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The American Dream Turned Nightmare in the Great Gatsby

There are many characters in The Great Gatsby whose human values have been corrupted due to corrupting influence of money. The attraction of the American dream influenced the pursuit of wealth, which corrupts the character’s morality. The characters believe the American dream is nothing else than glamorous material wealth, which in essence will set them apart from the rest of lower-class society. The pursuit of this American dream produced nothing but problems for the characters. The American dream of happiness and individualism has turned into the mere pursuit of wealth.

The Great Gatsby is a perfect example of how the pursuit of wealth corrupts the morality of the characters. The American dream is so attractive to the characters, that they will do anything in order to achieve this vast wealth. Jay Gatsby believes he must become wealthy in order for him to impress his love and ex-fiancé, Daisy Buchanan. Since he has been in the lower class when he first met Daisy, Daisy didn’t want to commit to a relationship, yet still vowed to wait until Gatsby was discharged from the army before marrying him. After the war, Gatsby’s moral values had changed and he became involved in the bootlegging of alcohol in order to earn the money needed to impress Daisy. He lied to Daisy about how he earned his wealth and become known as dishonest.

Myrtle’s values are also corrupted through the pursuit of wealth. She marries George, a poor man in the valley of ashes where the quality of life is substandard. She believes that George “is a gentleman, she thought he knew something about breeding but he wasn’t fit to lick her shoe”(39). Myrtle is upset at her husband’s “constant infidelity”(17). She believes she can get away from a lower-class lifestyle by having a romantic relationship with a citizen of the East Egg. Myrtle begins an affair with Tom in order to feel separated from her lower-class affiliates. Myrtle succumbs to disloyalty in order to pursue a wealthy lifestyle. Daisy is dishonest and disloyal in her pursuit of wealth. She promises Gatsby that her love for him is unconditional and that she will wait for him to come back from the war to marry him. Instead, she decides to marry Tom Buchanan while Gatsby is away at war. She marries Tom because of his looks and his established upper-class lifestyle but “never loved him”(116). In doing this, she crushes Gatsby’s heart. Tom and Daisy’s relationship is very shallow which she believes comes with “marrying such a brute of a man”(16).

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The characters believe the American dream is nothing else than glamorous material wealth, which in essence will set them apart from the rest of the lower class society. Gatsby believes that if he becomes “successful”, Daisy will fall back in love with him. When Gatsby gains success he brags to Daisy about how rich he’s gotten, he even has “men in England who buy him clothes and sends him a selection”(93). Gatsby is very proud of his wealth and shows off his house which “catches the light very well “(95). Gatsby is so hung up on winning back Daisy’s love; he doesn’t care if Daisy is only interested in his material wealth. Gatsby overlooks the reason why Daisy is interested in him once again because he will do anything to be with her even throwing “lavish parties”(19).

Jordan Bakers’ image and values are based around the material wealth others have. She believes that when you are in possession of wealth you can be rude and inconsiderate. “Jordan is very snobby”(13) and she uses her “pleasing contemptuous”(19) looks in order to get away with things (cheating to win a golf tournament) that will make her wealthy. As long as she stays wealthy she is able to treat people the way she pleases which is her way of setting her apart from the rest of society. Daisy believes that love can not occur if not accompanied by a solid financial background. Daisy once loved Gatsby but her urge for material wealth was much greater than her love for him.

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The American Dream Turned Nightmare in the Great Gatsby. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/the-american-dream-turned-nightmare-in-the-great-gatsby/