The American dream is an idea that’s been sought after by America and Americans for centuries. “The American dream” is what drives people to come from all parts of the world to be a part of this new country without boundaries, where an individual’s imagination can touch the sky. However, the American dream has been castigated. In “The Great Gatsby” and “Of Mice and Men”, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck give their aversion on the American dream as a ludicrous idea in which leads to being morally corrupt and defeated.
First, both authors establish that chasing after the American dream is impractical. In the Great Gatsby, Gatsby wastes much of his life chasing after his ideal American dream but is unable to achieve it. For instance, Gatsby was already a millionaire, but his version of the American dream was Daisy. Fitzgerald establishes his opinions on the American dream when Gatsby stands on the end of the pier looking out across the lake. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way…and distinguished nothing except a single green light” (Fitzgerald 21).
This symbolizes Gatsby’s version of the “American dream” and establishes Fitzgerald’s opinion on the American dream. He reaches outward towards the green light on the opposite side of the lake, which the green light belongs to Daisy Buchanan, his American dream. Though he’s never capable of achieving it, Fitzgerald’s view on the American dream are shown as helpless and inadequate. In addition, On the books final page, the narrator stated, “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter…So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (Fitzgerald 180).
This states Fitzgerald’s opinion on the American dream. When analyzing the quote, Fitzgerald compares rowing the boat against the current to the American dream as stating you’re using all this energy to get nowhere. With that said, Fitzgerald has a sense of disbelief in the American dream and is fixated on it being a road of doubtfulness. Likewise, during the 1920’s the American dream was more fixated on one’s wealth
However, in “Of Mice and Men”, Steinbeck presents his opinion on the American dream. Similarly, Steinbeck sees the dream as overcoming a greater force while also overcoming the harsh reality of the American dream. Steinbeck’s view on the American dream becomes well established when George decided to kill Lennie while reminding him on their American dream. “For the rabbits, Lennie shouted…An’ you get to tend the rabbits…When we gonna do it? Gonna do it soon…He pulled the trigger…Lennie jarred forward, then settled slowly forward to the sand” (Fitzgerald 105-106). To point out, Lennie began to be excited thinking about his American dream when he was killed. In other words, this symbolizes the death of the American dream and how Lennie died without achieving it.
The American dream is what fuels people from across the world to come to America. In an outsider eye the American dream will and forever be possible. But through Fitzgerald and Steinbeck they share their opinions on the American dream as both unachievable and a false promise of success. Although one may come close to nearly achieving their American dream. It will never happen and it would lead to self-corruption.