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The Failed American Dream? Representation of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man


  • Johan Åkesson

Summary, in English

The American Dream has been a central theme of American literature since the early nineteenth century. The American Dream has subsequently become a tool for depicting the uniqueness of America. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925) and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) are two classic American novels, depicting the American Dream in different social and racial contexts. This essay examines the representation of the American Dream in these novels, focussing in particular on Fitzgerald’s characterisation and criticism of the consumerism of the 1920s, and on the themes of invisibility and racism in Invisible Man. The essay also considers the relationship between the protagonists of both novels and the liberal, capitalist American ideology, concluding that both protagonists suffer from a naïve and fatal belief in the American Dream.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • American Dream
  • Fitzgerald
  • Ellison
  • 1920s
  • USA
  • racism
  • social criticism
  • social equality


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)