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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Presentation Of Class And Responsibility In His The Great Gatsby And Other Works

1934 words - 8 pages

If there is one aspect of personality and character that connect the wealthy and privileged in the The Great Gatsby it is the lack of responsibility that they take for their own actions. This lack of responsibility stems from (or perhaps gives rise to) a sense of complete and utter boredom.

Tom and his wife Daisy Buchanan, the woman whom Nick accuses of “incurable dishonesty” Jordan Baker, Gatsby’s mentor Dan Cody, and the gambler Meyer Wolfsheim are all examples of people that have been corrupted by money, or (depending on your viewpoint) have abused the power of money to suit their own ends. Daisy Buchanan, who perhaps embodies the monied classes more than any other person in the novel (particularly as “her voice has money in it”), was born into wealth and has since cemented this further with a marriage described as the “finest Louisville had ever seen” to another person of equal or even greater wealth and (what a some would call) a pedigree to match. This has helped to create in her character someone who is utterly indifferent to life, her wealth has made her too disconnected from what Fitzgerald considers real life. Daisy Buchanan’s cosseted upbringing is shown particularly in Jordan’s description of Daisy’s life in Kentucky. She speaks of Daisy’s “artificial”, “pleasant” world which is awash with “cheerful snobbery”. These points are all significant, and we’ll return to them later, but the key part of this sentence is that for Daisy the “orchestras... set the rhythm of the year, summing up the sadness and suggestiveness of life in new tunes”. The phrase “summing up” , arguably, lends itself to suggesting one of two things; either that the events of life make either such a superficial impression on Daisy that she requires reminding of them musically or - in my view, a more likely explanation - that Daisy doesn’t just need reminding of them; she needs to learn them afresh. The facilitation of fashion for the benefit of Daisy’s privileged class is also shown in Winter Dreams from the short story collection. When Dexter Green’s father is described as owning the “second best” grocery store, I would argue that is suggests that the speaker is in a position to consider the level of goods (perhaps even how “fashionable” a store is) which could certainly indicate a the narrative voice in this story at least (notwithstanding similarities with Nick) as a member of the middle class. Alternatively, it could simply suggest the cultural domination of the rich.

Similarly, Daisy and Jordan are described as “buoyed” in an almost balloon-like way as if they had “just been blown back in”. The word “blown”, as well as referring to the breeze going through the room could just as equally suggest that the women are without a concrete purpose and what they will do does not depend on conscious decision but other factors deciding the matter for them. Perhaps this wouldn’t have cause the reader to form a particularly damning impression if it wasn’t for the fact that...

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