The American dream is a dream in which everyone is equal and receives opportunity and reward according to their achievement and hard work. This is quoted by James Truslow Adams who played an important role in the making of the American dream and the creation of the image that many would give all for in order to capture this dream. In this essay I will discuss how Fitzgerald critiques parts of society in relation to the american dream and discuss how the American dream is portrayed as a failure by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the novel the great Gatsby . The three setting that i will discuss and how they fail the american dream are the valley of ashes, west egg and east egg.
The valley of ashes in the novel represents the failure of the american dream and how it alludes the people living there.The american dream quoted by James Truslow Adams ‘The american dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone with opportunity for each according to the ability of achievement.” Fitzgerald through the development of the setting, the valley of ashes, has shown the failure in the american dream and how people living in the valley of ashes never receive the rewards of their achievement. The ‘dream’ as stated by James Truslow Adams fails the people of the valley of ashes and creates an illusion that with their hard work they will receive the rewards of an upper class citizen but this illusion becomes nothing more but is the goal of may who chase after the the illusion of the dream and who became trapped in the valley of ashes. The first description we receive of the valley of ashes from Fitzgerald’s from Gatsby and described as a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” This shows how the american dream has failed those chasing it, the ashes that litter the valley represent the hard labor the of the men and how it builds up without disappearing and without reward. Grotesque means ugly and along with the the ashes that litter the wasted land it paints the picture of a dirty and dim place and represents the dark side of the american dream.
West egg in the novel of the represents the dark criminal side of the american dream and how it failed the people of society who chase the dream. The people living in west who live inn west egg are part of the new money that have supposedly lived the american dream Fitzgerald through the development of west egg throughout the novel illustrates the failure of the American dream and how it has failed the people of west eggs and the valley of ashes, as the people of west egg gained their ‘new money’ through illegal activities that are not known by those who live in the valley of ashes ad therefor only enhance the image of the dream. west egg is described as “the unfashionable of the two”. This quote by Nick in the novel illustrates hoe the people of west egg although of the same wealth of those in East egg they are t=still shunned upon and are not excepted into the high class of east eggs, but are separated by the bay. Fitzgerald directly links the failure of the america dream to west egg as west egg is a place of criminals that make their money of of selling illegal substance e.g alcohol during the prohibition stage and is looked down upon by those in west egg and looked up to by those in the valley of ashes as they have supposedly fulfilled the dream and it creates false hope for those in the valley of ashes.
east egg is a setting i the novel that illustrates the failure of the american dream, that quoted by James Truslow Adams will be a ‘better land where people receive award upon ability of their achievement’. this dream that is sought after by many is non existent as long as east egg exists as those in east egg are of old money meaning they were born into it or did not have to work hard for it, thus defeating the goal of the American dream. Those who live in East egg are part of a high class society that is separate from the rest of society around them that directly highlights the failure of the American dream as it states that those will be rewarded according to the ability of their achievement, which those of east egg have achieved very little to gain their fortune. a quote that shows this is by Nick ” I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged insight into the human heart”. This quote shows the diversity of the American dream as Nick has spent the last summer in east egg and wishes to not be around that high class privileged of those in east egg. This quote shows how Fitzgerald critiques the high class part of society that is born into their money and reflects it back towards the American in that James Truslows image of the american dream will always fail as long as these parts of society exist.
The America dream is that any man or woman, despite of his or her background, can change their circumstances and rise as long as they are willing to work.” Quoted by Fabricio Moreira. The American dream in the great Gatsby shall never truly exist as more than just an illusion. Fitzgerald through the development of the setting and great Gatsby shines the light on the failure of the American dream and highlights its false image through he development of the different settings discussed, and in conclusion fails all those in search of the dream.