指导
网站地图
返回首页

《了不起的盖茨比》中美国梦的破灭

论文价格: 免费 时间:2014-05-29 16:30:34 来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:留学作业网
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.#p#分页标题#e#
 
2.1.2 The Essence of American Dream
 
As for the American Dream, it is a belief that a better life could be achieved through hard work and strives. There are several elements lie in the American Dream: the US has provided equal opportunities for everyone; the success based on own talents and efforts, not the background and extraction; everyone was born equally; and everyone has his own right to achieve success. 
"For any American no matter what his origin was, could succeed in changing their social positions and making their dreams come true through their own efforts, and getting new, free and better life."(Zhao Hongwei, 2)This is the basic often of "American dream". It is the idea that the American way of life offers the equal possibility of unlimited economic, social, etc. One can always work their way up from the rags to riches just like Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the US. 
In brief, the main content of American culture was emphasis on individuals' value, optimistic, pursuing of democracy and freedom, the promotion of deportation and competition and the need of realism and practicality. There was a common truth that everyone who lived in that period actually had an American Dream and eager to achieve it and everyone has an American Dream which is to have a good opportunity to realize personal dream.
 
2.2 Disillusionment of American Dream Reflected in the Novel
 
In this novel, we could discover so many characteristics of the disillusionment of American dream. All of them have been reflected from the words and actions of heroes and heroines
 
2.2.1 Gatsby's American Dream
As for the great Gatsby, his American Dream is to have much money and then win Daisy, who is in love with Gatsby five years ago but now is the wife of rich Tom. Gatsby thinks that only if he has much money, at least has more money than Tom, should he win Daisy's love. So it is reasonable for him to pursue material wealth in order to win the love of Daisy. 
Gatsby's attempt to achieve his American Dream which is to recapture the love of Daisy Buchanan whom he had known five years before the action of the novel begins, when he is a young and poor officer in the United States army and Daisy is a young unmarried woman, who used to live a luxuriant life with much money and great fame. And the only way should Gatsby make his American Dream come true is to get a lot of money which is much difficulty for a normal soldier to earn. He does all the things Daisy asks him to do. And nobody can do this out of reason. In order to win Daisy, Gatsby dare to have illegal trade of alcohol to make a fortune, because he clearly knows that he must offer Daisy a better life which is luxuriant if he wants to win Daisy. Through his great effort, he gets much money authentically although it is from illegal business.
Gatsby's success in fortune is great, his strong will of love and achieving life goal is also great; he becomes the big name of the society, and becomes the upper class's deputy. Everyone is glad to come to his party, everyone admires his property, and everyone wants to be his friend, even Daisy has taken much notice of him and falls in love with him again. Gatsby is also great when he loses his life in order to protect Daisy from the accident. 
However, "the falling of his American Dream, that Daisy goes together with her husband to another city happily while Gatsby is murdered mistakenly, improves that all his great characterize means nothing. In other words, Gatsby's final American Dream, which is to win Daisy, is totally a failure."(杨慧群, 3)
Furthermore, when Gatsby died, no one turns up for his funeral, though hundreds of people have eaten at his place. It is a sad comment on human nature that when a man dies, he is alone, absolutely alone. The only things that accompany him are his good deeds especially those done spontaneously and without expectations. And the saddest thing is that Daisy, doesn't feel any regret or sorrow for Gatsby's death, has gone traveling with his husband Tom. There is nothing left for Gatsby. All the things of his life have gone with his death, including his wealth and love. From the above analysis of Gatsby's American Dream, there is a conclusion that whatever it is broken or not, Gatsby's American Dream is to get as much money as he can even through every illegal means, and then he can have the economical strength to achieve his final goal--win the love of Daisy.
Gatsby spends his whole life in attaining money and status so that he can reach a certain position in life and then he can win Daisy back. That is what motivates him to move to West Egg, and makes money by any means necessary, holds extravagant parties in every weekend, does everything what Daisy requires him to do and so on. There is a position in life that he yearns for and will do all that it takes to achieve it, and the final goal for his American Dream is to get Daisy's love. It is doomed to be a failure if Gatsby wants to be in love with Daisy, and live with her forever.
 
2.2.2 Nick Carraway's American Dream
 
In this novel, we see disorientation in achieving the American Dream in Gatsby, while in Nick Carraway, the narrator, we see a far more rational mind in dealing with this. Nick Carraway was made in the book the representative of the traditional moral codes of America. He comes from the Midwest and wants to make money in the Long Island. For he is also attracted by the beauty, the wealth, and the sophistication of "the wasteland", so at any rate, he is another dream seeker. However as witnessing Gatsby's tragedy, he realizes what has gone wrong with American dream from the beginning to the end. Thanks to the traditional moral conducts that rooted in him and his following his father's advice on toleration, he never get lost. Finally, he got the essential emptiness of American dream and achieves the penetration of Tom and Daisy's corruption, grossness, and cowardice. Nick does not make quick judgment, and thus is able to gain access to "many curious natures" The world of Gatsby is inhabited in main by three groups of people and Nick has contact with them all. So the function of Nick in this book can never be ignored. He is there to make the readers understand the roles in this book from an objective point of view and then get better comprehension of Gatsby's idealized love and the reality of the society. Both Nick and Gatsby in this novel emerge as moral symbol: Gatsby as the embodiment of spiritual desolation or waste, Nick as a hope for moral and spiritual growth.
 
