7 April 2010
Gatsby’s Symbolism: A Literary Analysis of The Great Gatsby
Drastic changes were brought into American society in the mid 1920’s following World War I. The period was known as the “Roaring Twenties” as the economy soared and had rebellion in the United States. Clappers emerged and were known as rebellious women with new style changes due to the time period. Scott F. Fitzgerald introduced new images in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Views on the American idea were changed; the focus on life consisted of three main virtues: wealth, property, and happiness. Fitzgerald’s character, Jay Gatsby, was the symbol of the American dream of the ‘20’s.
In Fitzgerald's novel, he created the character, Jay Gatsby, as a similarity to his own life; both grew up with the lower-class tag and had desire for more improvement. Gatsby moved from a rural area of North Dakota to leave his unsuccessful parents behind. The decision of his new career was made; a bootlegger: to produce and sell illegal products of alcohol. This brought Jay a great deal of success and became a self-made millionaire. Critic, Charles Baker, said “Gatsby is our model for success because he appeals to our remarkable ability to adjust our personal code of ethics in order to get what we think we somehow deserve” (47). Because Gatsby was an ambitious man, he became successful and wealthy at the same time; the wealthiest man in West Egg.
Wealth was not the only concern on the minds of Americans during this period. They wanted land; a large amount of it with a beautiful home. It gave off the image of being rich and classy. Like Fitzgerald, Gatsby went into the army before moving to Long Island. He knew he had wealth, but he somehow had to display it. By moving to West Egg, Gatsby projected himself as the symbol of the American dream. He had an exquisite mansion with a pool, garden, waiters and maids, and of course, his lavish parties. The miserable, desperate...