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However, in Chapters 7 and 8, everything comes crashing down: Daisy refuses to leave Tom, Myrtle is killed, and George breaks down and kills Gatsby and then himself, leaving all of the "strivers" dead and the old money crowd safe.Furthermore, we learn in those last chapters that Gatsby didn't even achieve all his wealth through hard work, like the American Dream would stipulate—instead, he earned his money through crime.
(He did work hard and honestly under Dan Cody, but lost Dan Cody's inheritance to his ex-wife.) In short, things do not turn out well for our dreamers in the novel!
Thus, the novel ends with Nick's sad meditation on the lost promise of the American Dream.
We will explore how this theme plays out in the plot, briefly analyze some key quotes about it, as well as do some character analysis and broader analysis of topics surrounding the American Dream in plot Key American Dream quotes Analyzing characters via the American Dream Common discussion and essay topics Our citation format in this guide is (chapter.paragraph).
We're using this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, so using page numbers would only work for students with our copy of the book.
To find a quotation we cite via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball it (Paragraph 1-50: beginning of chapter; 50-100: middle of chapter; 100-on: end of chapter), or use the search function if you're using an online or e Reader version of the text.
The American Dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of race, class, gender, or nationality, can be successful in America (read: rich) if they just work hard enough.
We learn about Gatsby's goal in Chapter 4: to win Daisy back.
Despite everything he owns, including fantastic amounts of money and an over-the-top mansion, for Gatsby, Daisy is the ultimate status symbol.
In any case, the novel, just by being set in the 1920s, is unlikely to present an optimistic view of the American Dream, or at least a version of the dream that's inclusive to all genders, ethnicities, and incomes.
With that background in mind, let's jump into the plot!