The American Dream is originally about the discovery of happiness, but by the 1920s, this dream has become perverted into this desire for wealth by whatever means; mistaken that money will bring happiness. F. Scott Fitzgerald does not us the words “American Dream” in the novel, The Great Gatsby, but it is evident that he shows the impossibility of achieving happiness through the American Dream. Fitzgerald demonstrates through symbols and motifs the impossibility of the American Dream.

Cheating (Motif)

Represents the shallow quality of the characters’ lives thus signifying the hollowness of the American Dream. The wealthy have everything but still not happy. However, cheating is not limited to solely the rich class, as it is present in all social classes. All the relationships in the novel contain a motive or purpose. For instance, Tom has an affair to satisfy his boredom, and escape from his relationship at home.
 “I supposed the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well if that’s the idea you can count me out . . . Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.” (Pg 123-124) This statement is hypocritical because Tom is cheating himself, but will talk about family morals when his own marriage, and subsequently American Dream, is threatened. On the other hand, Myrtle uses Tom in order to escape the Valley of Ashes and to use him as her path to the American dream of excessive living. Daisy cheats in order to receive the attention and admiration Tom has been neglecting her of. Finally, Gatsby wants Daisy in order to fulfill his American Dream. However he does not realize that he only wants the idea of possessing Daisy, and the image he has of Daisy as the beautiful young girl every man desired before the war.