Criticism In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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Quentin Hardy of the Huffington Post comments that “Much of American Literature is a consideration of our ability to head to the frontier, reinvent ourselves, make a shining city on a hill, be the last best hope for mankind, free ourselves of the shackles of the past, the tragic fate of birth in a particular place” (Hardy). The 1920’s was a time in which the everyday person could transform himself into anything he desired. Filled with promise, this period gave birth to what is known as “modernistic literature” where authors would unveil the true fragmentation of the modern world through inner revelation. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a key figure in this movement as his novel The Great Gatsby exposed human weakness in its ambition to dream of objects,…show more content…
Both men experienced a deep yearning to achieve more than they already had: the woman of their dreams and the wealth that would enable them to live with ease. This parallel created between the two men reveals a deeper connection than just a simple resemblance. Fitzgerald was able to fit himself (as Gatsby) into a novel that describes his inner struggle with his ambition. Nick Carraway, seen as the narrator, stands for Fitzgerald’s conscience, the careful and reserved observer that quietly judges Gatsby’s actions as well as the behaviors of the characters around him. Both Nick and Gatsby describe two sides of Fitzgerald’s personality. Nick is the quiet, reflective mid-Western man who is mesmerized by the glitter and glam that the East seems to uphold. Gatsby, on the other hand, represents Fitzgerald’s ambition in the way that he will stop at nothing to achieve his dreams and fulfill the image that he made for himself earlier on in life. Throughout the novel, the readers can tell that Gatsby’s hopeful ambition eventually causes his downfall. In this sense, his death signifies the death of one of Fitzgerald’s personalities. Gatsby symbolizes the epitome of the American dream: a self-made man who’s life was always climbing higher and higher. Gatsby’s death is the death of that dream; it was Fitzgerald’s realization that the American Dream had been…show more content…
The time period following World War I was booming with activity due to the post-war economy. Wall Street was buzzing with promising business and many of the heads of major stock firms were involved in “under-the-table-investments”. The federal income tax system had also just been initiated in the country and wealthy families such as the Rockefellers were protecting their enormous fortunes through loopholes in the 21st Amendment. The alcohol market was shut down because of prohibition, but then opened up a whole new form of market (the black market) where it was sold in secrecy instead. The most iniquitous of all the criminal activity, however, were the gangs. These influential groups controlled black market trade and commerce and head members collected some of the highest salaries in the entire
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