This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Failure And The Degeneration Of America In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1099 words - 4 pages

  The Great Gatsby is a bold and damning social commentary of America

which critiques its degeneration from a nation of infinite hope and

opportunity to a place of moral destitution. The novel is set during the

Roaring Twenties, an era of outrageous excesses, wild lavish parties and

sadly, an era of regret and lost potential. As the audience, they take us

on a journey guided and influenced by the moral voice of Nick Carraway, a

character who is "simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the

inexhaustible variety of life." Nevertheless, when Carraway rejects the

East, returning to the comparatively secure morality of his ancestral West,

we realize that gaiety was merely a thin facade, and that behind it lurked

a hideous ugliness that penetrated to the essence of the human spirit.

 

      It was during the Jazz generation that the common man, a man no

different to James Gatz, pursued the glowing icons of his age. As religion

gradually faded away, it was money that had become an object of veneration.

The desire to become wealthy was parceled in the form of the American Dream,

a savage ideal that was fundamentally flawed from the outset. The fallacy

of the American Dream cursed all who aspired to its promises while the

upper class enjoyed the luxuries that accompanied their status, exploiting

those below them as a means to reaffirm their superiority.

 

      Consequently, James Gatz, under the influence of characters like

Dan Cody and Meyer Wolfshiem, underwent a self-transformation to become

Gatsby, a new man who was founded on his "Plutonic conception of himself."

As the embodiment of idealism and innocence, Gatsby strives to create order

and purpose yet he is faced with hostile surroundings and thus his attempts

to are futile. All Gatsby wants is to seize the green light in his fingers

but light is intangible, and like Gatsby's dream, it will always remain

beyond his grasp. Gatsby is trapped in a state of timelessness where his

future is an illusory reflection of this past. His unbridled imagination

has created a world in which reality is undefined to itself and thus

through this wilderness of illusions, Gatsby attempts to realize the

possibilities of life. Such was the "colossal vitality" of Gatsby's

illusion that he believed that his social status could recreate the past.

"Why of course you can," was his automatic response. Yet once the "party

was over," reality begins to dominate and tragically, Gatsby falls to his

demise. Gatsby finds himself in a world "material without real" and as he

"looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves... he found what

a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely

created grass." Confronted by reality, Gatsby realizes how disgusting it

really is compared to his world of illusions. Yet while the "whole ...

Find Another Essay On Failure and the Degeneration of America in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Gatsby, Nick, Tom, and Daisy in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

957 words - 4 pages Center. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 14 Jan. 2014. Roulston, Robert, and Helen H. Roulston. "The Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's Opulent Synthesis (1925)." The Winding Road to West Egg: The Artistic Development of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lewisburg, Penn.: Bucknell University Press, 1995. 155-169. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Jelena Krstovic. Vol. 176. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

Symbols and Symbolism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

620 words - 2 pages Symbolism in The Great Gatsby Symbolism is able to produce immense emotions. Fitzgerald applies symbolism to three of the most significant characters in "The Great Gatsby" to illustrate incisive sentiments. Fitzgerald's description of Tom Buchanan's colossal house signifies Tom and his values. The red and white colors of the Buchanan's mansion represent Tom's personality. Red customarily exemplifies impurity and boldness, while

The Pathetic Jay Gatsby of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1374 words - 5 pages The Pathetic Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby       Pathetic is a term used to describe someone who is pitifully unsuccessful.  Success is not necessarily measured in wealth or fame, but it is measured by how much one has accomplished in life.  A successful person is one who has set many goals for himself and then goes out in life and accomplishes some of them, but goes on living even if failing on others.  In the

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

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Expression of Temptation, Deceitfulness, and Jealousy in The Great Gatsby

1757 words - 7 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby was a remarkable book. Fitzgerald Made the characters of the book as real and as personal as possible. Three characteristics stood out in the novel to me. Tom’s Jealousy of Gatsby relationship with his wife, Gatsby’s lies about who he is and his life, and Daisy’s ways to tempt Gatsby to fall in love with her. The novel was inspired by the way he fell in love with his wife Zelda. The novel The Great