2.2.3 Tom, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker's American Dream
 
In this book, Tom, Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker represent the corruption of American dream. Comparing with Gatsby, they were born with wealth and status but devoid of purpose. Daisy's lament is especially indicative of this: "What will we do with ourselves this afternoon?" cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and the next thirty years?"(Fitzgerald, 1).
Daisy Buchanan, is the dream and cause of his wasted dream. As a representative of those women who are not expected to be well educated, to work, and have developed a kind of parasitic dependency. Daisy is, however, physically attractive, romantic, and sentimental, but emotionally frigid, having a destructive influence on the man with whom she is associated. All her charm is just a gesture of life rather than a quality of living.
Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy, is ruler and representative of the moral wasteland that has replaced American idealism. All his bulky gestures tell us that in the moral wasteland, idealism is a source of weakness rather than strength; he devoted to nothing but the impulse of his own flesh and the demands of his own ego, completely regardless of any concept of either a moral code or a personal loyalty. 
For Tom and Daisy Buchanan, it is nothing worries about any potential crisis around them, for they have no moral responsibility at all. Whenever what happens, they will shield themselves with their upper class social status and retreat into their money or leave other people to clean up the mess they've made. 
Jordan Baker, at any rate, is no less a creature of the moral wasteland than is Daisy or Tom Buchanan. As a "lovely" girl who dresses in "white" and always seem to be "cool" and apathetic, Jordan Baker is an opportunist in her own way. Being a 23-year-old women's golf champion becomes involved with Nick during the course of the summer of 1922. She looks like "incurably dishonest" however, though Nick finds Jordan haughty and careless, he finds himself being attracted by her anyway. On the other sides, Jordan once "loved" Nick, for she had sensed the honesty and moral firmness in Nick's heart, and realized that only when staying with a man like Nike can she be free from the mess and continues to be on her own way. But in the end Jordan gets engaged to another man after not seeing Nick for a short time, leaving Nick angry and letting him realizes the same irresponsible exploitation in Jordan as that he sees in Tom and Daisy. Jordan's action seems to intentionally echo Daisy's leaving Gatsby to marry Tom five years ago.
 
Part III The Cause of Disillusionment of American Dream
 
3.1 The Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties
 
The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of discontinuity associated with modernity, a break with traditions. Everything seemed to be feasible through modern technology. New technologies, especially automobiles, moving pictures and radio proliferated modernity to a large part of the population. Formal decorative frills were shed in favor of practicality in both daily life and architecture. At the same time, jazz and dancing rose in popularity, in opposition to the mood of the specter of World War I. As such, the period is also often referred to as the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age, was, in the words of Malcolm Cowley, "not so much a historical period as a legend of glitter, of recklessness, and of talent in such profusion that it was sown broadcast like wild oats." It was a legend of "American adolescence before pain set in." Fitzgerald became "the angel of the twenties" and his writings those of a man inside that legendary period.#p#分页标题#e#
 
3.2 Social Environment and People factors
 
Another reason for the disillusionment of Gatsby's American dream may be people factors. Gatsby's love for Daisy was to the point of obsession, it was really touching, but he chose the wrong object to pay for their own love, Daisy was a secular, hedonistic money worshiper. She could never work hand in hand with Gatsby. And she would not pay a high price for the ideal, and make enormous sacrifices. Her life was of no true love, but cannot be without money. Gatsby's tragedy is that he has not been able to understand Daisy's motives, can not understand that she belonged to the complexity of the world. He only saw the world's surface, bright and elegant, but did not see it hidden in the cold and heartless. In order to protect their rights and status, people in this world has taken hypocritical means. 
In short, he loved the wrong person and did not wake up until he died. What always existed between him and Daisy was an unbridgeable gap between social status. He's life was such a tragedy which rooted in his blind pursuit of life and love and fantasy, as well as the lack of knowledge about the upper middle class society, where all the lofty spirit are gone. He started from scratch, but society was swallowed by the dark coldness. He would not take in any case struggle to Daisy and will not become part of high society forever.
Gatsby's failure, to some extent, has indicated the failure of the American Dream, his struggle is the embodiment of American spirit, the failure of him is the declaration of recession in the American spirit. His tragedy arose because he built his ideal on the illusion than reality, his desires to succeed, but when he realized the dream of money he fell into the spirit of the post-crisis. He preferred to escape in stead of facing it bravely. The competition between Tom and Gatsby was not only a battle between rivals in love, but also a battle between representatives of the two different social classes. So his failure is inevitable. The former lovers, Nick and Jordan, were the spectators of the whole story, they have witnessed this dirty and evil history. The height of material prosperity has brought desolation and twisted soul, which hidden under the appearance of carnival fun. The whole community is suffering from this mental illness --- a no way out of the loss and suffering. Therefore, the disillusionment of American dream has become a necessity.
 
