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《了不起的盖茨比》中美国梦的破灭

时间:2014-05-29 16:30来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:lzm 点击:
《了不起的盖茨比》中主人公盖茨比是为追求美国梦而最终牺牲了自己的典例,他渴望以自己的信念和勇气来获取物质以及爱情上的收获,然而由于他的梦想是一种对虚幻的渴望而不是建立在现
An Analysis of Disillusionment of American Dream in The Great Gatsby
论《了不起的盖茨比》中美国梦的破灭
 
摘要:美国著名作家菲兹杰拉德被称为"美国梦的代言人",在他的小说中,我们难以区分是他的生活如一部小说还是他的小说就是他的一段真实的生活的写照,因为他已完全融入其中。尤其是《了不起的盖茨比》,文中主人公盖茨比是为追求美国梦而最终牺牲了自己的典例,他渴望以自己的信念和勇气来获取物质以及爱情上的收获,然而由于他的梦想是一种对虚幻的渴望而不是建立在现实的基础之上的追求,最终导致了他美国梦的破灭,文中通过时间发展及不同人物个性特征向我们阐述了这一梦想破灭的各种原因。
 
关键词:美国梦;破灭;原因
 
Abstract:F. Scott Fitzgerald, is widely considered as the literary spokesman of the "American Dream". His novels include many aspects of his unique experiences in that period of time. It is not easy to distinguish his novel and the real life, which has already involved him physically and mentally in it. Especially in his masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, which was published in 1925. In the novel, the hero revealed a typical example of those who were eager to pursue the American Dream but finally ended by sacrificing themselves. Though he dreamed of achieving material wealth and love through his courage and hard working, all the factors from outside world and the indelibility of his dream led to the disillusionment of it. Through the development of the story and characteristics of heroes, Fitzgerald elaborated a vivid picture of the disillusionment of American Dream. 
 
Key words: American dream; disillusionment; reason
 
Contents
Introduction 1
Part I The Introduction of F.Scott.Fitzgerald 2
1.1The Life Expericence of Fitzgerald 2
1.1.1 Fitzgerald's Background 2
1.1.2 Fitzgerald's Marriage 2
1.2 Literary Works of Fitzgerald 3
PartII American Dream and its Disillusionment 4
2.1 The American Dream 4
2.1.1 The Definition of American Dream 4
2.1.2 The Essence of American Dream 5
2.2 Disillusionment of American Dream Reflected in the Novel 5
2.2.1 Gatsby's American Dream 5
2.2.2 Nick Carraway's American Dream 7
2.2.3 Tom, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker's American Dream 7
Part III The Cause of Disillusionment of American Dream 9
3.1 The Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties 9
3.2 Social Environment and People factors 9
Conclusion 11
Bibliography 12
 
Introduction
 
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in a not rich family, so he wanted to earn lots of money to become rich to enjoy high quality life. The tempo of his life slackened as his life was shredded by Zelda's insanity and his own self-destructive alcoholism. Through years of emotional and physical collapse he struggled to repair his life by writing for Hollywood-producing at the same time a series of stories that exposed his humiliation there. He became one of the greatest writers in American literature and wrote many works in his lifetime to manifest the life reality of that time. He was a spokesman for the so-called Jazz Age.
The Great Gatsby is regarded as his masterpiece. First published on April 10, 1925, the story is set in Long Island's North Shore and New York City during the summer of 1922. The novel tells of Gatsby, an idealist, who tries to recapture his lost love but in vain and is finally destroyed by the influence of the wealthy people around him .The story deals with the failure of the American dream as personified in the rich and beautiful woman Daisy who belongs to corrupt society. The Great Gatsby evokes a haunting mood of a glamorous, wild time that seemingly will never come again. It is about the loss of an ideal and the disillusionment that comes with the failure is embodied fully in the personal tragedy of a young man (Gatsby) whose "incorruptible dream" is "smashed into pieces by the relentless reality" (Fitzgerald, 8).
Gatsby's failure to realize his ideal symbolizes the disillusionment of his American Dream. Also, Gatsby's intensity of dream represents a state of commitment which takes him in search of his personal grail; Gatsby's failure magnifies to a great extent the end of the American Dream.
 
