The fall of the American Dream in the Queen of Versailles, The Great Gatsby and Blue Jasmine

Chung Chin-Yi


Greenfield, Fitzgerald and Allen have critiqued what is essentially the hollow and morally barren nature that is at the heart of the pursuit of the American dream which is to grow in wealth and accumulate property and possessions in a consumer society. At heart their critique is the morally bankrupt nature of material pursuits and the morally empty characters who inhabit the sphere of great wealth. It is apt then that T S Eliot had written to Fitzgerald that his novel was the first advance in the American novel since Henry James, because the idea of a spiritual wasteland very much informs Fitzgerald’s critique of capitalist society and the empty nature of the American dream of attaining and amassing wealth. To this end the critique holds of modern capitalist society and the hollow, meretricious ideals that underpin much of it. Fuelled by cheap money and greed thus, the Siegel’s fall symbolizes the corruptibility of the American dream and its turn to wealth as a religion and false idol which finally fails them. With their wealth dwindling away and the realization they have no savings for their children’s future, the Siegels show that wealth is fleeting and transient and will fail you and leave you spiritually and morally impoverished and controlled by greed and lust for more possessions. There is no love in the family, David says his family does not comfort him and it is clear he is tired of his beauty queen wife who is left clueless in their financial struggles and just seeks more lavish beauty treatments.The spiritual poverty of the Siegels and their dysfunction

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