The Great Gatsby is regarded as a brilliant piece of social commentary, offering a vivid peek into American life in the s. Fitzgerald carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups but, in the end, each group has its own problems to contend with, leaving a powerful reminder of what a precarious place the world really is.
By creating distinct social classes — old money, new money, and no money — Fitzgerald sends strong messages about the elitism running throughout every strata of society. The first and most obvious group Fitzgerald attacks is, of course, the rich.
However, for Fitzgerald and certainly his characters , placing the rich all in one group together would be a great mistake. For many of those of modest means, the rich seem to be unified by their money.
However, Fitzgerald reveals this is not the case. In The Great Gatsby , Fitzgerald presents two distinct types of wealthy people.
First, there are people like the Buchanans and Jordan Baker who were born into wealth. Their families have had money for many generations, hence they are "old money. Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and the distinct social class they represent are perhaps the story's most elitist group, imposing distinctions on the other people of wealth like Gatsby based not so much on how much money one has, but where that money came from and when it was acquired.
For the "old money" people, the fact that Gatsby and countless other people like him in the s has only just recently acquired his money is reason enough to dislike him. In their way of thinking, he can't possibly have the same refinement, sensibility, and taste they have.
Not only does he work for a living, but he comes from a low-class background which, in their opinion, means he cannot possibly be like them. In many ways, the social elite are right.
The "new money" people cannot be like them, and in many ways that works in their favor — those in society's highest echelon are not nice people at all. They are judgmental and superficial, failing to look at the essence of the people around them and themselves, too. She seems to have some loyalty to Tom, and even a certain devotion to Gatsby, or at least to the memory of their earlier time together.
However, like money, Daisy is elusive and hard to hold onto. This may explain why Tom and Gatsby fight over her in chapter 7 as if she were an object:. Gatsby sprang to his feet, vivid with excitement.
It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me! The tone of the argument seems almost like that of two men fighting over the pot in a poker game. Daisy is a prize, and she seems to see herself in those terms.
Jay Gatsby In the first two chapters of the novel, its title character is a mystery—a wealthy, fun-loving local celebrity with a shady past who throws lavish weekly parties. On the surface, Gatsby is an example of the American Dream in the s, the desire for wealth, love and power. Once out of high school, Gatz changed his name to Jay Gatsby and attended St. Gatsby rarely drinks, and is distant at his own lavish parties.
He wants the success Cody achieved without the destructive habits that success afforded him. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy, lied about his background, and vowed to someday be good enough to win her heart.
Devastated, Gatsby went to Oxford in English for the education that would complete his transformation from poor farm boy to famous or infamous socialite. He begs Nick to set up a rendezvous with Daisy for him, which Nick does.
In a confrontation at the Plaza Hotel, Tom openly accuses Gatsby of criminal activities, including bootlegging. At this point, the Gatsby myth returns full force, as an enraged, jealous Wilson shoots Gatsby dead, then kills himself.
Jay Gatsby dies that night, and James Gatz along with him, anonymous and alone. Despite all that Jay Gatsby does, James Gatz lies just beneath the surface, simply wanting to be loved. Gatsby can easily be seen as a negative character—a liar, a cheat, a criminal—but Fitzgerald makes certain we see the soul of James Gatz behind the myth of Jay Gatsby.
Fitzgerald ties Gatsby up with the American Dream, a dream of individualism and success with a purpose. Like the America of the s, Gatsby loses sight of his original dream and replaces it with an unhealthy obsession—for the country, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake; for Gatsby, a sense of control over Daisy as evidence by both him and Tom in the Plaza Hotel. Gatsby is symbolic of a nation whose great wealth and power has blinded it to more human concerns. In this sense, Gatsby could be considered more amoral than immoral—morality simply has no meaning for him so long as he makes his dream come true.
Everything is simply a means to an end, and Gatsby represents those for whom the end is the only thing that is important. Nick Carraway Nick is the narrator of the novel; the story is told in his voice and through his perceptions. It has also been suggested that Nick may be the character F. Scott Fitzgerald based most closely on himself. Nick is a good Midwestern boy who attended Yale and moved to New York in to work in the bond market. The Great Gatsby is known as the quintessential novel of the Jazz age.
It accurately portrays the lifestyle of the rich during the booming s. Readers live vicariously through the lavish parties and on the elegant estates. By the same token, the title of the novel refers to the theatrical skill with which Gatsby makes this illusion seem real: Nick is particularly taken with Gatsby and considers him a great figure.
He sees both the extraordinary quality of hope that Gatsby possesses and his idealistic dream of loving Daisy in a perfect world. That is, Gatsby makes Daisy his dream because his heart demands a dream, not because Daisy truly deserves the passion that Gatsby feels for her.
Further, Gatsby impresses Nick with his power to make his dreams come true—as a child he dreamed of wealth and luxury, and he has attained them, albeit through criminal means. As a man, he dreams of Daisy, and for a while he wins her, too. What is Nick like as a narrator?
Is he a reliable storyteller, or does his version of events seem suspect? How do his qualities as a character affect his narration? His willingness to describe himself and the contours of his thoughts even when they are inconsistent or incomplete—his conflicted feelings about Gatsby, for instance, or the long musing at the end of the novel—makes him seem trustworthy and thoughtful.
Gatsby's quest leads him from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death. Published in , The Great Gatsby is a classic piece of American fiction. It is a novel of triumph and tragedy, noted for the remarkable way Fitzgerald captured a cross-section of American society.
The Great Gatsby essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Free Great Gatsby Essays: The Truly Great Gatsby - The Truly Great Gatsby Is his novel the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald creates Gatsby as a character who becomes great. He begins life as just an ordinary, lower-class, citizen. One of the simplest yet most profound reasons The Great Gatsby is considered an American classic is its use of language, more particularly the emerging “American Idiom.” Writers of the 20s and beyond sought to find a way of using English that was more than simply a rehash of the great British writers, a style of writing that was distinctly American.
The Impact of Materialism in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. An important theme of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is wealth and the process of attaining it. This yearning for material wealth and possessions is known as materialism. Free Essays - The Mirage in The Great Gatsby - The Mirage in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a book of love and tragedy that all leads back to dreams and ideas, but never reality. Gatsby is a man of great wealth and is truly rich. Or is he.