American Lit., Block 6
10 May 2011 aristocrat
The Great Gatsby v. Death of a Salesman
The American dream is to have a family, a house, a car, and a steady income. Immigrants come to American to leave their depressing lives, in hopes of achieving this shared dream. By accomplishing this dream, they hope to gain happiness and to climb up the social ladder. However, the American dream has flaws, because by achieving the dream you have not necessarily achieved personal happiness. In The Great Gatsby and “The Death of a Salesman,” Fitzgerald and Miller illustrate the flaws of the American by portraying the downfall of capitalism and the corrupt ideas of success.
First, Fitzgerald uses the setting to criticize the idea of capitalism. Fitzgerald uses the area called the valley of ashes to signify the losers of capitalism. Nick describes the valleys of ashes as “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.” (23) This shows how the valley of ashes is a poverty-struck area filled with ashes that come from New York City. The city is a place for the rich to both work and play, like Tom and Nick. They are the winners of capitalism because they have a steady income from their work and can afford to have fun in the city. However, the ashes from the cities that goes into the valley of ashes, which shows the other product of capitalism. The people who live in the valley have to clean up the ashes of the city. This illustrates how they have to clean up after the rich, so they are the losers of capitalism. Thus, the poor people living in the valley reside in dismal houses with a low income, like Wilson and Myrtle. Fitzgerald is showing that as a result of the rise of the number of people trying to gain wealth, there will...