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The Great Gatsby 4 Essay

1242 words - 5 pages

The Loss Of Innocence 'The Great Gatsby' is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. The language and prose utilized and the relevance Fitzgerald's themes continue to hold in our culture, even after 75 years. Among the many themes of 'The Great Gatsby' one remains prevalent: the loss of innocence. At the beginning of the novel Nick and Gatsby are men of morality and conscience in a time and place where neither is valued. At the end, one is dead and the other is embittered towards the corrupted world around him. A comparison can be made between the initial interaction between Nick and Gatsby and what transpires during the lunch when Gatsby challenged Daisy's feelings for Tom and the portion of the book after Gatsby's death. It becomes clear which events are responsible for the unfortunate changes in character we see in Gatsby and Nick.The first event is when Nick leaves the mid-west after he returns from the war, understandably restless and at odds with the traditional, conservative values that, from his account, have not changed in spite of the tumult of the war. It is this insularity from a changed world no longer structured by traditional values that had sent young men to war, that inspires him to go east to New York, where he endeavors to learn about the bond market. Nick settles in West Egg as a young, impressionable man hoping to rise with the times. Speaking as the narrator, he establishes himself as a hardworking American with 'advantages' with a strong family history and a belief in good moral values. It quickly becomes evident that the 'American values' that Nick was raised with do not run parallel to the American dream desired by so many, yet attained by so few. Nick's beliefs are demonstrated at the first of Gatsby's parties that he attended. '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. People were not invited - they went there. 'As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table'. As the desire to be accepted is universal, Nick realizes that he should act as careless as those who saw it fit to come uninvited to another person's home and disregard the host.When Gatsby's character is initially introduced, he is perceived as an innocent, good man doing what had to be done. After realizing that the acquisition of Daisy's affection was unrealistic if he is inferior to her in wealth and class, Gatsby sets out to acquire a fortune vast enough to impress her need for a life of luxury. He turns to the illegal bootlegging business, brought on by prohibition and the great demand for alcohol in the 1920's. While some may have seen this as dishonest, Gatsby sees it only as one step in the quest for love. Throughout his acquisition of fortune, Gatsby remains optimistic...

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