Part I The Introduction of F.Scott.Fitzgerald
 
1.1The Life Expericence of Fitzgerald
 
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is one of the most outstanding American authors in the twenties, and The Great Gatsby is his best work.
 
1.1.1 Fitzgerald's Background
 
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 into a St, Paul middle-class family. After an unsuccessful undergraduate career at Princeton, he entered the Army as a second Lieutenant and while in training camp he met the beautiful girl who was to become his wife. He married Zelda Sayre as his literary career got off to a meteoric start in 1920. Through the 1920s when money seemed plentiful and postwar morality encouraged a reckless pursuit of happiness, he and Zelda traveled in Europe and New York, acting out the glamorous life-style he wrote of in his most popular magazine fiction. He was a spokesman for the so-called Jazz Age, setting a personal as well as literary example for a generation whose first commandment was: Do what you will. The speed of his life slackened as his life was shredded by Zelda's insanity and his own self-destructive alcoholism. He fell from favor as a writer when the indulgent decade of his triumph went down under the impact of a worldwide Depression in the 1930s.
 
1.1.2 Fitzgerald's Marriage
 
It is absolutely the tough teenage years and marriage life that made Fitzgerald experience the difficulties and frustrations of the life. So we should discover some reflections of the story from the author's life.
The relationship between Fitzgerald and Zelda went so dramatic that even himself once said, " Sometimes I don't know whether Zelda and I are real or whether we are characters in one of my novels"( Fitzgerald, 1).
Zelda was the daughter of a judge in Montgomery, Alabama, a beautiful society girl. Though she told Fitzgerald that she loved him so much, but her too expensive life left him unable to support her. They have experienced breaking up but finally got engaged again with the support of Fitzgerald's success. It was also at this time that Fitzgerald wrote many of his short stories which helped to pay for their extravagant lifestyle. But when the misfortune came, in 1930s when Zelda became increasingly troubled by mental illness. Their life became harder. It was his marriage and his onerous life of making money to support her that affected his writing tremendously. Fitzgerald was tormented virtually all his life by the fact that he could not concentrate on his working and the improvement of his art in general.
 
1.2 Literary Works of Fitzgerald
 
The Roaring Twenties was a period of literary creativity, and works of several notable authors appeared during the period. Such as Earnest Hemingway, Erich Maria Remarque and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Etc. Literary works in that period of time mirror people's experiences and attitude of the1920s. We could see it from the following examples: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque recounts the horrors of WWI and also the deep detachment from German civilian life felt by many men returning from the front. 
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway is about a group of expatriate Americans in Europe during the 1920s. All in all writers and their works in those years were haunted with complicated sensations which have shown us all the difficulties and frustrations in their life.
 
PartⅡ American Dream and its Disillusionment
 
2.1 The American Dream
 
Before we take a look to the causes and effects of the disillusionment of American dream, let's first try to understand the definition and content of American Dream.
 
2.1.1 The Definition of American Dream
 
In different social and historical backgrounds, the concepts of American Dream are different, and for different people, they have different understandings of American Dream and the ways to pursue their American Dream are also various. The definition of the so-called American Dream can be distinguished in broad sense and narrow sense. For the former, American Dream is the equality, freedom and democracy in the land of the United States. The later one means, everyone in America ,if only work hard and never give up, he could achieve his dream and could live a better life in this piece of land, that is to say, people should make their efforts ,such as diligence, courage and determination to realize dreams rather than depend on the help from others. 
This term that American Dream was first used by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America which was written in 1931. He states, "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." This ideology is based itself on the principle that one should be responsible for oneself, and taking every opportunity to gain success by courage and hard working.


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