Compare The Morality Of The Values Displayed By Societies Represented In "The Great Gatsby" And Mrs. Dalloway.

1954 words - 8 pages

How different was the American Dream from the English equivalent? The values of the societies represented within The Great Gatsby and Mrs. Dalloway tend to be superficial in the respect that people's morals are confused and shallow. The nature of the American Dream varies, there is no obstinate definition but it usually involves the 'ideal' American life as fed by the media. In the 1920's this could be having children, owning an admirable amount of land with property, perhaps owning a small business, a car or two and being well off enough to throw parties and be generally carefree. The British equivalent of the time would have been much more socially structured, not dissimilar to how it was in America prior to the war. Material possessions were desired but would have meant less if the family were not regarded as being of high class or importance. Class was hard to move between, so people became more concerned about reviving their youth. In America, the vigorous rise of the stock market in the aftermath of the war led to a sudden, sustained increase in the national wealth and a newfound materialism, as consumerism ascended at unprecedented levels. Anyone from any social background could now, potentially, make a fortune. But conflict arose between the American aristocracy, families with inherited wealth and the newly rich industrialists and speculators. To identify the dilemmas faced by those living in the 1920's it is important to look at factors affecting the everyday life in the aptly named 'Jazz Age', as defined by Fitzgerald.Jazz is a style of music characterized by a strong rhythmic under structure, blue notes, and most importantly an improvisation on melody and chord structure. The improvisation is the key feature in the naming this period of time. It was a time when pre war idealism became strong again and image outweighed the authentic. Jim Morrison of the band The Doors said 'Twentieth-century culture's disease is the inability to feel their reality. People cluster to TV, soap operas, movies, theatre, pop idols and they have wild emotion over symbols. But in the reality of thief own lives, they're emotionally dead'. Although the generation written about in both texts were not so much emotionally dead as emotionally lost, people did cluster to false idols and dreams. Gaudy parties are good representations of the social chaos. Jay Gatsby and Clarrissa Dalloway are both well known for their parties within each novel; the parties offering hope and a solution to peoples lives at the time.The English society's snobbery is very much linked to social class and status as represented by Peter's judgement of Richard. "That was his first view of Richard--a fair young man, rather awkward, sitting on a deck-chair, and blurting out 'My name is Dalloway!" "He was a thorough good sort; a bit limited; a bit thick in the head; yes; but a thorough good sort." Richard's 'sort' or class made him acceptable when he may have been considered a social write off by...

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