The Great Gatsby: American Dream Concept Sample Assignment

Introduction

The American Dream is based on the assumption that, according to Benjamin Franklin, the American society is meritocratic, and thus with hard work and honest dealings, anyone could achieve wealth, economic security, and community respect. As such, the industrious and honest could achieve love, wealth, power, and high social standing, with materialism being the guiding principle. However, this dream is not as realistic as painted in rhetoric concerning what people could achieve in the US. The movie, The Great Gatsby, satirizes this dream by showing that it is an illusion that cannot be attained. Wealth is not always a product of hard work as many have achieved it through corruption and other immoral means. As is evident in the film, The Great Gatsby, Franklin’s assertion that the American Dream is available to all people is incorrect because Gatsby fails to achieve wealth through hard work, but later gains it corruptly, George and Myrtle Wilson have no access to the dream regardless of their industriousness, and Tom and Daisy antagonize the dream, even though they are rich.

Failed American Dream in the Film

Gatsby is the protagonist in the film and he embodies what many would refer to as the achievement of the American Dream, but it is an illusion – his wealth is not from hard work. Based on flashbacks from the film, Gatsby comes from humble beginnings having been born in a poor farming family. This background presents the perfect environment for the realization of the American Dream because Gatsby can work hard and become successful. Dan Cody, a wealthy man, employs Gatsby and he works hard for his employer to the point that Cody leaves him some wealth after his death. However, Cody’s wife takes everything from Gatsby. Therefore, through his hard work, Gatsby does not achieve any wealth. He can only admire the rich as depicted. However, when he moves to New York, Gatsby engages in an illegal business of bootlegging with mobsters in the city, which explains how he gets his fortune.

He has all the wealth that he could have ever wanted and every material thing that comes with it including top-of-range cars and mansions. He can afford to throw expensive parties every Saturday night because he has the money and the means. However, even after achieving what would be considered the American Dream, Gatsby is not contented – he yearns for more wealth, which explains why he wants to marry Daisy because she is from a wealthy background. As such, based on these arguments, it is clear that hard work does not necessarily lead to the achievement of wealth as depicted by Gatsby’s time working for Cody. On the contrary, corruption and illegal activities, such as bootlegging are a sure way of gaining wealth, which is against the spirit of the American Dream.

Quote: “Gatsby’s real name was James Gatz. His parents were dirt-poor farmers from North Dakota, but he never accepted them as his parents at all. In his own imagination, he was a son of God, destined for future glory” (Luhrmann) [Nick Carraway on Gatsby].

Similar to Gatsby, George and Myrtle fail to realize the American Dream despite their hard work. George is a representation of an ordinary industrious American man trying to chase the American Dream. He owns a shop, an embodiment of entrepreneurship, and he works for hours on end to ensure that his business grows. He cannot quit this miserable life and move west because he does not have the needed money for such a venture. Therefore, he does not access the level of success that he desires and thus he remains poor, with the elusive American Dream hanging on the horizon. On the other hand, after realizing that his husband’s business cannot bring them wealth, Myrtle seeks alternative ways. She starts an illicit affair with Tom solely because he enjoys generational wealth having been born into “old money” (The Great Gatsby). The available avenue for her to realize the American Dream has nothing to do with hard work, but everything to do with laziness and bootlicking. She endures abuse and ill-treatment from Tom as long as she continues enjoying the finer things in life that come with wealth. In the end, both Myrtle and George die terrible deaths, and none achieves the American Dream as far as the movie is concerned. Therefore, to George and Myrtle, the American Dream remains an illusion that is only available to the rich, like Tom, and the corrupt like Gatsby and Mayer Wolfshiem – the two associates in the bootlegging business. As such, the American Dream as envisioned by Franklin is a fallacy that does not exist, at least not for George and Myrtle.

Quote: “I married George because I thought he was a gentleman” (Luhrmann) [Myrtle talking about George’s inability to gain wealth].

