2nd Edition: Disillusionment with the American Dream

One of my absolute favorite themes (and one of the most frequent in our national literature) is the disillusionment with the American Dream. Whether it comes wrapped in the guise of the failure of interpersonal relationships, the inevitable imperfection of the past, or just blatant raving against illusions of grandeur, I will unfailingly enjoy the beautifully worded tragedy  unfolding on the page.

“No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“People were standing up everywhere shouting, “This is me! This is me!” Every time you looked at them they stood up and told you who they were, and the truth of it was that they had no more idea who or what they were than he had. They believed their flashing signs, too.” ~Philip Roth, American Pastoral

“Why didn’t I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

“He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“No one forgets the truth; they just get better at lying.” ~Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

“Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know–because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot, and when I got it it turned to dust in my hand.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned


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