The Corruption of the American Dream: Character Analysis: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and "Of Mice And Men" by John Steinbeck

Essay by redheadkHigh School, 11th gradeA-, May 2004

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The American Dream is known to many as the desire for a better life, be that politically, religiously, economically, or simply the overall quality in one's life. For years, Americans have been chasing this dream. The British came to the New World in search of gold and wealth. Immigrants have been coming to America from all other parts in the world in search of a better life, whether they are escaping religious or political persecution, trying to find wealth, or looking for better job opportunities. There are four major beliefs of the American Dream: the belief that everyone can participate equally, the belief that it is reasonable to anticipate success, the belief that success is a result of individual characteristics and that actions are under one's control, and the belief that success is associated with virtue and merit (Berry Notes).

There is a strict structure of the social classes in American culture.

At the top is the upper class, which are future oriented people who believe they have control over their own destiny. The women in this class hold an equal status with the men. They find that public service is important, and they value their independence. Next comes the middle class, which are people who are future oriented and control their own future as well. They are concerned in getting ahead and self-improvement, and to do this they sacrifice the present for the future. The people in the working class have little interest in the future and are oriented to the present. They have little confidence in the ability to shape their own future, and instead are focused on having a good time rather than getting ahead. The lower class citizens live from day to day with little to no interest in the future. They believe that things happen...