Day Of The Locust And The Great Gatsby

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Through the promise of freedom, wealth, and happiness, the American Dream offers an escape from the harsh realities of life, particularly for those born into poverty. For those who experience the social depredations of poverty, their hope for this promise provides an escape from the world in which they live. Often, an individual’s dream(s) may shed light on his or her own struggles, and a lack of acceptance of these realities. However, the human tendency to wholeheartedly accept these illusions as reality has been a topic of criticism of the American Dream. Through their exploration of the human desire for self-fulfillment, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts and Day of the Locust disassemble the American…show more content…
Although dreams were once powerful, they have been made puerile by the movies, radio and newspapers. Among many betrayals, this one is the worst” (Miss Lonelyhearts 39). While highlighting the function of dreams, West criticizes the state of American ideals, which have changed as a result of the cultural influences of Hollywood and all its artificiality. Likewise, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which functions as a Jeremiad, warns the nation to return to its former ideals by highlighting and condemning the “vast carelessness” (Fitzgerald, 179) of the upper class. The character Tom Buchanan provides an unsettling depiction of the desired outcome of the American Dream. For Fitzgerald, Tom is the harsh reality of the dream of wealth and the not so charming effects of privilege and overindulgence. Ultimately, both of West’s novels, as well as Fitzgerald’s, condemn Western culture by exposing the artificiality of these dreams in the quest for self-fulfillment. Even those who are born into wealth and power, such as Tom and Daisy, appear to be equally unsatisfied with their lives despite their privilege. Their discontent exposes another criticism of the American Dream, particularly its unattainability and the endless quest for something even…show more content…
As a matter of fact, he had no such facilities –he had no comfortable family standing behind him, and he was liable at the whim of an impersonal government to be blown anywhere about the world. (Fitzgerald, 149) Through the journey of Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald exposes the failure of the American Dream, particularly the struggles and unpredictability of those who are not born with wealth and power. Though Gatsby’s virtuous capacity for hope and wonder makes his dream “incorruptible” (Fitzgerald, 154), he too falls prey to the dissatisfaction and endless desire for more when he attempts to force Daisy to admit she never loved

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