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"Great Gatsby" By Fitzgerald And "Death Of A Salesman" Critical Analysis . Material Wealth Leads To Corruption? Death Of A Salesman And Great Gatsby Are Allegorical Representations?

961 words - 4 pages

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald repeatedly criticizes the American society, during a period where all Americans believed that material wealth would derive happiness and fame. Fitzgerald is showing that in the Jazz Age, people in America were delusional and had meaningless existences. These criticisms and objections of this notion are expressed through the portrayal of several unique characters.These pivotal characters are Midwesterners who have sprawled East in pursuit of this notion of deriving fame, success, respect, and happiness from material wealth. All these characters are, in one way or another, attempting to achieve a state of happiness in their lives. The main characters are divided into two groups: the rich upper class and the poorer lower class.Tom and Daisy Buchanan together are representative of the rich upper-class. They seem to have derived happiness from the American Dream; however, though their lives are full of material possessions, they are bored with their bare existence. They acquired their wealth from 'old money', and their lives have had little purpose or meaning. Fitzgerald ironically reinforces this notion by placing these wealthy characters in "eggs" which are symbolic of growth and a new life. However, in reality there are no realistic possibilities for them. They "drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together", suggests that life holds no possibilities once achieving the material dream. In an attempt to negate this sense of boredom, Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson to seek personal fulfillment and as a diversion from this loss of identity.This is directly a key comment which the composer is trying to convey. Willy and Gatsby are the accurate portrayals as victims of the American Dream. They both reveal the notion that humans are attracted to this idea of material wealth as a means for the solution to the negativities in life. The physical and human environments are attributing factors to the failures and demise of each one of these characters.The pressures of humans in society force Gatsby to change his social status and it forces him to compete with the upper-class. He bought a "factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy," to compete with the "white palaces of the fashionable East". It is clear that Gatsby changed his name and possessed symbols of material wealth in order to gain acceptance by society, in a plea to win back Daisy. However, Gatsby's symbols of material wealth are scarred by Daisy's usage of them as instruments of evil. His luxurious "yellow car" is used by Daisy to kill Myrtle, and it also indirectly leads to his tragic death at his mansion. This shows the devastating consequences of following the American dream.There is also this same symbol in Death of a Salesman, with the idea of the "small, fragile-seeming home," with the "hard towers of the apartment buildings rising into sharp focus". Willy Loman...

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