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Jay Gatsby The Dream: Charlie Wales The Nightmare

1639 words - 7 pages

Whenever a prospective writer enters their first workshop the golden rule is write what you know, even when it comes to less than realistic texts like Science Fiction. There might not be humanlike androids walking around, but writers can use their personal feelings of oppression and isolation to make the story flow and feel realistic. Realistic aspects of fiction is what makes stories attainable. This is even true when it comes to writers from the early 20th century; “Babylon Revisited” not only stands out a national story with the fall from the grace that was the Jazz Age, but is also the personal story of Fitzgerald’s fall from a Gatsby character to Charlie Wales.
The 1920’s was an age of prohibition, illegal parties and flapper culture. This era of time is marked as the Jazz Age, because of the big parties, fluidity of jazz music, and fast moving cultural boom. As a writer for this Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald created Jay Gatsby to be his symbol; “’Gatsby?’ demanded Daisy. ‘What Gatsby?’” (Fitzgerald 11). Gatsby was Fitzgerald’s enigmatic symbol of the American Dream, the symbol of a boisterous age, and most importantly an allegory for the decadence that America found in the time period. “Gatsby epitomizes the mystery and glamour of the future dream; without question, the struggle to fulfill a lofty unrealized conception of self is prominent American Values…” (Wilson). He was a metaphor to the struggle of becoming something in a society which declares that it is possible to climb up the ladder of culture. He stood as a symbol to the, what could be, of a self-made man. He was also a tragic character, “[he was], a figure marked by failure and shadowed by death throughout most of the novel, nevertheless, [he] achieves a form of greatness” (Will). Fitzgerald creates this tragic character of Gatsby, one that people can relate to, for the effect of grandeur. Gatsby made himself into a millionaire, he made himself into the world of money and parties; within this process he loses himself and everything he loves but manages to continue to be an “allegory for the course of the American Nation and for the struggle and dreams of its citizens” (Will). He manages to propel himself forward to the world of decadence and splurging that in the 1920’s was everything.
Then 1929 came and the world of Gatsby and self-indulgence came tumbling down as reality and the stock market crashed. The old ways of living were obsolete and just like Gatsby fell, as did Fitzgerald, “[he] thus suffered the same fall from grandeur which he had charted for his heroes…” and with the fall of Gatsby, Charlie Wales was introduced (Wilson). Charles Wales, is a Paris socialite who struggles with alcoholism and the death of his wife. At the time the audience meets him in “Babylon Revisited,” he is struggling with redeeming himself to get custody over the only thing he had not screwed up yet, his daughter. His daughter was the only thing that meant anything to him, “[b]ut Charlie did...

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