The promise of the American Dream is hollow and unattainable, as depicted by Tom and Daisy Buchanan. The allure of this dream is hinged on the assumption that once someone has become wealthy, he or she enjoys life, finds love, and raises a family in opulence. However, Daisy and Tom, even though they have generational wealth, also known as “old money”, they are unhappy and bored with life. The Buchanans lack every attribute that is promised in the American Dream. They are lazy without dreams, life goals, and social values. Tom is engaged in an extramarital affair with Myrtle. He cannot find the happiness associated with the American Dream, which is synonymous with wealth accumulation. He lacks the will or skills to take care of his wife and family, and thus he does not command the societal respect associated with such levels of wealth. Similarly, Daisy is not contented with life, and thus she seeks happiness elsewhere. She is involved in an illicit love affair with Gatsby. In addition, these two did not achieve their wealth or American Dream through hard work – they were born in aristocracy, and thus they do not need this dream. Therefore, the American Dream is an illusion, under this context because the promise of happiness does not exist, and thus Franklin’s argument is wrong.

Quote: “Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved” (Luhrmann) [Tom talking to Daisy to justify racism, which underscores his lack of social values].

Conclusion

The film, The Great Gatsby, is a satirical critique of the idea of the American Dream. This paper has shown that Franklin’s claim that the American Dream is accessible to anyone who is willing to work hard and engage in honest deals is wrong. Gatsby toils for the Codys but he does not become wealthy. He only manages to attain riches through illegal business. Similarly, George does not realize the American Dream despite being industrious at his business. On the other hand, Myrtle resorts to bootlicking, which is the only plausible way to taste riches. Therefore, as represented in this film, the American Dream is an illusion and Franklin erred in assuming that it could be achieved.

References

Luhrmann, B. (2013). The Great Gatsby [Film]. Warner Bros.

Juvenile Justice. Parens Patriae Policy

In the contemporary world, every government has to have particular policies that protect the rights and freedoms of people who do not have enough power to stand for themselves. The British principle, which is called parens patriae, gives governments the authority to act as legal protectors for children whose parents cannot raise them properly (McKee, 2016). The logic behind creating this policy was to give states a possibility to intervene in the process of children’s upbringing in case their legal guardians prevent them from being healthy both physically and mentally (McKee, 2016). Underaged citizens are more vulnerable, and their choices are limited; therefore, governments need to ensure that children are cared for and protected (Bal, 2017). Consequently, parents patriae is an essential concept that takes into consideration the needs and privileges of those who do not have enough power to make personal decisions.

The parens patriae policy is highly connected to the modern U.S juvenile system. Juvenile justice is the field of criminal law applicable to young people who cannot hold responsibility for criminal acts (“Youth in the justice system,” n.d.). For this reason, the concept of parens patriae is used to allow governments to participate in the process of young criminal’s rehabilitation. Since the foundation of the first juvenile court, the system criminal significant changes and advancements (McKee, 2016). Originally, juvenile court proceedings were informal, and the verdicts ranged from verbal warnings to imprisonment in detention facilities (McKee, 2016). Nowadays, the U.S. system focuses on developing programs that give children an opportunity for change and development (“Youth in the justice system,” n.d.). Hence, it can be stated that parens patriae allows the contemporary juvenile system to act for the good of young criminals, protect them, and raise children as exceptional citizens of the U.S.

References

Bal, R. (2017). The perils of “parens patriae”. Georgetown Law. Web.

McKee, A. J. (2016). Criminal justice: An overview of the system [eBook edition]. Booklocker.

Youth in the justice system: An overview. (n.d.). Juvenile Law Center. 2020. Web.

The Bank Of America On The Verge Of Substantial Changes

Introduction

The Bank of America is on the verge of substantial changes, as during the 2007-2008 crisis, the organization made inadequate investments and acquisitions. The recent estimations show that the Bank lost almost $40 billion, which negatively affected the growth margins and caused loss of stakeholders’ trust. In this case, the immediate changes are needed to improve financial performance and relations with stakeholders.

Problems and Issues

Loss of Capital on Acquisitions

The primary issue is that the Bank lost a significant amount of capital during the crisis. The problem is primarily connected to the acquisition strategies and collaborations with other financial institutions (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). The Bank of America made weak analyses and projections on how the market will be developing during and after the crisis.

