Essay Example: The American Dream and Social Mobility in The Great Gatsby

Published: 2023-03-01
Essay Example: The American Dream and Social Mobility in The Great Gatsby
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American dream The Great Gatsby Character analysis F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2063 words
18 min read

The Great Gatsby appears to be a pessimistic story featuring the United States of America's dream as well as the individual characters that overcome their imperfect past to become socially recognized due to their wealth status. In the story, status could not be enough to enable one to be accommodated and form part of the high social class, which metaphorically referred to as the old money that led to bloodshed, such as the killing of Jay Gatsby. The story also appears as an irony in the sense that America perceives itself as a meritocracy country. In their meritocracy, they believe that anyone can be to the top regardless of gender, race, class, and nationality, with the mindset of hard work in the American dream that appears as one of the major themes in the story. The irony comes out in their belief on meritocracy since American society has ignored the other aspect of life that constitute individual success that is not limited to xenophobia, racism, tax evasion, misogyny, and income inequality.

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Also, the American dream in The Great Gatsby covers several chapters from chapters one to eight. Chapter one describes the background of world war two, where there was a significant gap between the rich and the poor. In chapter two, some characters are introduced, such as George and Wilson Myrtle. Both were wealthy people since they are working class, and they have enabled them to improve their life. Their life improvement appeared different since George is a visionary man working to improve his experience while Myrtle was due to an affair with Tom Buchanan. Gatsby's goal comes out in chapter four, whereby in the story, he aimed to win Daisy since he was already rich since he has a mansion, which later described in section six as the one who has achieved the American dream. The dream achievement is a foreshadowing of the idea going to be achieved by some of the characters in the ploy. Finally, the story in chapters seven and eight creates an environment of failure where the theme of isolation lies and deceits, as well as death, appears in the account since everything crashed down.

Barriers Besides Wealth Affecting Characters

One of the other themes affecting the characters in the story is love. There is an irony in the engagement between Tom and Daisy. This is because both of them came from wealthy families and also live in the fashionable East Egg, popularly known as the old money. Therefore they are supposed to live with one another happily due to sharing of the same background and values. Their love has been in despair since Tom has been in multiple affairs. Tom has also cheated on Daisy during the honeymoon making their marriage to be bored. Everybody thinks that their marriage will be a successful one since they are developed people since they came from the East Egg 'Everybody thinks so-the most advanced people' (Fitzgerald, 20). The lying and cheating have caused the love between the couples to be restless and unhappy. The author has applied the theme of love to compare the bond that exists between the class and respect such that in this case, the quality is much stronger than the romance, which is opposite of how it is supposed to be.

Also, another love appears between Myrtle and George. Their love seems to be different from that of Tom and Daisy. This is because Myrtle has crazy love towards his husband way back before the love soured 'You were crazy about him for a while,' said Catherine (Fitzgerald 38). According to Myrtle, she was ready to leave George while Daisy was not ready to go to Tom. There love has been fallen by misfortunes, and some of the time, George locks her wife in the room after figuring out that she was having an affair outside marriage.

The theme of love in the story is so weak since it is not based on real love, but it is attached to other material wealth and origin. This is because the love between Daisy and Tom was attached to their background. This is because both came from the wealthy class what has connected them. Also, the love between George and Myrtle is related to material wealth since George was from a privileged group compared to Myrtle, something that brought them together. Therefore, the love did not go far due to the easily breakable barriers of choosing love based on material possession.

Is Paul Correct in Believing Money as Greatest Dividing Factor in the SocietyIn the ploy, Paul was obsessed with money-making him believe that money is going to solve all his problems which later leads to disappointment in his life. According to Paul, power is also within those people with money, and he keeps on humiliating those who possess little amount of money. He also hates the poor condition of their houses, and bathrooms as well as the simple clothes in which they wore in. Therefore Paul was not correct in believing that money is the single dividing factor among the members in society because of the following reasons; firstly, Paul did not think about the relationship between the hard work and money. The narrator in the story points out that there are other boys like Paul boys that started from the bottom of the ladder and still made up to the top to become kings such as the clerk. But Paul did not believe and rather instead continue putting himself in the state of the rich people. "Triumphs of these cash-boys" (Cather, 10).He also did not believe that the careful accumulation of money in piggybanks could make one move to the upper part of the world.

