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The Great Gatsby

Uploaded by knoxville on Feb 23, 2004

During the 1920s, a new materialism emerged out of society’s desperate search for meaning after World War I. When the young soldiers returned from the war, they found that their previous way of living had little importance. Rather then finding a reason for what they thought of as their mere existence, they immerged themselves in money and wanton spending and consuming. The Stock Market and organized crime became popular ways to feed the hunger for wealth. In his novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays this materialism and regard for money as the downfall of American society during the 1920s. He uses the characters and places in his novel to represent the different facets of this new mentality. Nick and Gatsby are examples of the World War I veterans who searched after money and status. The guests at Gatsby’s parties symbolize the clamber to gain wealth. Fitzgerald uses the disparities between the East and West Egg to portray the differences between the aristocracy and the newly rich.

The character of Jay Gatsby is the main example of Fitzgerald’s point. He is a World War I veteran who seeks wealth in order to impress his love. However, this goal is completely hopeless. The woman of his fancies is Daisy Buchanan, who is married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby has convinced himself that it is possible to win back his old love from the past. Gatsby has a way of turning his hopes into his own reality, no matter how impossible they may be, as demonstrated by the following quotation.

The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end. (The Great Gatsby, page 104)


This is exactly the kind of lifestyle that Fitzgerald is warning against living. Trying to make a life the way it was in the past is futile. Gatsby turns to crime in order to impress Daisy, which just makes his...

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Uploaded by:   knoxville

Date:   02/23/2004

Category:   Great Gatsby

Length:   5 pages (1,120 words)

Views:   20067

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