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Analysis of Corruption in Nick Carraway of the Great Gatsby

Analysis of Corruption in Nick Carraway of the Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald's dominant theme in The Great Gatsby focuses on the corruption of the American Dream. By analyzing high society during the 1920s through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, the author reveals that the American Dream has transformed from a pure ideal of security into a convoluted scheme of materialistic power. In support of this message, Fitzgerald highlights the original aspects as well as the new aspects of the American Dream in his tragic story to illustrate that a once impervious dream is now lost forever to the American people.

The foundation qualities of the American Dream depicted in The Great Gatsby are perseverance and hope. The most glorified of these characteristics is that of success against all odds. The ethic of hard work can be found in the life of young James Gatz, whose focus on becoming a great man is carefully documented in his "Hopalong Cassidy" journal. When Mr Gatz shows the tattered book to Nick, he declares, "'Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great for that.'" (pg 182) The journal portrays the continual struggle for self-improvement which has defined the image of America as a land of opportunity. By comparing the young James Gatz to the young Benjamin Franklin, Fitzgerald proves that the American Dream is indeed able to survive in the face of modern society. The product of hard work is the wistful Jay Gatsby, who epitomizes the purest characteristic of the American Dream: everlasting hope. His burning desire to win Daisy's love symbolizes the basis of the old dream: an ethereal goal and a never-ending search for the opportunity to reach that goal. Gatsby is first seen late at night, "standing with his hands in his pockets" and supposedly "out to determine what share [is] his of our local heavens" (pg 25). Nick watches Gatsby's movements and comments:

"-he [stretches] out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as I [am] from him I [can swear] he [is] trembling. Involuntarily I [glance] seaward-and [distinguish] nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might [be] the end of the dock." (pg 25)

Gatsby's goal gives him a purpose in life and sets him apart from the...

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Category:   Great Gatsby

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