In the book The Great Gatsby by F
In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many important themes are presented. However, there is one that is most important when analyzing this book. The “American Dream” is a corrupt system is proved periodically throughout Fitzgerald’s work.
In the opening of The Great Gatsby it is evident that the pursuit of happiness of the characters cannot be fulfilled in the sense of financial status. Money and occupation is valued too highly. After “hovering restlessly” Tom Buchanan asks Nick about his occupation, revealing his financial status and validity. Tom bases his judgments about Nick on where he works, when Nick responded with “I’m a bond man”, Tom arrogantly asks “with who?” so that Nick would reveal his validity in being friends with the Buchanan’s based on occupation and money (Fitzgerald, 10). Tom does not seem to care about what really matters, getting to know Nick for who he is, but instead passing judgements on that “He has never heard of them.” Despite how much money Daisy and Tom Buchanan have, they still face common issues in marriage and are not happy solely based on money as the “American Dream” would suggest is the case. Early in the work Daisy complains about marrying Tom by saying, “That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of a…” it is secure to infer that Daisy, when she married Tom, was only worried about his money and not their compatibility or his personality (12). Daisy regrets marrying Tom because she was too worried about if he could provide financially for her and not emotionally when they first met. Daisy and Tom’s relationship illustrates that no matter what social class you are a part of, problems still exist, and money cannot always fix those problems or heal a relationship. Although Tom has everything he needs, according to the “American Dream” he is still not satisfied with his life and relationship with Daisy because “He’s got some woman in New York. Fitzgerald introduces that the “American Dream” is a corrupt system to emphasize the immorality of what the dream can lead to, when money is the most critical aspect of life. Tom is a perfect example of his moral dwindling. Tom judges new people based on occupation rather than character and he has an affair on his wife instead of trying to fix their marriage. Fitzgerald proves that the “American Dream” is corrupt when Tom concludes that the American dream doesn’t need honest work or dedication, because Tom does not work hard for his money or social relevance. Tom does not understand what working hard for your money is all about, he inherited all his wealth. As the plot advances so does the development of the theme.
In the middle chapters in The Great Gatsby logical to determine that the least amount of wealth the higher your morals will be. Previously Tom has proved that being wealthy can get in the way of morals. However, the opposite is also true. Nick is the least wealthy out of their social group, but nick also has the highest set of morals. By stating “He is one of the few honest people that he will ever know” he acknowledges that the people he is surrounded by have been corrupted by their success and wealth instead of focusing on morality (59). Fitzgerald includes this detail that Nick is an honest man because it builds Nick’s integrity throughout the work and focuses on the fact that he is an ethical man and because he is not consumed by success he can focus on being honest and true. Fitzgerald also emphasizes that Nick is a reliable narrator and that is why he chose Nick to be the narrator, because he has the most fair and noble judgements. Gatsby’s wealth also gets in the way of leading a happy life. Despite having “Men and girls coming and going like moths” and an infinite amount of money all he ever wanted was Daisy (39). Money never filled Gatsby’s void and that is why he pursued Daisy more than anything else. The fact that no matter how much money Gatsby had acquired he was still missing something asserts that the “American Dream” is corrupt and should not be considered too valuable. As for Gatsby, he reached the “American Dream” and still didn’t feel whole. So, the “American Dream” is not what all Americans aspire to acquire, despite what they may think. Gatsby at one point believed that wealth was the most important, until he reached that aspect in life. Gatsby is at the prime of his life “… a year or two over thirty…” and has accomplished the “American Dream” but is lifeless inside (48). Gatsby tries to throw big parties to have a more exciting life and to attract Daisy because he is wanting more to his life than money. Fitzgerald portrays the “American Dream” as corrupt because it really is a corrupt system. No matter how much money or how many physical aspects of life have been accomplished, true joy comes from relationships like Gatsby is yearning for. Gatsby presents himself as a great man, but loved by so many, but truthfully, he is lonely and wants more from life than what he has.
The end of The Great Gatsby ends solemnly, regretful, corrupt, and reminiscent all because the corrupt “American Dream” was the goal and not what should be the real “American Dream”. The real “American Dream” cannot be defined the same by everybody but is directed around happiness and what makes a person happy. That is what should matter, and Gatsby realizes that after he chases the “American Dream” and still wants so much more to fill his emptiness. Nick confronts Gatsby about firing all his servants and Gatsby responds with “He wanted somebody who wouldn’t gossip.” Gatsby’s wealth creates a false sense of security surrounding his life (114). Just because he doesn’t want to be gossiped about he can and will fire those servants because he can afford to do so, so that his reputation is not dependent upon what his servants say about him. Although, Gatsby lead a successful life in the manner of chasing the “American Dream” he did not lead a very successful life in any other aspect. Many of Gatsby’s relationships failed with friends and significant others. Gatsby did not leave a legacy and that is believed to be because he focused so much of his life on the value money has to him. Gatsby’s own friends did not show at the funeral even when asked to come. One of Gatsby’s friends “Called up about a pair of shoes he left at Gatsby’s house” instead of giving his condolences and attending the funeral (169). Gatsby’s friend was more concerned about his shoes than he was about Gatsby’s life. Gatsby’s life was virtually meaningless because he never really had a deep connection with anyone, so he could not leave a positive impact on their life. Gatsby was too concerned about material objects in life and not valuable relationships. The most solemn affect the chasing the corrupt “American Dream” has is that Nick, “Asked the minister to wait for half an hour. But it wasn’t any use. Nobody came”(174). Fitzgerald includes this quote to emphasize that no matter how “great” someone’s life may be or how successful they are in a financial view, isn’t what is valued by anyone. What is valued is a moral life, the legacy left, and pursuit of happiness, whatever that may be to an individual. Fitzgerald suggests that the “Pursuit of Happiness” is a more valuable “American Dream” than the corrupt “American Dream” because other than financial status, what is gained when trying to achieve status compared to what is achieved when pursuing happiness.
Throughout Fitzgerald’s work he emphasizes the corruption of the known “American Dream”. Through inferring and analyzing Fitzgerald’s main points he developed that chasing the “American Dream” causes greed, jealousy, voids, and false senses of security among many situations and people. Fitzgerald also makes it very clear that the “American Dream” cannot truly represent everyone’s dreams and goals because who defines what the dream of life is all about.