American Dream Essay

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What is the American dream? The American Dream is the idea that one can obtain a better a life through his or her hard work and determination. John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby describe the idea of the American dream and the struggles that come with it. In both fictional novels, the characters, though in different regions of the United States and of different status, still experience the same hunger, a hunger that craves for something better. Set in Long Island, New York during the roaring mid 1920’s, The Great Gatsby revolves around Jay Gatsby, a poor young man at first, who later works his way up through hard work. The Grapes of Wrath takes place in Oklahoma and California during the Great Depression and revolves around the Joad family and their quest to survive the rough times of the depression. The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath both depict the American dream both in good and in bad aspects and from two different perspectives. However, both are based on the same idea, being successful. Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby explores life in the early-to mid-1920’s. Politically speaking, this was a time of growth and prosperity. Economically, the 1920’s boasted great financial gain, at least for those in the upper class. The commercial growth of the 1920’s results in rampant materialism, as people started to earn more they spent more. People began to spend money on consumer goods such as radios, televisions, and cars at a rate never seen before. People also began to spend time and money on recreation and leisure. Professional sports began to grow in popularity, and movies and tabloid newspapers gained a foothold on America, helping everyone to share, in one way or another, in the growing materialism that categorized the Jazz Age. "I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was

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