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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

1309 words - 6 pages

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers. Fitzgerald uses the Roaring Twenties as the setting of this novel. The twenties were a time of promiscuity, new money, and a significant amount of illegal alcohol. Fitzgerald was a master of his craft and there was often more to the story than just the basic plot. He could intertwine political messages and a gripping story flawlessly. In the case of The Great Gatsby, he not only chronicles a love story, but also uses the opportunity to express his opinion on topics such as moral decay, crass materialism, individual ethics, and the American dream.
In The Great Gatsby Gatsby acquires all of his wealth so that in his mind he will be good enough for Daisy. Daisy never disagrees with this assumption and also has a very wealthy husband, leading one to believe that money is as important to her as other aspects of her partners. This crass materialism is still quite present today, perhaps even more so than it was then. If you look at many of the current wealthy and successful people of today you’ll regularly see someone who hasn’t done anything to contribute to society or even their own personal fortune. This idea is even reinforced by news outlets, an author from CNN stated, “For a variety of reasons, men earn more money than women, it's a wise move to marry someone who can provide for you and your family.”(Wakeman). These types of statements only serve to fortify the belief that poor boys can’t marry rich girls.
The novel shows how the rich can often shirk their own responsibilities, and do unethical things in the interest of self-preservation. Daisy hits Myrtle with Gatsby’s car and doesn’t even stop. She never feels a personal responsibility to confess to her crimes. Fitzgerald says in The Great Gatsby, “They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (Fitzgerald 188). These types of things can be seen today with rich people gaming the justice system and receiving either reduced or no sentences.
The 1920s were a period of unprecedented prosperity and wealth. It was also the time of the American Dream. In The Definition of the American Dream written by James Truslow Adams in 1931 he states, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.” Gatsby is the epitome of this idea in the novel. He is a young man who made a fabulous amount money out of very little. However, the circumstances surrounding Gatsby’s wealth highlight Fitzgerald’s skepticism of the American Dream that many sought after; an unending quest for success and wealth. It’s also worth noting that both Gatsby’s and Carraway’s pilgrimage to the east coast from the middle west was a part of their personal version of the...

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