Forces of Corruption in "The Great Gatsby" by Fitzgerald

Essay by Lush1High School, 12th gradeA, January 1996

download word file, 2 pages 3.8

The theme of human corruption, its sources and consenquences, is a coomon concern among

writers from Shakespeare through J.D Salinger. Some suggest that it attacks from outside, while

others depict corruption occuring from within the individual. In the case if The Great Gatsby

and it's protagonist's fate, Fizgerald shows both factors at work. The moral climate of the

Roaring Twenties, Daisy Fay Buchanan's pernicious hold on him, and Jay Gatsby's own nature all

contribute to his tragic demise.

First, the loose morality of Dan Cody, Gatsby's unfortunate role model, and superficial

people who flock to Gatsby's parties contribute to Gatsby's downfall. Their examples encourages

Gatsby's interpretation of The American Dream- his naive belief is that money and social

standing are all that matter in his quest for Daisy. The self-absorbed debetants and their

drunken escorts are among those who 'crash' his extravagent soirees. As Nick Carroway tells us,

'People were not invited- they went there.'

(pg.40) Shallow, corrupt people like Jordan Baker

gossip with reckless abandon about their mysterious host. Their careless, superficial attitudes

and wanton behaviour represent Fizgarald's depiction of the corrupt American Dream.

Another force of corruption responsible for Gatsby's fate is his obsession with a woman of

Daisy's nature. Determined to marry her after returning from the war, he is blind to her shallow,

cowardly nature. He is unable to see the corruptiion whick lies beyond her physical beauty,

charming manner and playful banter. That she is incapable of leaving her brutal husband, Tom, of

commiting herself to Gatsby despite his sacrifices, escapes him. As Nick observes, Gatsby's

expectation is absuredly simple:'He only wanted her to tell him [Tom] that she never loved him.'

(pg.91) DAisy is not worthy of the pedestal on which she is placed. Since she is hallow at the core,

so is...