The indictment of America in 1925 : a comparative study of The great Gatsby and An American tragedy

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Julia Irene Lindsay (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
James Ellis

Abstract: Critics generally agree that the presentation of the American dream in The Great Gataby and An American Tragedy is an indictment of American society. Pew critics, however, acknowledge the similarities in characterization, theme, and conclusion between these two novels. Using a close reading of the texts and critical opinions of the two novels, this paper points out and examines the deficiencies in the American social system seen by the two authors and the means they use in indicting that society. Jay Gatsby and Clyde Griffiths represent aspiration in America. Both Clyde and Gatsby struggle to achieve wealth and the glamorous life of the wealthy. Fitzgerald and Dreiser suggest fully the extent to which each of their protagonists will violate law and morality in the pursuit of their dreams. Finally, the indictment of American society may be seen in the failure of Gatsby and Clyde to achieve their dreams and the destruction of both characters. Since the novels were both published in 1925, it seems that, unknown to each other, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Theodore Dreiser were uniting to form a kind of American archetype showing the impossibility of achieving the American dream of wealth, success, and glamor.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1969
Fitzgerald, F. Scott $q (Francis Scott), $d 1896-1940 $x Criticism and interpretation
Fitzgerald, F. Scott $q (Francis Scott), $d 1896-1940. $t Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald, F. Scott $q (Francis Scott), $d 1896-1940 $x Characters $x Men
Dreiser, Theodore, $d 1871-1945 $x Criticism and interpretation
Dreiser, Theodore, $d 1871-1945. $t American tragedy
Dreiser, Theodore, $d 1871-1945 $x Characters $x Men

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