Gatsby, Nick, Daisy in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

910 words - 4 pages Jay Gatsby is the main character in The Great Gatsby. He is the mysterious character that the story revolves around. Nick is his neighbor that gets invited to Gatsby’s party that set in on Gatsby being a mysterious person that has so many people talking about him and talking about different stories about Gatsby that unravel how big of a mystery Gatsby is. In The Great Gatsby, “Gatsby’s notoriety, spread about by the hundreds who had accepted

Gatsby and Daisy, Tom and Myrtle, and George and Gatsby’s Relationships in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1229 words - 5 pages After Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom leave Tom’s house along with Nick and Jordan, they end up going to a suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City (Fitzgerald 178). Tom starts arguing with Gatsby about Gatsby’s bad habit of calling everyone “old sport.” This leads to him accusing Gatsby of lying about Gatsby actually attending Oxford. Gatsby gives him permission to ask him any question he would like after he informs Tom that he went to Oxford for

Character Analysis of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1273 words - 5 pages In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the main character, Jay Gatsby, is a man who is wealthy and mysterious and who is trying to achieve the American dream. He is obsessed with and in love with his neighbor Daisy Buchanan. Jay Gatsby moves in across from Daisy Buchanan in a huge and fancy mansion. He hopes to lure Daisy in by having constant parties. He never wins her back because he never really had her to begin with. Gatsby’s behavior

Jay Gatsby's Illusions in Fitzgerald’s American classic "The Great Gatsby"

761 words - 3 pages In life, what we perceive tends to show misconception in how the thought plays out. A good example would be the character Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic: The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was unable to distinguish between his love for Daisy, a reality, versus the illusion that he could recapture her love by establishing and inventing a fraudulent past. He believed he could repeat the past, and acquire a flaunting wealth. In the

Double Vision in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

705 words - 3 pages depended on Fitzgerald’s ability to transfer the vision he had himself to the reader. This idea dealt with the ability to believe in the possibilities of several opposite ideas at different levels of abstraction. Fitzgerald’s wish was for the reader to believe that Gatsby would and would not win Daisy. He must believe that anyone in America, through hard work and perseverance, can and cannot gain access to the best that America has to offer. Until Daisy

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - The Power of Money

678 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby and the Power of Money In the preface to Major Barbara, the playwright George Bernard Shaw observes that "money is the most important thing in the world--it represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty," but, the poet continues, "it also destroys people as certainly as it fortifies and dignifies others" (Shaw 28). Shaw recognized that many people look toward money, the ultimate representation of materialism

Similar Essays

Failure Of The Capitalist Ideal In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1089 words - 4 pages  The most striking element in Fitzgerald's demystification of the world of the capitalist ideal is not the human insecurity and moral ugliness bred by the fever of glamour but the absolute failure of the work ethic quite literally to deliver the goods. Only the upper ten percent of the population enjoyed markedly increased income in the 1920s, for as Spindler notes, by 1929 perhaps 50,000 individuals received half of all national share

Destruction Of Dreams, Failure Of Dreamers In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1517 words - 6 pages Jay Gatsby, the protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is used to contrast a real American dreamer against what had become of American society during the 1920's.  By magnifying the tragic fate of dreamers, conveying that twenties America lacked the substance to fulfill dreams and exposing the shallowness of Jazz-Age Americans, Fitzgerald foreshadows the destruction of his own generation. The beauty and splendor of

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Essay

1290 words - 6 pages those ten months of intense writing, he thought his way back to the parties, quarrels, hopes and disappointments of his life with Zelda and their friends on Long Island in the feted and fateful year of 1922” (Harris). When Fitzgerald was writing the book he remembered his entire lie with Zelda which helped inspire him while he was writing The Great Gatsby. Kenneth has stated, “The Great Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s best work, his most highly

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Essay

841 words - 4 pages In the book The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald discusses Gatsby. Gatsby was a very strange and mysterious man. According to Doreski, “Gatsby was far from perfect in many ways but all in all it contains such prose as has never been written in America before” (Doreski). Gatsby always throws very fancy parties that everyone attends. “I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited