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A comparison of swede and gatsby in living the american dream

He then gets killed after being tangled up with them. We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. What is the American Dream?

We're using this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, so using page numbers would only work for students with our copy of the book. To find a quotation we cite via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it Paragraph 1-50: The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of race, class, gender, or nationality, can be successful in America read: The American Dream thus presents a pretty rosy view of American society that ignores problems like systemic racism and misogyny, xenophobia, tax evasion or state tax avoidance, and income inequality.

It also presumes a myth of class equality, when the reality is America has a pretty well-developed class hierarchy. However, this rapid economic growth was built on a bubble which popped in 1929.

This is relevant, since the 1920s is presented as a time of hollow decadence among the wealthy, as evidenced especially by the parties in Chapters 2 and 3. And as we mentioned above, the 1920s were a particularly tense time in America.

We also meet George and Myrtle Wilson in Chapter 2both working class people who are working to improve their lot in life, George through his work, and Myrtle through her affair with Tom Buchanan.

Despite everything he owns, including fantastic amounts of money and an over-the-top mansion, for Gatsby, Daisy is the ultimate status symbol. So in Chapter 5when Daisy and Gatsby reunite and begin an affair, it seems like Gatsby could, in fact, achieve his goal. However, in Chapters 7 and 8everything comes crashing down: In short, things do not turn out well for our dreamers in the novel!

This novel is just one very large burst bubble. Key American Dream Quotes In this section we analyze some of the most important quotes that relate to the American Dream in the book.

But I didn't call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone--he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. You can read more about this in our post all about the green light.

  • In short, things do not turn out well for our dreamers in the novel!
  • But still, he finds something to admire in how Gatsby still hoped for a better life, and constantly reached out toward that brighter future;
  • This observation suggests an American identity that is determined by birthplace, and that within the American identity there are smaller, inescapable points of identification;
  • So instead, Gatsby turned to crime after the war to quickly gain a ton of money.

Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money.

The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

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A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds and by more cheerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the tragic eyes and short upper lips of south-eastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby's splendid car was included in their somber holiday.

As we crossed Blackwell's Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish Negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry. This moment has all the classic elements of the American Dream — economic possibility, racial and religious diversity, a carefree attitude. However, this rosy view eventually gets undermined by the tragic events later in the novel.

His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy's white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.

So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star.

Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete. Instead, she stays with Tom Buchanan, despite her feelings for Gatsby. Thus when Gatsby fails to win over Daisy, he also fails to achieve his version of the American Dream. This is why so many people read the novel as a somber or pessimistic take on the American Dream, rather than an optimistic one.

Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked 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 that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

But still, he finds something to admire in how Gatsby still hoped for a better life, and constantly reached out toward that brighter future. Analyzing Characters Through the American Dream An analysis of the characters in terms of the American Dream usually leads to a pretty cynical take on the American Dream.

So instead he turns to crime, and only then does he manage to achieve his desired wealth. George and Myrtle Wilson This couple also represents people aiming at the dream — George owns his own shop and is doing his best to get business, though is increasingly worn down by the harsh demands of his life, while Myrtle chases after wealth and status through an affair with Tom.

So neither character is on the upward trajectory that the American Dream promises, at least during the novel. And on top of that they are fabulously wealthy? The American Dream certainly is not alive and well for the poor Wilsons. But what about the other major characters, especially the ones born with money?

What is their relationship to the American Dream? Perhaps because of this, they seem to directly antagonize the dream — Daisy by refusing Gatsby, and Tom by helping to drag the Wilsons into tragedy. In other words, income inequality and the vastly different starts in life the characters have strongly affected their outcomes. This, of course, is tragic and antithetical to the idea of the American Dream, which claims that class should be irrelevant and anyone can rise to the top.

I'd never understood before. It was full of money--that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it. High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl. But Daisy, of course, is only human — flawed, flighty, and ultimately unable to embody the a comparison of swede and gatsby in living the american dream fantasy Gatsby projects onto her. So this, in turn, means that the American Dream itself is just a fantasy, a concept too flimsy to actually hold weight, especially in the fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world of 1920s America.

