In The Great Gatsby, a novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, the corruption of the American dream is a major theme throughout the book. The American Dream - as it arose in the Colonial period and developed in the nineteenth century - was based on the assumption that each person, no matter what his origins, could succeed in life on the sole basis of his or her own skill and effort. The dream was embodied in the ideal of the self-made man, The Great Gatsby is a novel about what happened to the American dream in the 1920s, a period when the old values that gave substance to the dream had been corrupted by the vulgar pursuit of wealth. The corruption of the American dream in the 1920's era is shown in The Great Gatsby through symbolism, materialism, and romantic dreams and hopes. .
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses many clear symbols to help portray the corruption of the American dream. On a billboard are the luminous blue eyes of Dr. T. J. Ecklberg. Fitzgerald uses this to indicate god watching over them, but the billboard has been abandoned and forgotten, showing their corruption as they are turned from god when religion is forgotten in their pursuit for wealth(The Symbol I). The blue in his eyes shows the corruption of the spirit. Slow changes of color are also seen in the book to show the symbolism of Gatsby's car. It is a cream color but it evolves into a yellow instrument of death and destruction used to try to fix their vain attempts at love The Symbol I). The author uses white to describe Daisy's superficiality. White represents purity and innocence, like an egg she is white on the outside and yellow(representing sins)on the inside. Daisy is pure her actions confirm otherwise, she is a big fazade (The Symbol I). .
Unlike previous years, the 1920's had gave rise to people that had forgot the old values and only really valued wealth. This new materialistic crazed society leads to the ruin of the true American dream.