The most dominant theme in The Great Gatsby is corruption of the American dream. As he analyzes the high society in the 1920’s, the author reveals that an American dream has been converted convoluted scheme of materialistic power. According to the author, the American dream is anchored on hard work, hope and perseverance. Every individual has a dream of a desired future. Jay Gatsby mind is dominated by the American dream that comes from past fantasy that later destroys him. This lack of control over his goal results to his downfall. Like any other activity, dreams face a myriad of challenges and barriers. The challenges may halt progression. The kind of barrier that impedes the achievement of dream notwithstanding, the method used to eliminate the barrier must be anchored on the America’s moral standing.
Gatsby, despite a myriad of challenges is passionate about a dream of pursuing Daisy. It’s stated that “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his—-heart” (Fitzgerald 101). The first barrier he is faced with is lack of money. Daisy is presented as a lady of vanity and wealth, and to catch her attention one needs to be wealthy. Another barrier that Gatsby faces is that, when he returns from war, he finds that Daisy is already married. “Daisy was (Nick’s) cousin and (he’d) known Tom in college (Her husband) had been one of the most powerful ends” (10). Tom is presented to be charming and rich man. Daisy “had a debt after the Armistice and in February, she was presumed to be engaged to a man from New Orleans” (80). Gatsby still pursues Daisy and even engages Tom in an exchange and believes that her heart does not belong to Tom. Gatsby dreams for a green light symbolizing his desire for money. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther…. And one fine morning-” (Pg. 182)
The author credits the destruction of the American dream to privilege, wealth and lack of humanity created by these aspects. As stipulated, money is the main catalyst for the death of the dreams. It has managed to replace the American dream with materialism. This is shown when Gatsby uses illegal connection to make money. This level of American dream corruption is also explained by his huge mansion, lavish parties and clothing. Most characters believe in money. According to them, it is not a question of moral but survival. Materialism is pointed when Gatsby and Nick recognize charm in Daisy’s voice. Gatsby is quoted saying that “Her voice is full of money”, and Nicks reaches a revelation about society: “That was it. Id never understood it before. It was full of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals song of it…. high in a white palace the golden girl.”(Pg.120).Believing in a course without morality is a big challenge to the American dream. Success must be connected to good actions.
There is a clear sense of hopelessness as the novel comes to an end, proving that there is no purity of American dream. Tragedy starts when Bucchanan’s daughter is introduced, as the girl is brought to the salon, Nick realizes that Gatsby is disturbed in thinking and attitude. “Gatsby and I in turn leaned down and took the small reluctant hand. Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don’t think he had ever really believed in its existence before.” (Pg. 117) After this look Daisy calls her an “absolute little dream. Gatsby therefore holds that there is nothing left for Daisy apart from money. He later comes to the reality that what he had believed in as a dream was not love but money hidden in a beautiful creature. The American dream is destroyed with the death of Gatsby. All the dreams and hopes that uplifted him are blurred as he lies in the pool and is confused about the modern society. After the death of Gatsby, Wilson who kills him also commits suicide. This is also another barrier to the American dream.
In a nutshell, it is worth noting that American dream faces many challenges. The death of Gatsby and Wilson, both from different economic standing, explains the death of the American dream. The death cannot be restored. The challenges facing it are complex to handle. Through this story, F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the death of some of the core American values. He explains that these values are what defined America. The old American dream has currently been replaced with money, greed and materialism. From the story, we appreciate that dreams are valid and always drive us towards achieving our goals. We learn from Fitzgerald work, that there is a price tagged to a dream achieved through soiling of our hands. The solution to the American dream is to eliminate the barriers and challenges.