of material possessions.
Represent the new idea of The American Dream.
Over 25 million immigrants picked up their lives to move to America between 1880-1920.
All looking for new lives away from hardship.
With many jobs opening up because of the World Wars, many people moved to America during what is called "The Great Migration".
Searching for new opportunities, many were excited at the chance for success.
Takes place in Brooklyn, New York in the 1940s
Willy Loman is a traveling salesman who struggles to attain the American Dream
Ultimately unsuccessful in attaining the dream as he runs his car off a bridge and kills himself
"Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her... Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one" (Fitzgerald, 90).
"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked the out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close the he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know it was already behind him, somewhere back in the obscurity beyond the city , where the dark fields of the republic rolled under the night" (Fitzgerald, 171).
Quote #2
"From Rags To Riches"
"Gatsby believe in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning- So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past" (Fitzgerald, 171-172).
Quote #3
Takes place in California during the 1930s (The Great Depression)
George and Lennie are migrant farm workers who dream of one day owning their own farm
Their hope of attaining the dream is destroyed when George is forced to kill Lennie

Influential Factors
Dan Cody
-Gatsby's Mentor
-Shows Gatsby what life can be like with money
-Influenced the transformation from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby
"James Gatz- that was really, or at least legally his name. He changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career-... and informed Cody that a wind might catch him and break him up in half an hour."
-Page 94 (Old Book)
Of Mice and Men
Death of a Salesman
Key Concepts of the American Dream

- Working Business Man
-Home with a white picket fence
-Suit and Tie
-Wife and Kids
-Female is a Homemaker
-Happy Successful Life

What is Your American Dream?
Write down what YOUR American Dream looks like. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Jordan Baker
- Wants to represent "new women" in the 1920's
- Very strong and independent
- Dream of furthering her professional golfing career
- Means of achieving this dream are corrupt as she cheats in golf tournaments
Quote #1
Method's of Achieving the American Dream
Is Gatsby great? Does his greatness evolve or diminish throughout the novel?
Gains wealth through illegal activities
Works the System
Is the American Dream worth pursuing today? Do you think a material-based dream is easier to obtain than a faith-base dream?
Works their way up through the system
Working hard in a business class job
Are Gatsby's feeling towards Daisy love or obsession? Is his dream worth while in regards to this?
Gatsby has Daisy now, no longer needs to reach towards the light
He worked so hard to win Daisy back, and now that he has her he realizes that the anticipation was better then the reward
"I've got a piece of the American Dream. I don't have a house, but I do have a new chandelier. Now I just have to build a house around it."
-Jarod Kintz
Gatsby died thinking he was very close to achieving his dream
In reality, his chance of attaining his dream had long passed
Gatsby believes in the green light, which is a symbol for Daisy and his hopes for the future
We will never achieve our dreams, but we will continue to strive for it
"Quotes About American Dream." (61 Quotes). Web. 16 Apr. 2015. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/american-dream
A Streetcar Named Desire
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takes place in New Orleans during the 1940's
Stanley and Stella believe that the American Dream is attained through hard work
Blanche believes it is attained through social status
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The Valley of Ashes
A vast wasteland filled with garbage, dirt, and smoke.
It represents the people who are poor and live outside the pleasures and brightness of life.
This valley symbolizes the moral decay of the newly rich who indulge themselves, disregarding all others and anything that interferes in their pleasure.
George is one person who lives in the Valley of Ashes and is trapped, unable to overcome his struggles.
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Eyes of T. J. Eckleburg
The eyes symbolize the loss of spiritual values in America.
The billboard was erected to promote the business of an optometrist in Queens borough – the eyes symbolize the growing commercialism of America
For people like Tom Buchanan, a man's success is measured by how much wealth they possess, not by morals and character.
Like the billboard, spirituality and the old visions of America are disregarded.
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