Last Updated 05 Jan 2023

The American Pursuit of Happiness in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In a country that promises the "pursuit of happiness", is it possible that one can just buy their happiness? Gatsby, a lavishly wealthy man known for his gargantuas and extravagant parties held every Saturday night, had dreamed of the day he would get back his past love; Daisy. Five years had passed since they were together, in that time Daisy had married another man and Gatsby dedicated his life toward wealth. Gatsby had hoped that with his excessive amounts of money he could win Daisy's love again. However, in the end, Daisy denied Gatsby of ever loving him, leaving him heartbroken. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald takes place in the roaring 20's when American economy skyrocketed. A rich man, such as Gatsby, became extremely wealthy during this time. This book shows the lifestyle of the upper class in America at the time. Most Americans crave the extreme wealth much like Gatsby had, but this book proves that maybe money doesn't always lead to happiness.

The Great Gatsby raises the idea of what it means to be happy and to live well. Gatsby had become full of wealth like he had wanted but did not find happiness because he never got what he dreamt for. America has always pushed the idea of "pursuit of happiness" to their people. The Great Gatsby shows that Gatsby was happiest when he was pursuing his desires rather than when he reached what he desired. His expectations of Daisy were extreme, and hard to live up to. Therefore, the closer he got to his dream, the more somber his life became because he knew his expectations would never come true. It is the pursuit of Daisy, rather than Daisy herself, that made Gatsby a happy man. This realization through the book can help change how people view the American dream of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

The Great Gatsby greatly portrays the wealthy in America during the 1920's. Back then,

and sometimes even now, those who were rich were deemed famous. Like most famous people, gossip would commonly be based around them. For instance, Gatsby had rumors spread about his existence, his whereabouts and how he became so wealthy. The rich were also shown as two- faced for they would attend Gatsby's parties, act friendly and nice to the host, but then talk badly about them behind their back. The rich came across as people who would flaunt their wealth in people's faces. In the book the rich were seen driving expensive cars, dressing in flashy, fancy clothes, living in massive mansions, and spending ridiculous amounts of money on parties. As nice, happy and fancy as the rich came across they really could be shallow and unhappy people. The Great Gatsby gives us an inside look of a wealthy person's lifestyle.

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Jay Gatsby has shown readers everywhere what it's like to be a rich American man of the 1920's. It has taught us that people use money to try to reach happiness. Most American's dream of being rich one day, but as we've seen through the life of Gatsby, it takes more than money to be truly happy. Gatsby was happiest when he pursued his dream, rather than when he attained his dream. Perhaps, it is the idea of getting their and accomplishing everything that makes people happiest. For Gatsby, he let his expectations get the best of him, so when he actually reached his dream he was left disappointed. In the 1920's the rich were looked greatly upon, as a role model might be. People wanted to be them, they wanted to be rich. However, this book has taught readers that people tend to look for materialistic needs rather than personal happiness. Gatsby, with all his money and riches, could make hundreds of other people happy with his money, but never himself. This novel reflects America's pursuit of happiness though the rich. It shows that money and happiness have no correlation whatsoever.

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