Unfair CEOs’ Payments

Another issue is that the senior management received substantial paychecks even during the crisis. In some cases, generous bonuses and salaries were not supported by accurate and beneficial decisions so that stakeholders became concerned why CEOs’ paychecks are continuously growing without evident enhancement of the Bank’s financial performance (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). As a result, the changes within management was made; however, the current Bank’s capital is still declining.

Company Analysis

Internal Analysis

The internal analysis shows that the Bank’s strength is based on its competencies to make advanced strategic decisions. Such a reputation was built before the crisis, as the institution made several successful collaborations, investments, and acquisitions. This tactic assisted the Bank of America to lead the market and show an upward trend on growth margins and share prices. On the contrary, the primary weakness of the Bank is that it does not have adequate tools to manage performance and decisions made by CEOs (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). The Bank does not accurately analyze and audit solutions and their outcomes so that during the crisis, the financial devastation has happened.

External Analysis

While other banks and financial institutions collapsed during the crisis, the Bank of America saved most of its subsidiaries, assets, and partnerships. Such a situation opens new opportunities for the Bank. It can acquire more market share if the ongoing years are profitable and increase the Bank’s capital. The organization can re-invest funds into new services, client bases, and markets so that the sales margins start to grow (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). Nonetheless, the Bank’s primary threat is the risk of being under fees and investigations from the market regulators. In the case of inadequate decisions, the Bank risks collapsing and losing most of its capital.

Recommendations

Banks seek to improve operational efficiency while maintaining or improving customer service. The Bank should complete the transition from the transformation in response to changes in the regulatory environment to changes through innovation to reduce the impact of a potential downturn on financial performance and increase business resilience (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). Considerable investment in process and infrastructure optimization is needed to ensure real efficiency across the organization. The following priorities for development and investment in new technologies should be noted:

  1. Increased competitive positioning and increased market share;
  2. Expanding customer engagement and retention methods;
  3. Reduce costs and increase operational efficiency;
  4. Decreasing cyber-risks on increasing accounting activities;
  5. Getting access to new business models.

Banks’ investment in customer-centric technology is primarily focused on user interfaces. The bank should also continue to invest in in-depth data analysis projects to improve efficiency and find ways to increase revenue. The bank needs to understand how current technologies can improve operations efficiency. In the future, primarily due to increased competition, the bank will need to keep its costs 30% lower than today (Rothaermel & Burt, 2012). As the case study shows, the bank needs to focus on expanding its market share by meeting customer needs, including by offering innovative products and services, as well as optimizing tariff policy.

Besides, the Bank should enhance its accounting cycles to regain sales and profitability. The significance and importance of the accounting cycles are based on their capability to navigate the company through its financial activities. There is no clear standard in the distribution of finances, and each financial balance is guided by its priorities (Kehoe et al., 2018). If the Bank wishes to satisfy the needs of its customers as much as possible, it should increase the stock of products in the warehouse. Such action means that resource utilization will also increase.

Expensive fixed assets against capital are also inefficient. For example, the bank should withhold acquisitions if risks or uncertainty is high and spend capital on more profitable and risk-free projects. It is better to utilize money to improve the quality of products or services (Kehoe et al., 2018). If the company invests less in its business activities by taking more investment risks, the profitability will be higher.

It is essential to find the right balance between the desire to improve the growth margins and the risk of losing everything through bankruptcy to profit and raise capital. As a result, the Bank of America can consider these recommendations to enhance financial operations, decision-making processes, and relations with stakeholders. In return, the well-balanced actions and strategic moves should assist the Bank in regaining capital and reputation.

References

Kehoe, P. J., Midrigan, V., & Pastorino, E. (2018). Evolution of modern business cycle models: Accounting for the great recession. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 32(3), 141-66.

Rothaermel, F. T., & Burt, C. (2012). Bank of America (in 2010) and the New Financial Landscape. Harvard Business Review, 1–26. McGraw-Hill Education. Web.

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