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The American Dream in
Transcript of The American Dream in
“If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay," said Gatsby. "You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock." Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. 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. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”
Gatsby's Inevitable Death
“But he didn’t despise himself and it didn’t turn out as he had imagined. He had intended, probably, to take what he could and go – but now he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail. He knew that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn’t realize just how extraordinary a ‘nice’ girl could be. She vanished into her house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby – nothing. He felt married to her, that was all”
In light of the title of the novel and with reference to the American Dream, is Gatsby great? Does his 'greatness' evolve or diminish over the course of the novel?
The American Dream in
The Great Gatsby
Background on American Dream
Definition of American Dream
What is the "
"? Outline in detail this philosophical notation 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 American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. The American dream is achieved through sacrifice, risk-taking and hard work, not by chance.
What is your definition of success? How does one go about attaining it?
The American Dream
The United States
Examples of the American Dream
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Religious minorities escaped persecution in Europe to safely practice in the New World
ex. Puritans, Quakers, Shakers, Calvinists
For them, America represented freedom, spiritual renewal, and material happiness
The American Dream is about hope and the potential for change
Values for the dream had changed from equality to the desire for materialistic goods.
Many dreams focused on owning a large area of land with a big house, which would create happiness
For many people the changed dream was out of reach for them, more taunting than inspiring
Gatsby's Vanishing Dream
Why start over?
Corruption in Europe
Ability to govern new lands
Sense of hope and faith
American Dream in the 1920s
“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…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."
New wave of immigrants entranced by the allure of the American Dream
Dream became less about being the best you can be
Now an idea of material acquisition driven by greed
Why might a material-based dream be more difficult to attain than a faith-based dream?
A concept of the American Dream is to have unity among friends and family.
To take care of ones neighbor and friends was the center for Puritan civilization.
Another concept is to have freedom.
Belief in public education comes from the Puritans, who founded the first school in America (Boston Latin School)- learn to read so they could read the Bible their selves .
In light of the fact that the American Dream and Gatsby's love for Daisy coincide with one another, do you believe that Gatsby's Dream was ever realistic? Also, had he survived, do you think that his pursuit of the American Dream would ever stop?
In relation to Gatsby's experience, do you believe the American Dream to be a negative notion for all? Is it worth pursuing?
Immigrants to America
Around 25 million immigrants to America between 1880-1920
Mainly coming from Southern and Eastern Europe
Employment opportunities created by World War I brought upon the "Great Migration"
One third of the Jewish population in Eastern Europe immigrated because of changing political and economic conditions (approximately 3 million).
They came to find new opportunities
The idea of this dream had made people excited at a chance to live a successful life
Was raised in her early years by her grandmother, in Mississippi, while her mom looked for work.
At the age of 6 she moved in with her mother,in Milwaukee.
From 9-13 years old she was molested by male relatives.
She tired to run away, being sent to juvenile detention home.
In her teen years she got pregnant, the baby boy died shortly after birth.
Her life turned around when she moved in with her father in Tennessee.
She brought her grades up and became an honour student, winning a full scholarship to Tennessee State University.
At 17, she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant, was offered an on-air job at WVOL.
January 1984, became the host for AM Chicago.
In September 1985 it was renamed
"The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Where is she now
One of the first African American woman to become a billionaire.
Has a 42-acre ocean-view estate in Montecito, California, just south of Santa Barbara, also owns homes in another six states and the island of Antigua.
She is called "The most influential woman in the world."
Barack Obama awarded Oprah Winfrey the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Failure of the Dream
He was in love with a memory, he wanted to live in the past
When he first reunites with Daisy at Nicks house he acts like a "foolish boy"
In his mind he goes back to when they were young and he starts acting as if he were still a young solider
He want their relationship to be the same as it had been years ago
"You can't repeat the past" Nick tells Gatsby. "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can."
Gatsby in the past
"Rags to riches", James Gatz had been a unwealthy lower class man, he worked hard and made a wealthy man out of himself
James Gatz became Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man with a big house
Gatsby believed in the American Dream, for him it was to become rich and find his love from his younger days
-Gatsby and the Dream ultimately die in the pool, along with all the fallen leaves.
-Gatsby's entire life was devoted to the American Dream with the hopes of eventually becoming an appropriate suitor for Daisy.
-Gatsby's Dream was also a double edged sword, as it was the result of his financial success, but also his romantic downfall with Daisy and his eventual death.
-Gatsby's Dream was left unfinished upon his death.
Are Gatsby's feelings toward Daisy love or obsession? Is his dream worthwhile in regards to this?
-Once Gatsby had Daisy and one over her affection, it seems as though the American Dream is insignificant.
-In this respect, it seems as though the "dream" is simply not enough in America. Also exemplified is how greed eventually takes over a person and they are no longer capable of recognizing the benefit in something, or see a silver lining.
-Gatsby experiences this with Daisy. He pursued his American Dream and was rewarded with substantial wealth and despite living in the same vicinity as Daisy as well as being friends, it was not enough to satisfy is greed.
-Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald predicts the eventual downfall of America on account of American's expecting more and more, despite being exceedingly blessed. Fitzgerald also recognizes the peculiar practice of longing for something up until one possess this object. In this sense, all dreams, including the American Dream are insignificant, as once achieved, the value which was once placed so heavily upon the goal, is no longer there.
Why Does Gatsby Forget his Dream?
Gatsby represents the changing society. Fitzgerald uses the novel to exemplify how the American dream has changed and is corrupting America like it did Gatsby. Wealth and his desire for a great love left him a criminal. The values and morals of Americans were changing during the roaring twenties, resulting in a dream which resulted in a consistent pursuit and was left unfinished.
-When Daisy made the decision not to leave the security of her husband, Tom Buchanan, this is where Gatsby's dream dies, and despite his wealth and success, Gatsby feels as though he has failed in his pursuit of the American Dream.
-A part of Gatsby, dies with Daisy's rejection of Gatsby. Even before his physical death, Fitzgerald exemplifies how without hope and dreams, a person will not be able to find the will to survive.
-Through this, Fitzgerald exemplifies that even though it was Gatsby's pursuit of the American Dream which brought upon his death. However, Fitzgerald also shows the opposing side which is the necessity of dreams in the lives of people because without them, people would have nothing to live for.
-This is shown through the order of events of the novel. Once Daisy rejects Gatsby, Gatsby dies, implying that his death is inevitable because had he not of been murdered by George Wilson, his spirit would have died leaving Gatsby as a shell of a human being.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.
"Oprah Winfrey Biography." -- Academy of Achievement. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2014. from http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/win0bio-1
"Tracing of The American Dream Through American Literature." Http://www.orgsites.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Nov. 2014. from http://www.orgsites.com/de/amdreamtbap/
Gatsby's dream of being with Daisy again is expressed through the green light at the end of the dock.