American Culture, Wealth, and Similar Themes in The Great Gatsby, The Story of an Hour and Orientation

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F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote The Great Gatsby, was an author known for questioning the social "norms" of his time. His book The Great Gatsby was no different as he tackled the idea of class and wealth which was present during his time-period. The narrator becomes friends with Gatsby who represents new wealth. As they get closer, Gatsby takes him to meet with Wolfsheim, who helped Gatsby gain his wealth. Nick, the narrator, described it like this: The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World's Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people – with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe. (4.113). Fitzgerald talks about the positive view Americans had or have towards money and wealth. Fitzgerald says that the power we give it by glorifying it may cause some negative things such as the ability to play with the faith of many. . In the short stories, “Story of an Hour” and “Orientation,” the situations the main characters are placed into, and how they react to the situation, prove the American culture’s emphasis on superficial appearances rather than on truth. Although those stories are different, they both involve characters who experience the demands of American culture to conform to certain societal demands. . . “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin condemns American culture because it emphasizes marriage and even comes to expect it. “The Story of an Hour” turns this stereotypical idea of marriage on its head; instead of hearing the good we hear t... ... middle of paper ... ...s in "Story of an hour" the societal convention is marriage. In “Orientation” the societal convention of doing a job is more important than being a good person. Orozco also describes many different people’s life. The characters Mrs. Mallard and the main character in “Orientation” are similar because they both warn us of the faults in American society in their own different ways. The problems these stories talk about are still true today. America seems to only look at the superficial things like a job and marriage and looks the other way when looking at character flaws. Works Cited Chopin, Kate, and Kate Chopin. The Story of an Hour. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning, 2001. Print. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print. Orozco, Daniel. Orientation. San Francisco: San Francisco Chronicle, 2011. Print.

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