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Essay about F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald uses The Great Gatsby in order to display the wretchedness of upper-class society in the United States. The time period, the 1920s, was an age of new opulence and wealth for many Americans. As there is an abundance of wealth today, there are many parallels between the behavior of the wealthy in the novel and the behavior of today’s rich. Fitzgerald displays the moral emptiness and lack of personal ethics and responsibility that is evident today throughout the book. He also examines the interactions between social classes and the supposed noblesse oblige of the upper class. The idea of the American dream and the prevalence of materialism are also scrutinized. All of these social issues spoken about in The Great Gatsby are relevant in modern society. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses this novel as an indictment of a corrupt American culture that is still present today.
First of all, Fitzgerald points out the flawed morals and lack of individual ethics and responsibility in the time period. The character who best exemplifies the decay of morality and rise of personal irresponsibility is Tom Buchanan. He is not faithful to his wife, Daisy, and carries on an extramarital affair with another woman. In general, many characters in the novel, such as Myrtle’s sister Catherine, see no issue with Tom’s infidelity. The respect for the bonds of marriage is not present. While that is heinous enough, Tom even shows that he is not even slightly guilty about his actions. This exposes his sub-par ethics. Tom has no true sense of right and wrong. His lack of ethical ability is so dramatic that Nick eventually remarks that he views Tom as a child. He deliberately shows his mistress off to Nick, and shows no remorse about his actions. He ...


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... evident today, the vain pursuit of things in order to bring happiness is common. In addition, Fitzgerald shows that even the most basic part of American society, the American dream, has been corrupted. All of these elements blend together to form a corrupt and vile society that is a reflection of today's.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. New York: Infobase, 2010. Print.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print
Goldberg, Carey. "Materialism is Bad for You, Studies Say." The New York Times. 8 Feb. 2006: 1. Web.
Morin, Rich. "Rising Share of Americans See Conflict Between Rich and Poor." Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends. 11 Jan. 2012: 1-2. Web.
Watson, Rita. "Low Infidelity, Shock Statistics, and the Forgiveness Factor." Psychology Today. 27 Sept. 2011. 1. Web.



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