Great Gatsby Analysis

Essay by agandhi04High School, 10th gradeA, February 2003

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The Jazz Age through Jay Gatsby

The Progressive Era prior to the Great War was a time of tremendous economic, political, and moral growth in America. However, World War I was a crude awakening to the reality that although society seemed to have progressed, life was not getting better and the people were no happier than they had been before. Society was shocked by the horrors of war and their once bright hopes for the future became bleak. Unable to bear this unpleasant vision of the future, the American people looked to return to the artificial world that they had left behind and regain the innocence of their youth. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a social commentary on the post-World War I American society and how it tried to recuperate from the war in the "Jazz Age." Through the desolate, love-stricken veteran, Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays this attempt to regain the past and capture an innocence already lost.

Returning from the battlefield, Jay Gatsby returned home seeking the life he had left behind. As a young man he had caught a glimpse of the upper-class lifestyle and more importantly, he had fallen in love with Daisy Fay, the "first nice girl he had ever known" (155). She was the perfect girl and for Gatsby she symbolized everything he had wanted in life. However, as the war moved on, so did Daisy. Her life continued and by the time Gatsby returned, she was already married and living happily with a daughter. Like his society, Gatsby failed to realize that the world had changed and life had moved on. He came back thinking everything would be the same and pursued his dream relentlessly. Driven by his idealistic vision, Gatsby "stretched out his arms" (25) and reached for the...