Great Gatsby vs of Mice and Men

Jeff Wang
Ms. Penfold
July 18, 2014
The Death of the American Dream
Essentially everyone has dreams, dreams of love, freedom and happiness. These dreams can be powerful enough to motivate an individual to push through hardships and struggles. However many of these dreams are impossible to achieve in reality and the pursuit for these dreams can lead to disappointment and corruption. In Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald the illusion that is the American Dream is explored. The main characters in both novels begin to question the American Dream after their experiences throughout the novel. Nick, in The Great Gatsby realizes that the American Dream is a façade after observing issues with pursuing the past whereas George, in Of Mice and Men, realizes that the American Dream is a façade after his attempts to pursue the future.
Nick starts to wonder if the American Dream really exists after witnessing Gatsby’s failure at pursuing the past, whereas George first starts to have doubts after he is forced to run away from a town because of Lennie’s actions. When he first meets Gatsby, Nick believes that Gatsby has achieved the American Dream. However after he hears Gatsby complain about Daisy, Nick believes that Gatsby will never fulfill his dreams:
He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’ […] – Just as if it were five years ago. ‘And she doesn’t understand,’ he said. ‘She used to be able to understand – He broke off and began to walk up and down a desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded favors and crushed flowers. ‘I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ (Fitzgerald 91)
Daisy disappoints Gatsby because she could not live up to his expectations of her, it is disappointing to him that she doesn’t understand anymore. Gatsby has unrealistic demands of Daisy such as discarding four years of her life so that Gatsby can be with her...