Frivolity Of Life In The Great Gatsby Essay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby aptly reflects the time period in which the story was set. The author sought to address the frivolity of life and convincingly portrayed how money could not buy happiness. The novel effectively underlines the fact that the American Dream is a natural corollary of the kinds of events portrayed therein. On the surface, The Great Gatsby seems to be a tragic love story. Digging deeper, however, it is clear that the novel is more than just a love affair between Gatsby and Daisy; rather it is an accurate reflection of the 1920s. The Great Gatsby depicts the corruption and human depravity of the times to illustrate how the American Dream is marked by greed and lack of moral values.
Primarily, F. Scott Fitzgerald condemns the lack of morality during the 1920s in The Great Gatsby. His portrayal of the 1920s describes a time when society was very materialistic and was obsessed with money. People would do absolutely anything, no matter how unethical, to attain the American Dream; but what they did not realize was that money cannot buy happiness. The valley of ashes between West Egg and New York City, a “grey land with spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it” (Fitzgerald 27), truly epitomizes the moral decay of that time period. It reflects the greed people had and how they cared about nothing but their own pleasures. Tom Buchanan is clearly an immoral character. He states, “It’s up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things” (Fitzgerald 17). He believes in racial superiority and that everything good in society comes from the work of the whites. In addition, his affair with Myrtle Wilson also stresses moral blindness. While Tom admits t...

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... anything, no matter how unethical, to attain their American Dream. Additionally, many people from the 1920s were very materialistic, which is demonstrated through the characters of Gatsby and Daisy. Finally, the flapper girls and the prohibition time are reflected in the novel. Not only did the corruption of the American Dream occur in the 1920s, but it is also present in today’s society, as seen through Bernie Madoff. The American Dream indeed is “a corrupted view that limits personal growth to the acquisition of money”(Nagel). Fitzgerald demonstrates the corruption and human decadence of the 1920s in his novel The Great Gatsby and effectively tells us how ignorant people were unaware of the harsh realities of life while chasing dreams. At a deeper level, the novel underlines human depravity not only typical of the 1920s, but a depravity that seems so universal.
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