The Amoral Quest in Search of the American Dream

Although both Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman have admirable ambitions and dreams, the ways in which they strive to achieve their goals follow principles that lack any moral compass. The young, adventurous Jay desires a lifestyle of ambiance, prestige, wealth, and status. Most importantly Jay hopes to re-kindle a lost love and share a life with his high school sweetheart Daisy. Similarly Willy hopes to become a well off and stable businessman. However, he also wants to satisfy his own personal goals as a man, and become well-liked by his fellow workers and friends. Both characters are exemplified by their na?Ÿ??ve pursuit of the American Dream. In both novels the American Dream is accomplished only by hard work while remaining well-liked in society. True fulfillment of the dream is measured by wealth, status, and an external appearance of happiness. Their constant struggles to achieve and sustain this dream full of emptiness and corruption that society had engraved in their minds as the ultimate goal eventually leads to their downfall. The youthful, optimist Jay Gatsby found his humble beginnings in North Dakota under the name James Gatz. Two major events in Jay’s life set the course for his future and what his dream will become. The roots of his deep desire for wealth and position in society can be traced back to his adolescence with Dan Cody. The powerful yachter helped to etch a goal in Gatsby that he too could find and live a lifestyle of the rich and upstanding. In addition his time shared with Dan helped spark what would eventually be a life of deceit and unrealistic dreams, for Jay was but a, “Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 104). The second half of Jay’s dream is to reconnect and find love with Daisy, whom he was forced to leave during the war. She accounts for a major component of his dream, Jay not only wants to get Daisy back because he loves her, but also because he needs to satisfy himself in knowing that he …

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