Decaying Morals in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

Decaying Morals in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

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The 1920’s were a time of social and technological change. After World War II, the Victorian values were disregarded, there was an increase in alcohol consumption, and the Modernist Era was brought about. The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a perfect presentation of the decaying morals of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald uses the characters in the novel--specifically the Buchanans, Jordan Baker, and Gatsby’s partygoers--to represent the theme of the moral decay of society.
Tom Buchanan epitomizes the advent of moral uncertainty of the Modernist Era. Upon Tom’s introduction in the novel, Fitzgerald makes his lack of morals very evident. When Nick goes to have dinner with the Buchanans and Jordan, he learns something new about Tom. Jordan tells Nick something she believed everyone knew.
“Why--” she said hesitantly, “Tom’s got some woman in New York.”
“Got some woman?” I repeated blankly. (Fitzgerald 15)
Nick is astonished at this information. He finds it hard to believe that Tom, with a beautiful wife and child, would be having an affair with some woman in the city. Miss Baker thinks “everybody knew” about the affair, yet Daisy is still with Tom. Being too ignorant to make herself believe it’s true, Daisy is willing to stay in the marriage, even when she is presented with an opportunity from Gatsby to escape. Daisy is willing to stay with Tom just because he has “old money,” and that shows how important it is to her. Everyone else’s morals are just as bad as Tom’s because they know about what’s going on and know that it’s wrong, but they don’t say anything about it. Later in the story, when Wilson is looking for the driver of the yellow car that killed Myrtle, he also suspects that person of having an affair with...


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... period. He should have been grateful for what Gatsby gave to him, yet he couldn’t make the time for his funeral. Nick couldn’t find anyone to attend Gatsby’s funeral, which goes to show how selfish people were. The partygoers used Gatsby for his house and his things, Daisy ended up using Gatsby to end up closer than ever to Tom, and because Tom was so self-centered and irresponsible, he used Gatsby to save himself from being killed by Wilson.
The moral decay of society during the 1920’s was represented through the characters in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. People became selfish as their wealth increased, and they didn’t care at all what they did to other people, as long as they ended up okay in the end. Dishonesty became accepted, and that led to a downfall of society. Because of the character’s lack of morals and responsibility, Gatsby, an innocent man, died.

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