Paul also believes that some people are born poor, while others are rich. He even dismisses the point that the boundaries between the Africans and the Americans are fluid. The fluid is metaphorically used to represent a non-solid boundary that is connecting the two groups, which is easily breakable. This means that there is no permanent boundary that may limit an individual to live a life that he desires. Paul's idea of wealth is also an irony since he believed that he was destined for wealth, but in reality, he was not actually what he acts to be. At some points Paul declared that he was just born poor by mistake. Therefore, he decided to live a life he does not deserve to satisfy his desires due to his poor economy. He also tired the art such as listening to music but all in vain in that it did not bring him the kind of life he admired.

Paul imitated lifestyle in the ploy is a foreshadowing of what is going to happen to him in the end as he tries to live in a lifestyle below is social status. This is because due to greed for money, Paul later steals $1000 from the company he was employed due to the desire for him to live in an expensive lifestyle. Paul's statement on money being the most significant dividing factor in society is not true since he was the one obsessed with money since he failed to understand that his perception was the most significant contributor to his downfall.

What Do the Lives and Circumstances of Other Characters Examined in This Course Say about Paul's Conclusion

Paul is a pessimistic person about the life of the middle-class people, whereby he believes the life around as ordinary and of which he had never accepted. Paul admires living an expensive life that he does not want to acquire through hard work what has made him be a victim of circumstances. This is because his behavior has led him thrown out of school due to disrespect as well as refusing to do the classwork. His next move was stealing money from his employer and fled to New York City, where he has gone to live expensively with the wealth he cannot account for. Paul later commits suicide after he realized that his father was coming for him.

Paul's father in the story is a Pittsburg businessman and a widower too. The character of Paul s father appears to be a caring father since he has tried to bring up his daughters together with Paul in the absence of their mother. He also wished Paul to be earning it is own money and later finds him a job as an usher. Also, he represents Paul after stealing the money from his employer, but he failed to understand the problem his son was going through before it was too late. The narrator has used Paul's father to help create empathy in the story after Paul's death since he was the only son and also from a single parent. Therefore Paul's life failure was due to his father's negligence by failing to provide him a solution to his son's lost belief about money as a solution to a happy life. Therefore Paul's death is unfortunate since his father could have recognized his artistic talent and supported him to achieve his dream.

In the school, the teacher's characters appear as abusive since they attack Paul without mercy. "Which they did with such rancor and aggrievedness as evinced that this was not a usual case"(Cather, 1).The school failed in identifying the leading cause of the problem that is affecting Paul but instead turned against him, which appears as an irony. This is because the school is supposed to provide a conducive environment for the learners beyond what is taught in class. Therefore, the school contributed to the unsuccessful life of Paul that has led to him to fall in the circumstances such as stealing and suicide.

Upward Social Mobility Addressed by Authors from Outside the American Literary Tradition

Upward social mobility in other parts of the world comes in many forms, such either as education, income, and health. In this case, since upward social mobility is to be discussed, education has been used as the best tool that can be used to explain the meaning of upward social mobility in literature. This is because education can be used to move one from

One Stratum to another in a state whereby there are stratified societies. Through education, one can move from a low social class to a high level in society. In some cases, gaps may exist in the quality of education that affects the low-class people in society from prospering in school, but others surpass the challenges and still make it.

How Does "Small Fry" Approach the Notion of Social Advancement Compared to the Great Gatsby and "Paul's CaseBoth ''small fry" and "Paul's case share social advancement almost the same since there is the development of the theme of hate in both the stories. The petty clerk Nevyrazimov and Paul both have unsatisfactory social progress due to the hatred they have for themselves due to their living status (Chekhov, 1). In these stories, both the characters believe in life changes in other parts of the world since they do not think so on the advancement in their place of origin. Therefore their theme of hate comes out since both Paul and the petty clerk hates themselves as well as their situation, but they cannot do anything to change their lives, something that has led to negative social advancement.

In the Great Gatsby story, social advancement is based on classes. These classes are based on education, wealth, and the low level, which are the poor in society. There is a gap between the groups in that the wealthy individual, for example, the rich men, look for women from rich backgrounds where the theme of love as a social activity comes out on the Great Gatsby story. Due to such beliefs, marriages affected in that couples find it hard to leave one another due to the think that they came from the same place, such as the members of the old egg.

Social advancement in both the stories compared failed due to the belief on other factors other than the core issues which will be realistic in social progress. In Great, Gatsby's marriage was bond by money and origin sharing, especially for the members of the old egg. In the other two stories, Both Paul and Nevyrazimov believed a change in their status by imaginations as well as going outside of their country.

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