.. distribution increased their share of the national income. Labors share of the national income did not rise at all, and workers suffered from unemployment. By implication, then, the decade differed little from earlier ones (431). This shows why George Wilson and others like him remain in a slump and do not prosper in business, whereas people like Tom Buchanan, have an increase in their yearly earnings. It almost seems that the statement; “hard work does not always equal success” was a false statement in the 20s.
If a person only looks at the top five percent of the income bracket, they may be right. However, if a person were to look at the other ninety-five percent, this person would see that the statement is true. The only way anyone made money in the 20s was by participating in “speakeasies” or by “bootlegging” and both were illegal. Another distortion of the American Dream in the novel is through marriage. Generally, when people get married it is because they love one another, but in The Great Gatsby, the upper classs weddings are mainly for social purposes.
In the upper class, weddings are similar to how high school seniors pair up for prom, they make sure the Prom King and Prom Queen attend the Prom as a couple. Seen as the “perfect” couple, these two people compliment each other in every way. In the novel, when Nick Caraway is visiting his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, it is obvious that they are not truly in love but they are married because their social standings make them perfect for one another. While Nick is visiting, Daisy and Tom invite him to stay for dinner. While dinner is going on, Tom receives a telephone call.
Daisy knowing who it is becomes very upset and leaves the table. It is then that Jordan Baker, another guest, informs Nick about Toms affair. She tells Nick that, “Toms got some woman in New York” (Fitzgerald 15). Tom having a mistress in New York shows how unfaithful he is in marriage. Adversely having an affair was not uncommon in the 20s, knowing this one can tell that the morals of the time were not very strong.
Shown in the movie Night after Night, are the loose morals of the 20s. The once-rich society flapper, with whom Raft falls in love, is roughed up by him and told that she is just another dame with a skirt on. The only difference between her and a cheap girl is how she manicures her nails. (Allen 87) Throughout the 20s, men used and disrespected many women because they felt they women were inferior. Women have long since risen above this and can be very demanding of the respect that they deserve. Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald is trying to convey that there is more to life than one could possibly understand.
He shows that not everyone can be successful, have a happy marriage or even have enough money to survive in life. He is showing that the American Dream is not attainable when one sets it as a dream, but if one sets it as the American Reality, it is possible. One should set realistic goals for life, not ones that are nearly unattainable. Instead of wishing, to be like Bill Gates when one graduates college, one should set his/her goals to becoming an above average worker. One should also never give up his/her goals once they are set.
An example of never giving up on your dreams/goals stated in the novel is: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that is no matter tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms father..And one fine morning—–” (Fitzgerald 182). Americans today still believe in the Dream to some extent. They believe that if they work hard and apply all of their effort, they can become a great success in life. However, today there is still a distortion of the American Dream. Everyday there is thousands of marriages.
These marriages are to symbolize the true love that two people show for each other. In marriage, one promises to stay faithful and to remain with their partner through all experiences. Nevertheless, to counter the bonds of marriage, there are hundreds of divorces each day. According to the Stepfamily Foundation, “one out of two marriages ends in divorce.” Another distortion of the Dream is peace. The following quote comes from a trivia box in Russell Ashs book The Top 10 of Everything 1997.
“There are countries with worse murder rates than the United States, but nowhere in the world has as many murders each year” (68). In 1997 there were approximately 24,000 murders, giving the United States a murder rate of nine murders per 100,000 people. Still today, many people are under the impression that the American Dream is unattainable. These people are correct. The American Dream has always been unattainable, thus the word dream.
If people would create an “American Reality” rather than an American Dream many of their goals could and would be achievable. Americans need to understand that not everyone can become a multi-millionaire overnight or even in their entire life. They need to think realistically and set their mind on practical goals. Hopefully, one day, people will understand that impossible goals are impossible to reach and that is why those goals are called the American Dream. Bibliography Allen, Frederick Lewis. Only Yesterday An Informal History of the 1920s.
New York: Harper & Row, 1931: 87. Ash, Russell. The Top 10 Of Everything 1997. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 1996: 68 Douglass, Robert. “For Granted”. New York Times, 5 March 1938:19 Fitzgerald, F. Scott.
The Great Gatsby. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1986: 18, 25, 89, 182 Lebergott, Stanley. The Americans An Economic Record. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, 1984: 431. Lofas, Jeannette. The Statistics are Staggering. N.P. Online. 7 Dec.
. Marc, David. “Fitzgerald, F(rancis) Scott (Key)” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99. 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation: N.P.