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The Price of the American Dream

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book reviews
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  1. Introduction
  2. Her luster: A life imbued in carelessness
  3. The unbelievable extent to which materialism is pursued
  4. The American dream swallowed wholeheartedly
  5. Gatsby's purpose: Ultimately empty
  6. Conclusion
  7. Work cited

The Great Gatsby relates Nick Carraway's experiences with a disillusioned assortment of wealthy individuals following his move to West Egg, the "less fashionable" counterpart to East egg, the home of antiquated affluence (5). In this harsh region of unlikely opposites, the 1915 Yale graduate encounters Tom Buchanan, a rich W.A.S.P who contently lives with a prideful lack of conscience; Daisy, his flighty wife; Jordan Baker, a low-down golfing champion; and, most importantly, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, who possesses a talented "gift for hope," which ultimately leads to his destruction. Through these characters, Fitzgerald criticizes the American Dream, which is founded on the material principle of wealth instead of inner success. The disastrous effects of such an aspiration in life are shown to come at a heavy cost to the individual, demanding for remuneration the loss of essence, worth, and substance- all the distinctive features which make us unique, significant, and human.

[...] The American dream, the possession of such uninhibited wealth, purchases immunity from social punishment for these disgusting traits and further propels them into the realm of favorable qualities to the public in that they are viewed as a benchmark of wealthy behaviors. When potential is seen as a monetary measurement, as in the American dream, life becomes utterly without consequence, meaning, and potential. Tom was once a skilled football player and maybe if he didn't have the pride of the W.A.S.P. [...]


[...] She is desensitized to her emotions, like her actions don't matter one way or the other, which they don't in her perspective because her extreme wealth takes the sting out of the mistake. "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy they 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 writes of the Buchanans (170). [...]

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