THE AFFIRMATION OF THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM IN A SOCIETY WHICH HAS DISTORTED THAT DREAM. CENTRAL IDEAS IN THE GREAT GATSBY. .
THE AFFIRMATION OF THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM IN A SOCIETY WHICH HAS DISTORTED THAT DREAM. .
1) WHAT IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM?.
For an explanation we must look at the final section of the novel. .
"And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that once flowered for Dutch sailors' eyes- a fresh, green breast of the New World. Its varnished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby 's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder." (p. l87) .
The spirit of the dream is basically a belief in the possibilities of life. A belief in the GOODNESS OF MAN. .
America was the New World to which the persecuted and downtrodden of many countries came to begin a now life with the possibility of creating an ideal society. .
2) HOW HAS THIS DREAM BEEN DISTORTED? .
American society has turned this dream into a quest for the accumulation of material possessions. At no other time was this Conspicuous Consumption more evident than in the "Roaring Twenties" the "Jazz Age" which is depicted so vividly in the novel. .
Tom and Daisy ARE money: .
" and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. ( p.12) .
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed things up and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.