Most people have heard about “the American dream”, a concept which builds on the Declaration of Independence, which says that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
But the big question is: “Does the American society give the right opportunities to pursue the American dream”? In “The Great Gatsby” by Baz Luhrmann 2013, we are presented to a man, who is determined to live “the American dream”, but then he’s faced with social structures, which almost make it impossible for him to outlive this dream.
In the film we are presented with several different characters, each of which presents a different part of the society. The first character we are presented to is Nick. Nick is a person who acts through his morals and shows sympathy for the people around him.
He represents the middleclass in society, makes his own money and cares about other people no matter what classes they are in. Nick, on the other hand, is the one who tells the story of Gatsby. Use is made of a personal narrator who switches between an inner and outer point of view.
The way Nick tells the story, functions as a personal memoir of his experiences with Gatsby in the summer of 1922. Then we have Tom. Tom is an arrogant, self-centered man, who sets himself before everyone else.
Daisy is a lady who builds her power on her choice of partner and who uses her beauty to gain control. Her actions are committed to what is best for her. Both Daisy and Tom represent the upper class in society, especially Tom is representative of the higher social classes.
Tom never had to fight to achieve anything since his family was so wealthy. Tom and Daisy are together in a disloyal marriage, since they both have affairs beside. Tom has affairs with other women, which makes Daisy feel less loved.
They have a superficial relationship, where their personal catastrophes keep repeating. Another man who represents the higher social classes is a man called Jay Gatsby. Gatsby starts out as a young and poor lieutenant, who fell in love with a rich girl called Daisy but is being sent into military service during World War 1.
When Gatsby returns, he tries to build wealth and success to win her back. Gatsby is a very mysterious person, where no one knows anything about his personal life or past. Gatsby was born into a poor family in North Dakota.
He always had a dream of achieving something more with his life, that ended in the pursuit of wealth and ascension of the social ladder. Then we have the lower class, which is represented by Wilson and Myrtle, which both are used by the upper class.