In the 1920s, new materialism emerged from a society’s desperate search for meaning in the wake of World War I. When the young veterans returned home from battle, they discovered that their previous way of life was meaningless. Instead of finding a purpose for what they regarded as their only existence, they immersed themselves in money and wild spending and consumption. Organized crime and the stock market became popular methods to satisfy people’s desire for money.
In his novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts this materialism and regard for money as the downfall of American society during the 1920s. He uses his characters and settings in his work to represent various aspects of this new thought process. Nick and Gatsby are examples of World War I veterans looking for money and status. The guests at Gatsby’s parties represent the desire to acquire wealth. Fitzgerald utilizes contrasts between East and West Egg to show how aristocracy differs from the newly wealthy.
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The character of Jay Gatsby is a good example of Fitzgerald’s thesis. He is a World War I veteran who wants money to impress his beloved. However, this objective is futile. Daisy Buchanan, whom he loves in the past, is married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby believes that he has a chance of regaining his former love. Gatsby has an unusual talent for convincing himself that things are feasible even though they may seem hopeless, as shown by the following quote.
The fact was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, grew out of his Platonic idea of himself. He was the son of God—a phrase that, if it has any meaning at all, means just that—and he must devote himself to serving a vast and meaningless beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old could imagine, and he stayed true to his conception up until the end. (The Great Gatsby, page 104)
This is the kind of lifestyle that Fitzgerald was warning about in his works. Trying to live like it used to be is futile. Gatsby resorts to crime in an attempt to impress Daisy, which makes his position even worse. While Gatsby believes he’s working hard toward regaining Daisy’s affection, he’s really just living in a make-believe world. His life isn’t about living it; rather, it’s about trying to fulfill an unattainable fantasy.
Gatsby throws enormous, lavish parties to try to pique Daisy’s interest in order to win her back. Gatsby never bothered to develop genuine friendships since his aim in life is to get Daisy back. Instead, he invites the affluent and distinguished inhabitants of West Egg and East Egg. These guests are intended to represent the two sides of New York’s wealthy classes. The members of this group are all from West Egg. They are part of America’s wealthy class who have prospered through the stock market and organized crime. Members of this class come from East Egg aristocracy.
Fitzgerald incorporates them both to illustrate that while they may appear to be distinct, the two groups have the same difficulties with their lifestyles. Both are motivated by acquisitive goals and have no genuine meaning in life. They’re both engaged in a fast race to amass as much money as possible, but for what purpose? To obtain social status, the visitors attempt to seem significant; however, other than that, they have no real function for what they do. According to on Fitzgerald, one of the reasons why New York society is flawed is because of this.
Another example of how Fitzgerald uses the West Egg and East Egg to illustrate a contradiction between current and historical money is highlighted. The West Egg, which includes a group of newly wealthy people, strives to join the traditional aristocracy, whereas the East egg, who refuses to accept them because of their stubbornness, does not want to be part of it. The idea that they need to be accepted into the aristocracy in order for being significant is stuck in the mentality of the West egg.
The East Egg feels they are already significant, and the new upstarts are not as essential as they. Both are harmed by the fact that they both desire money and importance. Nick Carraway is a young man who goes to Yale University after gaining his education and then joins the war effort in Europe. When he returns, he sets up home on West Egg to pursue his passion for finance. Fitzgerald employs him to express personal beliefs.
Nick represents the opposing forces on the East Coast. He values his exciting and pleasurable lifestyle on one hand. However, he also understands that such a way of life is harmful and negative. Nick makes mention of New York’s property in the following passage. Even when the East stirred me most, even when I was most conscious of its superiority to the dull, sprawling, bloated cities beyond Ohio, with their endless inquisitions that spared only the children and the elderly—it had for me a leaning. (The Great Gatsby, page 184-185)
The residue of the people’s lifestyle is what he means by distortion. The people’s avarice and self-invented importance give a grotesque undertone to New York City life, which appears attractive from the outside. He understands that individuals in New York attempt to live their lives in order to avoid an internal struggle with their ethical principles, in which they are concerned that they will realize the futility of their existence.
At the end of the novel, when he understands this, he returns to Minnesota to live a more conventional lifestyle. This is meant to indicate Fitzgerald’s view that America should return to an older moral code. Fitzgerald makes a statement about society on the East Coast during the 1920s through these people and locations. After World War I, the quest for money and significance emerged from a search for meaning. The Great Gatsby was written to show that this avarice had poisoned American society, morality, and ideals.
