The American Dream was described by James Truslow Adams in his book, The Epic of America as, “…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (Adams 214). Perhaps, we have taken the idea of “richer” too literally. There is not a renewed desire to better oneself in order to better society or improve life for future generations as there was in the past. Now, in order to achieve the American Dream, many believe that they must own a home, drive a nice car, wear the best clothes, live a life of luxury and money. Money is the necessary means to happiness. This idea of the American Dream seems to be more about keeping up with the Joneses than achieving equal opportunity for all. However, although we may believe that material items equate to happiness and the achievement of the American Dream, novels like, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, both prove that money cannot buy happiness, and that perhaps money impedes the achievement of the true American Dream.
- Paper Presentation
When thinking of the “American Dream,” many tie in materialistic desires. This presentation looks into how The Great Gatsby and Fight Club explain materialism in 20th century fiction, and how the fixation on material goods may not lead to the achievement of one’s “American Dream” after all.