The Great Gatsby Essay

1210 words - 5 pages

Francis Scott Fitzgerald grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota in a middle class family where he was exposed to the lavish of the upper-class, but he did not have the financial means to make that lifestyle his own. Fitzgerald became famous overnight with the publication of his first work, This Side of Paradise, published 1920. His long writing career commenced with his position as a writer for The Saturday Evening Post. Fitzgerald, in 1924, wrote The Great Gatsby, a novel detailing the American Dream. The setting of this novel was in Fitzgerald's own time; as such the reader sees Fitzgerald’s own views on his world. Fitzgerald uses this work to showcase the values he embraced in his own life, such as materialism and the enchantment of affluence, which are clearly portrayed through the characters of The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920's, under the backdrop of World War One. Europe had been dealt a large and all-encompassing blow during the war, a blow which hurt them not only physically, but also spiritually. Yet, America, untouched by the grip of war in our infrastructure saw this point as a time to increase material holdings. The 1920’s are best known for the trend of large economic expansion not only for the corporation, but also the consumer. From 1920-1928 American’s enjoyed a spending power that was unknown to them in time before. Americans believed business paved the road to riches; as such, materialism grew. The Great Gatsby taking place during the times of Fitzgerald is inseparable to the story because this setting illuminates the essence of the characters. Much of the story takes place in the West Egg and East Egg, two locations on Long Island. Tom and Daisy Buchanan, the prime models of the steady upper class, reside in the most affluent area of Long Island: East Egg. They are content to live on their inherited riches, and survive on their upper-class financial plan. The Buchanan’s lack the showiness that Gatsby is characteristic of.
Jay Gatsby and Nick reside in West Egg; both have accumulated wealth through their labors, yet they do not have the class and intelligence to match their prosperity. If you view them from a moral standpoint, East Egg and West Egg both bear natural faults, whether it is snobbishness or bareness. In general, the setting is directly related to the main theme of the story: the American dream, in the sense that each character, based on their residence, tries to prevail themselves greatly into the faux realm of riches.

The Great Gatsby is a work that portrays the American dream while at the same time criticizes the notion. Nick Carraway, the narrator, is introduced as a functioning character of the book. He finds out that Gatsby, his neighbor, had a previous relationship with his cousin Daisy that ultimately broke due to his deficit of money. Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties where they forge a friendship. After a while, Nick discovers that Gatsby needs a favor: he wishes...

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