Individualism and the desire for happiness were at the heart of his ideal society. He felt that society should be built on the American dream, which Fitzgerald depicts in Chapter IX as a quest for discovery, individuality, and pleasure. He also believed that money had tainted these concepts. The exterior of The Great Gatsby is a story about a thwarted love affair, but it is actually an important social commentary from the 1920s.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the main character is named Gatsby, and he falls in love with Daisy Buchanan, who is married to Tom Buchannan. He fantasizes about one day when they will be together. To become the man he believes would impress Daisy, Gatsby has worked hard. Despite having a magnificent home, a substantial income, and wild parties, he is without the lady he yearns for: Daisy. Even though Nick helps him get Daisy because she is his cousin, it deals with Gats on getting Daisy due to her relationship with Nick.
During a get-together arranged by Nick and Gatsby, Daisy is invited over for tea, and she sees Gatsby. It appears as if time has stopped for a second while they look at each other, both thinking something. Then Gatsby tramples over Nick’s clock, signifying that he is running out of time to try to recapture what he and Daisy have lost. Fitzgerald illustrates the absence of spirituality in this novel with Jordan Baker Jay Gatsray, Myrtle, and G. Wilson’s lonely and careless personalities.
The Valley of Ashes, in which Myrtle and George Wilson reside, is the most prominent location in The Great Gatsby where spirituality is lacking. It’s a dreary, desolate territory with just one structure: a car garage. While driving around Tom and Nick stop by the valley to pay Myrtle a visit. “It was about halfway between West Egg and New York…a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and wonderful gardens” (27).
The corruption of values and the loss of spiritual life are two major concerns. Here, the traditional ideas about God and religion are no more; as a result, the readers can sense it. The novel’s lone God-like image is a billboard with Dr. T. J. Eckleberg’s advertising glasses’ eyes, which suggests that traditional views on God and religion are no longer viable here.
In this context, Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes represent the fact that God and religion have taken lesser importance than previous gods who possessed abilities such as wealth, status, and greed. Dr. Eckleburg represents God, but Nick says that the sign on which it is written warns readers that even though God may be watching over His people, he is being ignored in this book, which is represented by the decaying billboard: “his eyes had dimmed somewhat with many paintless days beneath the sun and rain” (28).
The owner of the automobile repair shop in the Valley of Ashes is Wilson. When Nick initially meets Wilson, he characterizes him as a “blonde, soulless man” who works on automobiles (29). Wilson makes his money operating machines. Machines are devoid of life; Nick Wilson and Wilson himself lack life.
Carelessness implies a lack of spirituality since it denotes recklessness and, more often than not, no concern for rules or consequences. The disregard for others that is demonstrated throughout this novel most certainly comes through driving. When Nick tells Jordan that she is “a rotten driver…either you should be more cautious or you shouldn’t drive at all” (63), he is expressing his frustration with her dangerous driving.
When it comes to her attitude towards other drivers, Jordan protests that she is a cautious driver but clarifies: “they’ll stay out of my way” (63). If she believes others will keep out of her path, that shows a lack of care for other motorists and only concern for herself. Say she meets someone else who shares the same attitude. When Nick told Jordan that “it takes two to make an accident,” she was right (63).
Nick remarks that Gatsby tries to keep himself hidden even at his own parties, “my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on marble steps and looking from one group to another with appropriating eyes… I wondered if the fact that he was not drinking allowed him to stand out among his party guests” (54). He is rarely seen among his visitors; most of the time, he simply watches them.
Gatsby is a lonely soul, but there was some romantic speculation between him and Daisy at the hotel after she admits to Gatsby that he demands too much. Tom ends the quarrel by telling Daisy: “Go on [to your house in Gatsby’s car]… I believe he now understands his thoughtless little flirting is over” (142). This scene marked the conclusion of Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship.
This is a tough concept for Gatsby to grasp since he has spent his entire life yearning for Daisy. Nick sees him outside one day with his hands stretched out in front of him, “stretched out… toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling…” I glanced seaward and saw nothing except a single green light.”
Nick didn’t realize that light was on the end of Daisy’s dock, so he built his house where he did so he could see Daisy’s. Even Nick understands that believing Gatsby thought he had lost the old warm world and paid a high price for living too long with a single dream is difficult to accept, and he comments, “he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.”
