Cloud the Hero of This Ugly Paradise
The American Dream is “crazy, crazy as hell,” (Fitzgerald, 178).
Ah, the American Dream. Our hearts flutter at the sound of these words; they soar with wings and reach a complete chimerical state. The American populace maintains a naive mindset because they devour the belief that people can strongly rise from the ashes that society has placed; and surpass any obstacles that arise. They have spoon fed the “rags to riches” cliche, and have led this ideology that people can attain their fullest stature, fueled by their greatest desires. They have directed a principle that guides us with ease and direction; just as screeching cattle are led to the slaughterhouse, overjoyed with enthusiasm, until the rusty blades kiss their necks.
We are, ultimately, led to an immense catastrophe.
Nonetheless, the American Dream is an uplifting fairy tale, a fable that has held through many generations. It is one which will leave you feeling like you can take on the entire world. And in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald implements this very ideal by embellishing the fact that the American Dream is nothing more than a facade; a false perception that deceives us; only to lead us to a calamity. Through his portrayal of the novel’s events, he accentuates the eager consumption of the American Dream, and the abrupt eradication of the people’s morals.
Being rich is much like vomiting; it is an incessant flow of glistening jewels and green cash.
The rich “gleam like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor,” (150). And, when Tom and Nick pass through the Valley of Ashes, Nick is astonished at how the “desolate area of land,” (23) is perceived by the upper class. Fitzgerald uses the Doctor T.J. Eckelburg billboard to serve as a symbolized tool to the reader. The eyes of the billboard serve as an over sighting of the lower class; the neglect that they receive from the rich, and the disdain that they endure from the wealthy. “The passengers on waiting trains can [even] stare at the dismal scene, [of] [the] ash-gray” (23) people. Here, the author exemplifies how the wealthy maintain their quiescent expressions, completely absorbed in their own endeavors, not revealing a hint of sympathy. He illuminates the distinct detachment of the two social classes; and how the wealthy tend to “[forget] the ash-gray people, and [simply] move along,” (23).
When a man has a woman, he is thrilled. But, when he has two, he is forever ecstatic.
So, when Tom wants Nick to “meet [his] girl,” (25), Nick politely obliges. Well, Tom certainly does not mean his wife; he’s talking about Myrtle—his mistress. Tom is married to Daisy. Myrtle is married to Mr. Wilson. And yet, Tom and Myrtle feel it’s “perfectly divine,” (101) to engage in an extra-marital affair. Because Tom possesses a substantial amount of money, the reader can assume he feels he has the utmost power to double time two women. In his mind, two is better than one. Upon that, Tom and Myrtle buy an “apartment on the top floor” and “disappear…into a small bedroom,” (29). Whoa, that’s not good. So, not only is Tom engaging in intimate love with someone other than his wife, he is using her too. Tom doesn’t “give a damn,” (177) about Myrtle. He “broke her nose with an open hand” (37). That is certainly not love. Myrtle is a mere toy; only being trifled with when desired. In essence, she is Tom’s last resort, only being caressed when craved. As a result, Tom’s ethics continue to be tarnished because he is willing to sacrifice his morals in order to attain his ultimate state of content, his Dream state.
An “accidental course with an accidental burden,” (162), is the result of a misfortunate murder.
George Wilson is fairly shy, innocent, and “so dumb, he doesn’t even know he’s alive,” (26). But, when the death of his wife transpires, he transforms into a “sort of crazy,” (160) sociopath “madman” (167). He seeks revenge, and he soon receives his dying wish—literally. As he stealthily approaches Gatsby’s home, the sudden two shots that ring death are conducted. “The holocaust was complete,” (162). Where did Mr. Wilson go wrong? Mr. Wilson is blinded, blinded by the false light that illuminates a great sense of security, of the ultimate American Dream. And when that is suddenly taken away from him; he becomes severely unstable. Mr. Wilson is stripped down, and is left defenseless. His American Dream is completely shattered. His wife is brutally murdered before his very eyes, and this leads him to a persistent manhunt for Gatsby. He is forced to adapt to an unforeseen circumstance, and is left performing disastrous actions as a result.
Throughout the novel, the reader sees the world through the eyes of Fitzgerald himself. He vividly describes the exuberant and ostentatious lifestyles that people live, and the incessant partying that people could not get enough of. But, he also unveils the “distortion of [truth],” (176), that illuminates throughout the novel, the curtain of concealment that people continue to be sheltered in; and even the false, poker faces that consistently circulate during the era. It’s literally a makeup for deception. And this is how Fitzgerald accentuates this vital message that is consistently sent to the readers. Fitzgerald embellishes the fact that the American dream is nothing more than a chimera, an illusion of people’s aspired pursuits, only to lead them grief-stricken in the end. Regardless, the American Dream continues to be an ingrained philosophy in society. It can satisfy the hungriest minds, the most voracious child. It is a false oasis, a mirage that consistently glistens hope. But, how can this paradise be so enticing, when it only averts the everlasting expedition itself?