Fitzgerald’s Satire on the American Dream in the Great Gatsby
In order to support this message, Fitzgerald presents the original aspects of the American Dream along with its modern face to show that the once impervious dream is now lost forever to the American people. This world takes a look at the fact that the rich and powerful were able to get away with whatever they want and simple ideals were forgotten. As the average American in the 1920s became more captivated with wealth and everyday luxuries, some began satirizing the hypocrisy and greed they observed. Fitzgerald conveys these observations with the general hopelessness of the book.
Gatsby is one who is most hopeful to the American Dream, he embodies the belief in it, but he soon finds out that the very wealth and recognition that he so coveted was what caused the destruction all his beliefs. F. Scott Fitzgerald credits the destruction of the American Dream to wealth, privilege, and the lack of humanity that those aspects create. Money is clearly identified as the main culprit in the dream’s death. It becomes easily entangled with hope and success and replacing their positions in the American Dream with materialism.
This is shown through Gatsby’s use of illegal practices and underground connections to make money. His lavish parties, huge mansion, and giant collection of clothing all represent his corruption. His use of status and privilege is demonstrated when his traffic violation is ignored by the police officer. But the worst qualities of the dream’s modern face are evident in Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who live without any hopes or regrets because the foundation of their character is money and wealth. Nick describes the Buchanan’s as “careless people” who can retreat back into their money.
Through the tragic story of Jay Gatsby and his failed attempt to reach his dream, F. Scott Fitzgerald also describes the tragic death of American values. The characters in The Great Gatsby are mere examples of Fitzgerald’s message- the old American dream and all of its pure ideals have been replaced with money, greed, and materialism. Nick Carraway conveys this message as an outsider, an honest man from the mid-west who witnessed the whole affair as an observer. Fitzgerald shows us the life and death of the old American Dream.