English Literature Term Papers

In his article “Rethinking the American Dream,” David Kamp also states that even though initially the American dream meant an opportunity for everyone, today it is more about the fame and fortune for the upper classes.In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald manages to grasp how the ideology of the American dream operated in the American society in the 1920s; at the same time, the book tells a universal story of human quest and desire.The ideology of the American dream values competition, not cooperation as a way of achieving personal goals.

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According to Edwin Fussel, reason why Fitzgerald’s novel is a masterpiece is “an uncanny ability to juxtapose the sensibilities implied by the phrase ‘romantic wonder’ with the most conspicuous, as well as the most deeply significant, phenomena of American civilization, and to derive from that juxtaposition a moral critique of human nature.” Therefore, The Great Gatsby can be understood as the story of the protagonist’s quest for such a romantic wonder.

According to Fussel, the basic plot of the writer is always a story of quest and seduction.

For Calvinists, which believed in predestination, success in business was a sign that one is chosen and saved by God.

As Protestant ideals profoundly influence the American culture, it also characterized by a belief that the acquisition of wealth has no other goal than simply acquisition of wealth.

Their “high life” promises to satisfy the aesthetic needs of the young boy from unprivileged backgrounds.

The belief that the life of the upper classes is nothing but joy and idyl is reflected in Gatsby’s vision of Daisy and Jordan’s past.

According to Marius Bewey, the key topic of The Great Gatsby is the withering of the American dream.

As Bewley states, “it can be shown that The Great Gatsby offers some of the severest and closest criticism of the American dream that our literature affords.” The novel is not a “pastoral documentary of the Jazz Age,” as Bewly puts it, but a text which analyses the particular features of the American experience in a highly artistic form.

Another crucial aspect of the American dream is that it implies that financial success is a result of the hard work and nothing else.

From this perspective, if one works hard enough, one will achieve the high socioeconomic status; the poor simply do not work hard enough.

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