The Great Gatsby

Essay by kevspaceyA+, January 2008

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In this essay I will focus on the twin themes of materialism and social status that overlap and intertwine in Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.

The myth of the American Dream refers to the idea that one's prosperity depends upon one's own abilities and hard work and not on a rigid class structure. It is a key motivation for achieving great accomplishments and goals. However, when affected with wealth and greed, the dream becomes empty and meaningless.

In the twenties, after the First World War, the American society undertook a radical change and social reform took place. As a consequence of the increasing wealth in society, there was a visible decay in morality and virtue, contributing to the corruption of the American Dream.

Fitzgerald makes a harsh critique to this materialistic society that spread the moral corruption in “The Great Gatsby”.

In the novel, the central story is the love triangle formed by Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby.

However, there are other relations between Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker, and Myrtle Wilson’s affair with Tom.

Gatsby is the son of a poor farmer from Minnesota. He is an ambitious and determined man, who “had committed himself to the following of a grail", his only goal whatsoever is to regain Daisy’s love. About Gatsby's idealization of Daisy, Nick says that "Daisy tumbled short of his dreams because of the colossal vitality of his illusion", showing how Gatsby’s naivety and inability to deal with reality makes him fatally idealistic. Gatsby has an “extraordinary gift of hope” and his pursuit of his dream forced him to scrupulously make his way up from a lower class education, where he changed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby and deserted his family because “his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” who...