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Criticism of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

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Criticism of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

    In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates an artificial world where money is the object of everyone's desire.  The characters, the setting, and the plot are very deeply submerged in a Capitalism that ends up destroying many of them.  Fitzgerald's criticism of Capitalism can be seen as a move to subtly promote Socialism, an ideology in which value is placed on the inherent value of an object rather than its market value.  In a late collection of notes, Fitzgerald himself proclaims that he is "essentially Marxist." [i]   Marxism is a specific branch of Socialist theory.  Fitzgerald makes Gatsby a novel that is not inherently Marxist or even Socialist, but one that is imbued with Marxist theory.  He does this by denouncing nonhumanitarianism, reification, and market value.  Fitzgerald implies that the Capitalist system does not work because at the end of the novel, all of the characters that represent typical American Capitalism end up either dead or completely unhappy.  Fitzgerald's criticisms work to warn...

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...erald's Critique of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby."  Critical Essays on Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  Ed. Scott Donaldson.  Boston:  GK  Hall and Co., 1984.  201-213.





[i] Fitzgerald, F. Scott.  The Crack Up. 

[ii] Lewis, Roger.  "Money, Love, and Aspiration in The Great Gatsby."  P. 51

[iii] Posnack, Ross.  "'A New World, Material without Being Real': Fitzgerald's Critique of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby." P. 202.

[iv] Ibid., p. 203.

[v]   Ibid., p. 206.

[vi]    Ibid., p. 208.


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