January 10 2012
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald paints a picture of an American society during the 1920s, a period where “buildings were higher, parties were bigger, morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper” in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Many wish to be wealthy, but it is often at the expense of others. The idyllic dream is transformed into one that is materialistic and artificial. Fitzgerald evaluates the American Dream by creating characters from old money, new money and the working class, who all, in the end, fail in gaining happiness and fulfillment. Gatsby, like most, falls victim to the American Dream because it is just that, a dream that is out of reach and unrealistic. He becomes obsessed with creating a future by trying to turn the clock backwards, not forward, wanting to go back to the time when he and Daisy were lovers without Tom in the way. The future he so optimistically expected is his past. His demise proves that looking towards the future and running to your goal will be a losing battle if it is rooted in the past.
On the surface, this story is about Jay Gatsby’s love for Daisy Buchanan. However, the underlying theme is the corruption of the American Dream. In the 1920s, the depravity of wealth destroyed a sense of decency in American society. Fitzgerald stops Gatsby from having his dream come true because Jay Gatsby is destined to fail, he is simply stuck in the past. Money in fact cannot buy happiness, even in a society so consumed with the superficial. Gatsby believes that to attain his dream, he needs wealth. His mansion, cars, and lavish parties that are always the talk of the city are key symbols that reflect his successes as an American “self-made” man. But even with all of those material things to flaunt, Gatsby is still unable to obtain what he most desires, Daisy’s love. In fact, nothing goes as planned. In the end, Gatsby does not get to be with Daisy, and more surprisingly, Daisy is not...