But consider the fact that Daisy was already born into the highest level of American society. The expectation placed on her, as a wealthy woman, was never to pursue something greater, but simply to maintain her status. In contrast, Myrtle, aside from Gatsby, seems to be the most ambitiously in pursuit of getting more than she was given in life.

She parlays her affair with Tom into an apartment, nice clothes, and parties, and seems to revel in her newfound status. But of course, she is knocked down the hardest, killed for her involvement with the Buchanans, and specifically for wrongfully assuming she had value to them. Considering that Gatsby did have a chance to leave New York and distance himself from the unfolding tragedy, but Myrtle was the first to be killed, you could argue the novel presents an even bleaker view of the American Dream where women are concerned.

The American Dream as shown in Gatsby becomes even more pessimistic through the lens of the female characters.

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Focusing the lens on the women is predictably depressing. Now let's work through some of the more frequently brought up subjects for discussion. Was Gatsby's dream worth it? Was all the work, time, and patience worth it for him?

Gatsby lost everything, not to mention the Wilsons got caught up in the tragedy and ended up dead! In other words, Gatsby has a larger-than-life persona and he never would have been content to remain in North Dakota to be poor farmers like his parents.

Even if he ends up living a shorter life, he certainly lived a full one full of adventure. In fact, it seems Jay lived several lives in the space of just half a normal lifespan. How does Fitzgerald examine this issue of deferred dreams? What do you think are the effects of postponing our dreams? How can you apply this lesson to your own life? Apparently, dreams deferred are dreams doomed to fail. Any prompt like this one which has a section of more personal reflection gives you freedom to tie in your own experiences and point of view, so be thoughtful and think of good examples from your own life!

Explain how the novel does or does not demonstrate the death of the American Dream. What does the novel offer about American identity? In this prompt, another one that zeroes in on the dead or dying American Dream, you could discuss how the destruction of three lives Gatsby, George, Myrtle and the cynical portrayal of the old money crowd illustrates a dead, or dying American Dream. After all, if the characters who dream end up dead, and the ones who were born into life with money and privilege get to keep it without consequence, is there any room at all for the idea that less-privileged people can work their way up?

This observation suggests an American identity that is determined by birthplace, and that within the American identity there are smaller, inescapable points of identification. Furthermore, for those in the novel not born into money, the American identity seems to be about striving to end up with more wealth and status. But in terms of the portrayal of the old money set, particularly Daisy, Tom, and Jordan, the novel presents a segment of American society that is essentially aristocratic — you have to be born into it.

In that regard, too, the novel presents a fractured American identity, with different lives possible based on how much money you are born with. In short, I think the novel disrupts the idea of a unified American identity or American dream, by instead presenting a tragic, fractured, and rigid American society, one that is divided based on both geographic location and social class.

Most would consider dreams to be positive motivators to achieve success, but the characters in the novel often take their dreams of ideal lives too far. Explain how characters' American Dreams cause them to have pain when they could have been content with more modest ambitions.

Gatsby is an obvious choice here — his pursuit of money and status, particularly through Daisy, leads him to ruin. In a sense, she seems to be living her ideal life in her affair with Tom — she has a fancy NYC apartment, hosts parties, and gets to a comparison of swede and gatsby in living the american dream sophisticated — but these pleasures end up gravely hurting George, and of course her association with Tom Buchanan gets her killed.

The Great Gatsby is, among other things, a sobering and even ominous commentary on the dark side of the American dream. Discuss this theme, incorporating the conflicts of East Egg vs. West Egg and old money vs. What does the American dream mean to Gatsby? What did the American Dream mean to Fitzgerald? How does morality fit into achieving the American dream? In other words, you should discuss how the Great Gatsby seems to turn the idea of the American Dream as described in the quote on its head: So instead, Gatsby turned to crime after the war to quickly gain a ton of money.