Every year millions of individuals and families flock to the United States with aspirations and wishes to have a happy living in this most advanced and well-developed first world country. Legally and surreptitiously it is believed that immigrants and working class Native Americans have easily achieved prosperous life style in the competitive US economy, but such believers are far away from bitter reality of mobility towards achievements in the US. It is noticeable that post World War one is considered as a the most prosperous time of the United States, but still there were great number of people at that time in the US, who had to struggle and suffer hard to make their dreams come true (TCF). One of such stories is written by an American novelist F.Scott Fitzgerald in 1922. This story is about a poor boy, who had a dream, a passion, and a potential to do something outstanding to gain fame and money in life. In this paper, we shall compare American Dream life portrayed by F.Scott Fitzgerald in his famous novel “The Great Gatsby” with notions interlinked with the modern American dream.
Modern American Dream is a vast topic and a heated debate in town hall meeting across the state. Is American dream dead or still alive s a big question keeps on flickering on every American’s mind. And a run to an authentic and realistic answer to this question motivates a study entitling “Modern American Dream” across the nation. With the findings of this study, it has come forward that majority of American population strongly believe that American Dream is exhausted, but not dead. Current, financial downfalls, due to recession are challenging, which hangs the US future in between dark and bright (Ford, Dion and Conway).
Many people think that American dream is one of the most significant fundamentals of American identity, for which fundamental change, with modernization and metamorphosis is needed. Additionally, it is noteworthy, with modernization and advancements American dream is no more similar to what it was a few decades before, just a house ownership in the locality. But, now an American dream is much vast, diversified and individualistic. In other words, it can be said that today people do not have one big dream, but they have now lots of little dreams with controlled self destinies (Sawhill).
Similar individualistic dreams of a young boy are discussed by F.Scott Fitzgerald. Dreams of Gatsby are no different from an ordinary American of today. It is in a way that both have their individual dreams, smudged with a passion to understand success on their own and a personal enthusiasm to stay focused on one dream at a time. Likewise, from story the story of Gatsby it has been understood that he was an ordinary in fact a poor boy belonged to rural family of North Dakota (Fitzgerald). He had all those similar dreams, which today people have in America of attaining success in each desired aspect.
As we have understood that modern American dream is no more confined to saving money, securing montage and buying home, but it is more about traveling to the path towards defined ambitions. Similar cognitive approaches were adopted by the focused dreamer of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s story. Dreams of Gatsby can be relate with the Albert Camus’ philosophy of absurdism, which based on the concept of nothingness referring to the struggles an ordinary individual make in quest for dreams.
Gatsby started weaving his dreams since childhood like children of many working class people, who had to learn sacrifice at a very early stage of life. Gatsby was one of those individuals, who promised himself at a very early age to remove all those situations from his life that discomfort each day, he aimed to get something extraordinary in life, but did not focus particularly on money. Poor Gatsby dreamt to alter his circumstance as he strongly believed that there is a lot to do and rediscover own self in this colorful world, where a person besieges by unkind and cruel members. For Gatsby cruel and unkind members around can create barriers for an individual on the path towards weaved dream (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby).
However, Modern American Dream study reveals that today barriers are disguised in a shape of inequality of economic opportunities. Such as, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said: “Although we Americans strive to provide equality of economic opportunity, we do not guarantee equality of economic outcomes, nor should we. Indeed, without the possibility of unequal outcomes tied to differences in effort and skill, the economic incentive for productive behavior would be eliminated, and our market-based economy — which encourages productive activity primarily through the promise of financial reward — would function far less effectively (Sawhill).” Here, it is evidenced that in modern American dream description financial crisis and improvement in his regard is prioritized at the foremost place.
However, in Gatsby’s story an aim of getting rich has been particularly promoted, which is somehow related to modern American dream situation. Further it should be noted that Modern American Dream questions about the lives and the future of children, referring life improvement of the next generation that either rising tide of economic growth will lift all American ships, or individual talents or efforts will become the key for family’s boat to survive with achievements (Sawhill). In this regard, responses of the young American individuals, from official Modern American Dream report and those described by the author of Gatsby are close in terms of temperament (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby).
Hence, According to Modern American Dream statistics, 36% individuals support pursing own passion, 39% believe in living better life than parents and 29% individuals define success on their own. It seems similar to what F.Scott Fitzgerald’s concept of existentialism through definition and adopted approaches of Gatsby. Gatsby’s was aware of his own talents and he knew that he is capable of doing great things in life. To achieve an aim of better life he had to identify himself at every stage with an analysis of his own strengths, weaknesses and opportunities (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby).
His story reveals that he had been very depressive and greatly shattered when unfortunately he had to leave his school due to unstable conditions of his family, but for him, his challenges worked as motivational elements that compel him to get on the journey in order, to rediscover his own identity along with self-satisfaction in an internal world. Similar situation are imposing challenges today on American individuals, thus they are also needed to become self-reliant rather than relying on the change from state bodies (TCF). Also, it has been noticed that it was Gatsby potential and determined passion, which transformed his dreams into reality and made him great Gatsby and he succeeded to prove concept of rags to riches through enthusiasm. However, in case of modern American dream rags to riches is still uncertain and unpredictable (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby).
Therefore, from the above comparative analysis it has been noticed that dreams of Gatsby and modern American dreams are almost similar. It is because modern American dreams are no more confined to money, home and montage, but individuals have set short term, small and various goals for themselves. Likewise, Gatsby did in the story started with improving life style, socialization, getting money, impressing people and attaining love of life in the end. However, from a critical viewpoint his success rooted in the wealth he attained from hard work, struggle and determined potentials. Thus, it can be concluded that the core phenomenon of modern American dream of rags to riches will always remain in improved financial situations.
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