Colette Simon

Dreams vs. Reality: A Psychoanalysis of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman
Literary Theory
Volume 8 | Issue I | March 2024
The Pingry School ’24
New Jersey, USA
My essay examines the nuanced portrayal of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, employing a comprehensive analysis rooted in Freud’s psychoanalytic theories. In my senior-year English elective Advanced Topics in Literary Studies, I learned about different literary theories and had the opportunity to write a research paper. I was immediately drawn to Freud’s psychoanalysis and incorporated the approach into my analysis of the important themes in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman – two books I enjoyed reading in my past English classes. While I knew it was a unique topic, I couldn’t imagine my work being novel research that no one else had examined before as I learned that sources on my research topic were scarce. I realized that my work might be good enough to publish only after finishing my paper, and I submitted it to The Schola. I hope my research makes a small contribution to the academic discourse by offering a nuanced psychoanalytic perspective on two seminal works of American literature, enriching the understanding of the psychological complexities involved in the elusive American Dream. While I learned a great deal from the research, my primary academic interest is biology. I am part of an independent research team at my school and participate in a few biology clubs. Besides academics, I have played volleyball since I was twelve and helped start the volleyball program at my school.
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