Conclusion
 
After collecting information and completing this essay, we can understand better the appearance, development and disillusionment of Gatsby's love and dream. Now we can not only feel empathetic about Gatsby's intricate and pessimistic life, but also see the inhumanity and cruelty of society. 
Through this novel, Fitzgerald shows the collapse and disillusionment of people's dream, no matter what kind of concepts it has, money, social status or simply of happiness. The most catastrophic collapse, however, is the American dream itself. Here, heroes and heroines in this book including Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick and Jordan together serve as metaphors by Fitzgerald to reveal the paradox of American dream: when materialism is elevated into having spiritual values, it can only confuse its disciples. He also pointed that, for the reality of life can not compare to idealistic dream, as well as the ideals are usually far too perfect to be paralleled in reality. Then the collapse of American dream is unavoidable.
However, this novel is not only a criticism of the corruption of money on American dream. It is also an appealing for abandoning materialism and returning to traditional moral values. What's more, Nick Carraway, the narrator, provides a successful foil for the degradation of the American dream. He is the voice of morality and humanity in this novel and the only one who register the human loss and measures the disparity between Gatsby's unrealistic dream and the reality upon which it was based. 
All in all, this novel, The Great Gatsby, can be absolutely termed as the masterpiece of Fitzgerald. From it we can get some hidden information about the author himself. Fitzgerald said that sometimes he doesn't know whether he and his wife are real or they are just characters in his novel. This novel, actually, ensured Fitzgerald's position as a serious and talented writer. In more recent years Tony Tanner claimed it to be "the most perfectly crafted work of fiction to have come out of American."
 
Bibliography
 
Benson, Will. The Great Gatsby and the obscene word. College Literature, 2005.
Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. Penguin Classics, 1994.
Harbison, John. Where Is the Old, Warm World?, From the Great Gatsby. HAL LEONARD PUB CO, 2001.
Lauter, Paul, Richard, Yarborough, Jackson, Bryer, Charles, Molesworth & King-Kok,Cheung. The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume D:Modern Period (1910-1945). Heinle, 2005.
Malcolm, Cowley. What is the Meaning of the Jazz Age. New York University Press, 1986
Miller, James E. F. Scott Fitzgerald----His Art and Technique. New York University Press, 1964. 
TruslowAdams, James. The Epic of America. New York University Press, 1931
Burnam, T. A Re-Examination of The Great Gatsby. College English,1952.
Wang Qiong. The Narrative Technique in "The Great Gatsby" from the Point View of Narration. Journal of Huzhou Teachers College, 1996.
Wu Dingbai. An Outline of American Literature. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 1998. 
Yang Qishen. Selected Readings in American Literature, Volume 2. Shanghai:
Shanghai Translation Press, 1987.
Zhao Hongwei. The definition of American Dream 2003, Shanghai Language Education Press, 1998. 
杨慧群.菲兹杰拉德的小说了不起的盖茨比浅析.江苏广播电视大学学报, 2002.
Dai Yawa. On disillusionment of American Dream from the Great Gatsby. http://www.cfjy.net:1010/Teacher/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=1345, 2007.
此论文免费


推荐内容
  • 留学生作业:肯德基的道德管理...

    本文是一篇道德管理留学生作业。随着世界经济的繁荣,消费者在食物或服务方面,相比以前来说有了更多的选择。同时,从能力到建设和零售的市场竞争与前几十年先比是越来越激......

  • 美国作业范文:The cur...

    一篇简短的美国留学生作业范文,主要内容就是通过阅读资料分析全球货币战争主要涉及中国和美国,为什么会发生货币战争?货币战争的原因和影响。供参考。...

  • 美国课程作业-以美国沃茨骚乱...

    这是一篇美国留学课程作业。多年来,加州和洛杉矶已经成为社会混乱、骚动频发的地区。帮派竞争、就业歧视、警察暴力、种族歧视频繁发生。本文以美国沃茨骚乱和罗德尼·金起......

  • 美国留学生英语本科课程作业范...

    美国留学生,英语本科课程作业范文格式,The Details Comparison between Jasmine Life and Going Ashore,......

  • 美国会计专业作业指导 acc...

    会计学专业的学生很多都听过美国公认会计准则和国际财务报告准则,那么,这二者有什么联系和区别呢?孰优孰劣呢?本文是accounting essay范文,将对此做详......

  • 美国文化类论文作业指导:制定...

    发展是当今世界的两大主题之一,世界各国正抓紧利用这一战略机遇期不断提升自身的综合国力。...