"The Great Gatsby" by F Scott Fitzgerald displays an idealistic lifestyle.

Essay by hayloHigh School, 12th gradeA+, July 2003

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The Great Gatsby is a look into moral decadence in modem American society. The corruption of values and the decline of spiritual life in the novel is a condition that is ultimately related to the American Dream. As Fitzgerald saw it (and as Nick explains in Chapter IX), the American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s, easy money and relaxed social values corrupted this dream, especially on the East Coast. The book investigates how Americans lost their spiritual purpose as material success wiped out spiritual goals. The lives of the Buchanans, filled with material comforts and luxuries, and empty of purpose, represents this condition. The American dream was very misleading as it was supposed to offer settlers a fresh start where they could escape religious/political intolerance. However, to be part of the American dream, and the right social class it was almost impossible to create a perfect 'glittering surface' that would make you a part of this materialistic society.

Gatsby, constantly working on his 'glittering surface' to become a part of this society, tries to perfect the elements of his American dream, which included financial success, material acquisitions, proper self-image, and social status.

The most fashionable financial situation is "old money", meaning that you have been born into a large wealth and therefore do not need to work to support yourself. Tom and Daisy are in this classification, along with the rest of fashionable East Egg. Daisy was born into a life of wealth and privilege in Louisville and has no reason to trouble herself in anything involving the slightest bit of work. This almost makes it seem as her life is void of meaning, "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?" cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and the...