The Great Gatsby As A Incarnation Of The American Dream
Money can either save you or lead to your downfall. In the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald conveys the message that money doesn’t bring true happiness by illustrating the inability of even wealthy people to achieve said happiness. Money also plays a significant role in relationships. In the case of The Great Gatsby, money is the most integral part of the entire structure. Aspects such as relationships and morals aren’t as essential to the story. Fitzgerald explores The American Dream throughout the novel by telling us the story of Jay Gatsby. Money seems to be the solution to any problem that arises as to the novel proceeds.
The materialistic desire for wealth causes many conflicts, between either people that have the money or those who struggle financially. The conflict within the classes is illustrated for the reader in The Great Gatsby. The eagerness to move up to a new class is the root of the conflict, which is also known as The American Dream. Many interpret The Great Gatsby as the perfect portrayal of The American Dream. James Gatz was the son of unsuccessful farmers, therefore he didn’t start with any money-just hopes, and ambitions. Gatsby’s life story symbolizes The American Dream, he starts off as a poor farm boy who works his way up the ranks and gains wealth, the way which he gains it is unknown and mysterious to all. Gatsby never accepted his conditions at his younger age, as Nick explains Gatsby’s life, he states “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people– his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself.”(Fitzgerald, 98). Gatsby invented who he is; he started from the bottom and made it to the top. Gatsby has adopted the mindset that with enough money any goals can be achieved.
Fitzgerald forges his own world where money is the object of everyone’s desire. The characters, the setting, and the plot are very deeply concealed in capitalism that ends up eliminating each character in its own unique way. Even though everything has been achieved (wealth-wise), any of the characters will agree to grow upon their economic status. Any problem that arises just seems to be knocked off due to the fact that all the characters have money. After Nick meets Wolfshiem he has a series of questions for Gatsby, in the hope of some knowledge about Wolfshiem. While discussing Wolfshiem’s career Gatsby goes on to say “Meyer Wolfshiem? No, he’s a gambler… He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.”(Fitzgerald, 73) Match-fixing violates the rules of the game and often times the law. Wolfshiem managed to get away from the authorities due to his higher social standing and the wealth he has gained from his illegal business. If you are wealthy and have a good social status you can evade almost any threat directed towards you.
Although there are many similarities between the life experiences of Fitzgerald and Nick, Fitzgerald wasn’t born as wealthy as a household. The author can put himself in Nick’s shoes because of the similarities that they share. Nick isn’t in the same social class as Tom or Gatsby, so he is able to view things from a different perspective. There is also the lower class which includes Myrtle and Wilson. Social class is a large determining factor, in these characters, experiences build off from their social classes. Nick describes Tom and Daisy as “careless people” (179), who “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (Fitzgerald, 179) This description demonstrates how if one is superior to another in terms of social class, they can dive deep away into their money and wouldn’t be questioned about it.
Overall Fitzgerald spreads his message that money builds everything, without a solid foundation no building will stand. In terms of The Great Gatsby, the foundations are money, social class, and The American Dream. Money ends up being a huge motivator in the characters’ motives, relationships, and outcomes. For any conflict to be resolved money or social class have to be put aside. Capitalistic views don’t always achieve the desired outcomes, the actions you commit will continue to make a path that gets you to your goal.