Conciseness Of American Society In 1920s, “The Great Gatsby”

1837 words - 7 pages

The novel by Scoot F. Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby” is a well written synopsis of 1920s societal dynamic in America. The book follows the protagonist Nick as he describes the life and society in New York. He meets a man by the name of Jay Gatsby, who lives his life around only one desire to be reunited with love of his life Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby's quest leads him from a peaceful existence to WW I, from poverty to great wealth, from separation to the arms of the women he loves, and eventually to death. The author uses the story to portray the state and changes in the conscience of American Society at that time period. The stratification of societal class, the disillusionment with the idea of the American Dream, the preoccupation with wealth, the decays of morality with all the lies and deceits, the changes in women role and principles of marriage were all the part of Societal consciousness in the 1920s. Scott F. Fitzgerald effectively uses setting, plot, conflict, dialogue, and imagery in the novel to reveal societal stratification, disillusionment in the American dream, dominance of moral decays, changes in societal norms and values, as part of the conciseness of American society in the 1920s.
The United States in the 1920s is characterized by economic growth and economic prosperity in big cities. During this time some people became very rich, self-made millionaires. While the “Old Wealth/Money” was mostly inherited and belongs to aristocrats, the “New Wealth/Money” was created by people who did not have any aristocratic pedigree, but had a drive to become rich. The "Old Money" families had fortunes dating from the 19th century or before, had powerful and influential social connections, and tend to hide their wealth and superiority behind a veneer of civility. In the novel, the “Old Money” represented by East Egg and associated with Daisy and Tom Buchanans, with their inheritance and social position. The "New Money" class, who made their fortunes in the 1920s boom, has no social connections, and tends to overcompensate for this lack with lavish displays of wealth. In the novel, the “New Money” represented by West Egg and is associated with Jay Gatsby, his extravagant mansion and his self-made fortune. Although, they are separated only by a small creek and both are very wealthy neighborhoods, these two places are very opposite in what they represent. And of course, the majorities were people with “No Money” and in the novel they were represented by the Valley of Ashes. The author uses novel setting and imagery to illustrate the social stratification in the American Society in the 1920s.
“The Great Gatsby is offering a vivid peek into American life in the 1920s. Fitzgerald carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups and by creating distinct social classes — old money, new money, and no money — Fitzgerald sends strong messages about the elitism running...

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