Great Gatsby's Failure

Essay by WILSON9High School, 11th gradeA+, July 2006

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The book "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald was an icon of its time. The book discusses topics that were important, controversial and interesting back in 1920's America. The novel is an exploration of the American Dream as it exists in a corrupt period of history. The Great Gatsby describes the decay of the American Dream and the want for money and materialism. The 1920's were a time of corruption and the degradation of moral values for the United States. Many people believed that money could buy happiness which contributed to the destruction of the American Dream. The Great Gatsby is a highly symbolic meditation on the disintegration of the American Dream in an era of decayed social and moral values evidenced in overarching cynicism, greed, and the empty pursuit of pleasure.

Cynicism is a strong theme and throughout the novel Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom reveal themselves to Nick.

He realizes that his newfound friends are completely inept of moral and social values and they are completely self-serving individuals. This is shown by Nick uncovering that Tom is cheating on his cousin Daisy. George and Myrtle; they don't care about each other or anyone around them, solely themselves. This is summed up by Nick's opinion as he described Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and Gatsby "They were careless people - They smash up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they made...(Fitzgerald, 180-181). These types of things show the cynical side of Fitzgerald's characters and how they contribute to the American Dream.

The most obvious characteristic in this novel is greed. Greed is defined to as the excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more...