All people dream as this ability is human. Each nation dreams, but only one nation made up the dream that contains the way how to reach it. Of course, this is the American Dream. American Dream is the belief that if you work hard, you are creative and persistent; you will succeed and achieve prosperity.
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To my mind, the reason why the American Dream is not dead is that it works. And there are a lot of examples of the American Dream realization in real life. Of course, it is also reflected in American literature, for example, F. Scott Fitzgerald paid a lot of attention to this in his Winter Dream and The Great Gatsby.
The American Dream in Fitzgerald’s Novels
At the very beginning of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald (through the narrator) claims that American Dream invented by our great-grandfathers is still in our minds. The narrator, Nick, mentions his “great-uncle” who “started the wholesale hardware business,” which
Nick’s father proceeded to carry on (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 4).
Nick’s great-uncle worked very hard and, finally, made the American Dream come true. And even after his death, his descendants benefit from his deeds. The other story beginning also reveals the success story of the main hero, who followed the American Dream.
He started his business: he bought “a partnership in a laundry” and studied thoroughly every detail which improved services he provided. He worked hard; he even “made a specialty of learning how the English washed fine woolen golf-stockings without shrinking them” (Fitzgerald, Winter Dream 7). And in a few years he achieved prosperity, his persistent work led to the American Dream realization.
It is necessary to point out that there are different ways to achieve the American Dream realization. For example, Fitzgerald provides two separate stories: one story shows a transparent and quite exact way to succeed, and the other one shows an obscure way of gaining prosperity. However, the person made a lot of effort to have everything he (and many others) wanted.
To my mind, Winter Dream is a perfect example of the American Dream, since the main hero, Dexter, implemented each point of it, he was persistent and very hard-working, he was a very sensible and pleasant young man.
From his very childhood, everyone used to say that Dexter was “the best” in everything he did since he was “willing,” “intelligent,” “quiet,” “honest,” and “grateful” (Fitzgerald, Winter Dream2). Even being a caddy, he was very precise in his work; he didn’t skip from work and “never lost a ball” (Fitzgerald, Winter Dream 2).
The boy understood the importance of education and was a very assiduous student, and after graduation, he started his business at once. Dexter did everything thoroughly, and that is why in 4-5 years after buying a “partnership in a laundry,” he had a net of very profitable laundries.
All this makes Dexter an embodiment of the American Dream. Dexter was successful and respected. His clients insisted “that their Shetland hose and sweaters go to his laundry just as they had insisted on a caddy who could find golfballs” (Fitzgerald, Winter Dream 7).
Not only his clients respected him, everyone who knew his story recognized him for his persistent work. To my mind, this respect came from understanding that Dexter implemented the American Dream: he worked persistently, and he deserved to be prosperous. This example, people wanted and still want to follow because the American Dream is a perfect story of success, which can be real.
Gatsby can be suggested as another example of the American Dream, though in his case, his story is far from perfection. His way to prosperity is quite obscure. No one really knows the source of his income, no one knows what exactly he did to achieve such wealth, and no one knows whether he worked hard to win the prize.
I think that is the main reason why people thought Gatsby was connected with the criminal world. For example, one woman said that “he killed a man once” (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 29). Some other people thought he was “some big bootlegger” just like other “newly reach people” (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 69). And this is another side of the American Dream when some people also do their best to achieve success; they are very persistent, though they take some illegal actions.
This, of course, is not praised, this cannot be the genuine American Dream, that is why people don’t like Gatsby, don’t trust him; they only envy him. Such kind of deviated American Dream can do no good for anyone; that is the reason why, to my mind, Gatsby is murdered at the end of the book. Fitzgerald showed that such prosperity is a false one; only good deeds can bring good to one’s life. Though I would like to add that Gatsby was quite a good person, he was kind and sincere with Nick, and he was a good friend.
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The only thing Gatsby wanted was that the woman he loved was with him. He earned all those money for her. That justifies Gatsby in a way, and Nick even understands that all those people who accused Gatsby of being a criminal but still visited his parties and enjoyed his generosity, were even worse than Gatsby, they were “a rotten crowd” (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 98).
Thus, such an obscure example of gaining prosperity is not often called the American Dream, since this example doesn’t reveal one of the constituents of it, which is hard work, and criminal efforts can’t substitute honest work. To my mind, The Great Gatsby is a sad story of how the American Dream, being inverted and misunderstood, led to the death of a person.
The two fiction writings by F. Scott Fitzgerald prove that the American dream is still in our minds, and it is inspiring. Reading these great stories makes the reader learn what the American Dream is to be, what one should do to achieve success, and what mistakes one should never stay safe.
Of course, Fitzgerald is not the only one who reveals this idea in his works; a lot of different writers, poets, musicians, politicians, and many others keep mentioning it. The American Dream is not dead since every day we witness new stories of hard work and success in every field of our life.
Moreover, my firm belief is that the American Dream can never fade away since it gives us hope in success and shows the way how to reach it. Young people see that it is possible to reach the top by persistence and hard work; thus, they go on trying and never quit their efforts in achieving success.
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 2001.
Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. Winter Dreams. Whitefish, MY: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.