A Corrupted Society In the 1920s, the American territory is transformed by a new dream that touches its population. The American Dream, which is in brief to achieve a perfect life and having everything you want, causes in part decadence, excess, and disillusionment. Being wealthy is certainly one of the main accomplishments that characterized the American society. Through his characters, the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald reveals the consequences of this dream on the population. The immorality of the characters of Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan is due to the corrupted values popularized by the American Dream.
The American Dream is portrayed by a dreamer who pursues to progress form scratch to riches, while gaining love, social status, wealth and power. Those in power, typically involving bribery, portray corruption as dishonest or fraudulent conduct. This applies to the western world where corruption is contributing to the downfall of society. Corruption in society is what leads us to think of the nation in a pessimistic way. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s vision of America is negative and his depiction is that when man is concerned with only his success, the result is corruption.
The Wealthy during the 1920s are shown to be egotistical people who only care about their own pleasure. New found independence, new technology, and a ban that only make alcohol more tempting certainly makes this prosperous time a moral dystopia. For the first time for many people, they can do almost anything with money; sometimes at the expense of others. The others were forced to live in poverty, endured careless rich people, and get blamed for their mess. Unfortunately for the rich, the Great Depression slap them back into reality and they have to work hard to get back what they lost.
Old rich people were educated and polite while the new rich were just looking for a good time. At partys the newly rich got drunk and displayed despicable behavior which the old rich frowned upon "She was appalled by West Egg...by its raw vigor that chafed...and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.”(Fit. 113). It is unfair to think that people who were born into wealth were treated with higher respect than those who worked terribly hard for it, but the old rich viewed those who followed the American Dream “as the hollow men as the stuffed men”(Eliot 17-18).
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald instead presents this spirit as a corruption, as the people who purse it fall into the misconduct of money. Corrupt values, greed, and the empty pursuit of pleasure are all parts of the downfall of the American Dream. The idea of an American Dream first started in the Declaration of Independence, as people are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Dream was suppose to be a life of personal happiness and material comfort. However, as money became easy to get and as social values loosened up, the American Dream changed, turning it into an immoral and corrupt passion.
The various social climbers and ambitious speculators who attend Gatsby’s parties illustrate the greedy scramble for wealth. Meyer Wolfshiem and Gatsby’s fortune symbolize the rise of organized crime and bootlegging. As Fitzgerald saw it the American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s, however, as depicted in the novel, easy money and laid-back social values have spoiled this dream, especially on the East Coast. The main plotline of the novel reflects this judgment, as Gatsby’s dream of loving Daisy is ruined by the difference in their own social places, his resorting to crime to make enough money to make an impression on her, and the raging materialism that distinguishes her existence.
His dreams were later crushed by very powerful people, careless people, people who used and abused others to get their way, no matter the consequences. Those people were Tom and Daisy Buchanan, they were the empowered rich. They crushed Gatsby’s American Dream, by being careless. Gatsby created this extravagant life for one reason, and one reason only; to impress the girl he fell in love with, years ago. The girl he gave his heart to hold forever, but after Gatsby left for war, she married someone else, someone who was from old money, like her.
Gatsby, however, proves that it is far more serious than stagnation, the 20s show regression, making money even more powerful by giving it the ability to conceal everything else. Fitzgerald uses Nick to relay his utter disappointment in humanity and even shows Nick “waking up” from the delusion that wealth is related to worth, perhaps in hope that reality would do the same. Works Cited "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Money and Corruption in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby During the time in our country's history called the roaring twenties, society had a new obsession, money. Just shortly after the great depression, people's focus now fell on wealth and success in the economic realm. Many Americans would stop at nothing to become rich and money was the new factor in separation of classes within society. Wealth was a direct reflection of how successful a person really was and now became what many people strived to be, to be rich. Wealth became the new stable in the "American dream" that people yearned and chased after all their lives.
Also the purposeless existences that many people lived, when they should have been fulfilling their potential. American people lacked all important factors to make life worthwhile. Gatsby is a dreamer, he dreams that one day he and Daisy will be able to be together once again. To achieve this dream Gatsby has made himself a rich man. He knows that in order to win Daisy back he must be wealthy and of high social stature.