Role Of Materialism In The Great Gatsby

426 Words2 Pages
In both Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the characters are attempting to achieve their own American Dream, in order to create a happier life for themselves. The American Dream they are trying to achieve is eventually ruined the materialistic ideals that have corrupted both society and the American Dream itself. As Churchwell states “The American dream comes true for just 1%: for the other 99%, only discontent and bitterness await, resentment on a mass scale.” It was commonly believed that materialistic and monetary gain was necessary to succeed in achieving the American Dream. According to Sarah Churchwell; “The American dream was first invented to describe a failure, not a promise: or rather, a broken promise, a dream that was continually faltering beneath the rampant monopoly…show more content…
Scott Fitzgerald portrays the American Dream in the 1920’s as an idealistic and illusionary goal to achieve wealth and status. Fitzgerald criticizes the American Dream using characters from different classes in society: old money, the nouveau riche and the working class, all of whom eventually fail in their quest for happiness. In the 1920’s the American Dream had slowly transformed from a perfect ideal to a materialistic dream. The endless pursuit of money had resulted in the corruption of the moral values. Achieving the ‘new’ American Dream no longer gives fulfillment or joy, rather it creates problems. The old American Dream promised wealth, power and high status as long as it was earned through hard work and honesty. However, “Fitzgerald's novels remind us that things were never this simple. A democracy is always accompanied by its contradiction; for some the "pursuit of happiness" was simply a euphemism for property.” (Ghasemi, 122). Over time, the moral values changed and the American Dream transformed into a materialistic society in which possessions determine success and corruption is the root of
Open Document