“He must have looked up at an unknown sky through frightening leaves and shivered” (169). There was no refuge for Gatsby. Wilson’s existence revolved around Myrtle, just as Gatsby did around Daisy. All Wilson can think about after she is murdered is revenge. Once he kills Gatsby, Wilson has no further purpose in life, so he decides to kill himself because without Myrtle he will be unable to function. In contrast, Gatsby believes that Daisy never loved Tom and that there was still hope for him and his one true love until the day he died.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the subject, Jay Gatsby, is barely described as a character. The reader formulates his own opinion of the individual throughout the course of the narrative. It was intended by Fitzgerald to foster doubt about Gatsby. Despite his questionable qualities, there was a cause for describing Gatsby as “great.” This reason isn’t easily apparent but rather lies in his driving ambition and tenacity. From the start of Gatsby’s characterization, he is driven by Daisy’s expectations.
Nothing was invincible. Gatsby’s exceptional quality is that he possesses this trait. He may appear to be innocent in culture and society of carelessness and irresponsibility. Unlike other people who simply exist to amuse themselves, he did not acquire riches for himself but for Daisy. His parties are an excellent example of his desire to achieve his ambition instead of shallow entertainment. Gatswe frequently conducts thrilling parties with fascinating guests, at which no expense is spared, although he rarely makes an appearance at them himself. This implies that he does not want to have a good time; rather, he wants what she has: her dream.
Myrtle Wilson is a figure that does not have an impact on the plot on her own, but rather through her actions. The reader initially thinks she’s a “wicked” woman because of Tom’s affair. She appears to elicit feelings of compassion and empathy after further study. Because she has some of Gatsby’s qualities, she seems to evoke feelings of sympathy and pity. She isn’t a “bad” person; rather, she is pursuing her ambition, just like Gatsby did. They were both chasing a dream: for Gatsby, it was to belong in high society; for Wilson, it was to join the ranks of the rich and famous.
Myrtle was not Tom’s mistress because she was unfaithful to her spouse; it was a way for her to realize her ambition for a prosperous existence. The reader also feels sorry for Myrtle since she almost appears pitiable when standing in Wilson’s basement with all of Wilson’s magnificent possessions on display. She has decorated her tiny flat with opulent things to suggest riches, much like Wilson did when he displayed his collection at home. When Tom and Nick paid a visit to Wilson’s house, she made a point of emphasizing that she didn’t care how she looked.
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald explores a number of themes. Is it nearly autobiographical is one of the major themes in many of his works. There are several parallels between Gatsby and Fitzgerald. Gatsby’s money is deemed filthy and does not belong with the old money types, but he constantly tries to conform in order to impress a lady.
Both men had no money, but only impressed the lady they were pursuing if they were wealthy. They are both strikingly similar. Both males would stay with their aspirations and be tenaciously determined. When Fitzgerald was informed that poor boys don’t marry rich women, he wouldn’t give up and kept striving. Gatsby made constant attempts to win Daisy’s affection even after finding out she was already married to someone else.
For nothing, Fitzgerald was not considered one of the finest writers of his time. He had a strange rapport with writing that most individuals can’t comprehend. He was incredibly skilled, and no part of his work could be called subpar by any stretch of the imagination, but he excelled at description by far. It’s difficult to characterize how Fitzgerald creates. It has an ethereal feel to it, almost as if it’s coming from another dimension.
Prepositions in sentences like “because,” or with phrases like, “in case it’s not obvious,” and so on will function as the hinges of a door. He will use words to describe things or people’s feelings that are “around” it, leaving the reader to complete what is meant to be said. Many of his writings may be interpreted as simple, but when placed in context with additional study, they offer many different layers and meanings. People can interpret his writing in various ways and still get the same enjoyment out of the book. An example of something that has been discussed above is:
“When we pulled out into the winter night and real snow began to stretch out beside us and twinkle against the windows, and dim lights of little Wisconsin stations passed by, a piercing wild brace filled our lungs with delicious air. As we strolled back from dinner through the cold vestibules, unutterably conscious of our connection with this nation for one strange hour before melting entirely into it again, we took deep breaths of it.”
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald mentions carelessness. The people he has referred to as imprudent are generally affluent. They are unconcerned about the consequences of their actions. They do what they want for as long as it lasts, regardless of who or what they harm along the way. Everything has a price tag to them; they can acquire pleasure and friendship without feeling empty in the slightest degree. Because they think their money gives them more status than others, they do what they want. Careless implies this behavior.
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