F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - The Up-Roaring Twenties


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The Great Gatsby: The Up-Roaring Twenties

 

The 1920s in America were a decade of great social change.  From

fashion to politics, forces clashed to produce a very ^Roaring^

decade.  Jazz sounds dominated the music industry.  It was the age of

prohibition, the age of prosperity, and the age of downfall.  It was

the age of everything, and this can be witnessed through the novel by

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.  The Roaring Twenties help

create Gatsby's character.  Gatsby's participation in the bootlegging

business, the extravagant parties he throws, and the wealthy, careless

lifestyle the Buchanans represent are all vivid pictures of that time

frame.  It turns out, although he was used and abused by all the people

whom he thought of as friends, Jay Gatsby ^turned out alright in the

end.^  (Fitzgerald 6)  It almost seems as if he is better off dead,

according to the narrator, because all his so-called ^friends^ either

deserted him or used him for their own personal gain.  There are signs

of this all!  throughout the novel, but it is especially evident in the

final chapters.  In chapter seven, when Myrtle Wilson is killed, Daisy

accepts no responsibility for Myrtle^s death.  She just sits back and

lets Gatsby take all the blame for her actions.  Gatsby is very willing

to do so, because of the love he has for Daisy.  All Gatsby can think

about after the accident is what Daisy went through, it was as if

^Daisy^s reaction was the only thing that mattered.^ (Fitzgerald 151)

Gatsby stands outside of Daisy and Tom^s house for hours, waiting for a

sign from Daisy that things were alright.  ^I want to wait here till

Daisy goes to bed.^ (Fitzgerald 153)  Inside, as she talks with Tom,

Daisy shows no remorse, she just continues with her life as if it never

happened.  In chapter eight, Gatsby recounts for Nick all the memories

he has of Daisy and him together.  ^She was the first ^nice^ girl he

had ever known.^  (Fitzgerald 155)  ^...Daisy, gleaming like silver...^

(Fitzgerald 157) This makes it especially hard for Nick to see Gatsby

still in love with Daisy.  While around Gatsby, Daisy either pretends

to be, or is in love with Gatsby.  This is evidenced when Daisy ^pulled

his (Gatsby^s) face down kissing him in the mouth.^  (Fitzgerald 122)

Then when she is in her kitchen with Tom after Myrtle^s death, ^there

was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy...they were conspiring

together.^  (Fitzgerald 152) In the final chapter, Gatsby^s funeral

takes place; however, no ^friends^ that had frequented his parties,

with the exception of owl-eyes, bother to come to his funeral.

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  Not

even Tom and Daisy attended.  They ^...had gone away early that

afternoon, and taken baggage with them.^  (Fitzgerald 172)  Nick

desperately ^wanted to get someone for him.^  (Fitzgerald 172)  Nick

went to New York to see Meyer Wolfsheim, but Wolfsheim ^can^t get mixed

up in it...my own rule is to let everything alone.^  (Fitzgerald 180)

Klipspringer wasn^t sure if he could make it, because he was supposed

to go out for a picnic with some Greenwich friends.  The only people at

the funeral were Nick, Mr. Gatz (Gatsby^s father,) owl-eyes, the

minister, the postman from West Egg, and four or five servants.

Through all of this, it seems as though Gatsby was better off dead.  He

didn^t realize it, but he was being used by practically everyone around

him.  Daisy and Tom, the partygoers, pretty well everyone but Nick.  It

goes to show that wealth can lead to corruption in the human heart and

soul.  Fitzgerald shows how this affluent society had a hollow core of

pretense and emptiness, and how many of the wealthy were cruel and

heartless.  This decade began with an uproar and ended with an uproar,

and truly earned the name ^The Roaring Twenties.^

 


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