The Great Gatsby Theme- the Corruption of the American Dream

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English 11 Rodriguez

The Great Gatsby


The Corruption of the American Dream:

Jay Gatsby, born James Gatz in North Dakota, was dedicated from an early age to move up in society and become wealthy and respectful. He changed his name to Jay Gatsby after meeting Dan Cody, a wealthy older man who mentored him. Before going to Europe for the Great War, Gatsby met Daisy Fay, with whom he became infatuated, for she represented the genteel society he wished to join. After the war, Gatsby built his fortune partially through illegal activities, yet dedicated his life to attaining Daisy. His devotion to her was his major flaw: he was attentive to her at the expense of any concern for others.

Fitzgerald’s life reads like many of his novels. He often wrote about people with social pretensions but not enough money to live up to them. These qualities were obviously present in Jay Gatsby. He was not rich enough in his younger years for Daisy to marry him, so she married Tom who was everything Jay idolized yet despised: he was rich, handsome, and accepted. Jay wanted to be what Tom symbolized and he reached that level-almost.

Jay Gatsby believes in hope and that the American Dream can be bought. The other characters are corrupted by that same belief to some degree. Gatsby believes that the past can be recaptured and he never loses hope that Daisy will be his, even though he has not seen her in five years and she has married another man.



Some say money won’t buy happiness and we should not judge people for what they have or do not have, but life just doesn’t seem to work that way. For instance, in most high schools what you have or what you don’t have seems to make a difference in your attitude and acceptability. Is it true that who you are affects your popularity? Your grades? Your ability to get a date? Your chances of playing a sport?


In an essay of approximately 750-1,500 words (1-2 pages), voice your opinion about the treatment of the students in your school when it comes to name or money. You may feel there is no difference, but you must defend your position with observations and opinions. You will be graded on how well you present examples to persuade your audience (teacher) that your reasoning is a reality in your everyday high school life. Your essay must be typed (MLA format) and free of grammatical errors. Make sure to include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Essay Due Date: ________________________________

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

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