The Great Gatsby

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How does The Great Gatsby characterise the impact consumerism is having on American Society?
The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and is set in America during the 1920s. This was a time of great change in American society. Following WW1 most Americans experienced a high standard of living. The war had led to advances in technology, these advances where then used to make household appliances, new technology helped women by giving them a lot more leisure time. The prohibition of alcohol in America in 1919 is dealt with in the novel. Gatsby, whom the novel is titled after is one of the main characters to Fitzgerald’s story. Gatsby is a wealthy man; it is not made clear where he has gained his fortune, later in the novel it is discovered Gatsby may have been involved with the illegal selling of alcohol. Gatsby seems to have the American dream; his story is narrated by Gatsby’s neighbour, Nick Carraway. Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan is one of the main characters in The Great Gatsby. Daisy is married to Tom, a financially successful man and so is a lady of leisure. Daisy is the love interest of Gatsby, although seeming to have it all, Gatsby is unsatisfied with his life. Later on in the novel we find out Daisy is very shallow and selfish, Daisy rejects Gatsby’s love and allows him to suffer for her actions.
The 1920s is also known as the Roaring Twenties was a glamorous decade in which women’s fashion modernised and jazz music and parties were popular. The Jazz Age is seen in the novel, Gatsby has many parties, in order to win the love of Daisy. Gatsby’s life, while seeming something of envy, turns out to be a disappointment. Gatsby never wins the affections of Daisy, and so his attempts were in va...

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...n what their ideology was. The values of the past such as the American dream are changing. If a person works hard they become materialistic.
While consumerism is having an impact on the wealthy within story, this shows a contrast with the poor, when Tom and Nick drive in a fancy car to New York they pass through the Valley of Ashes. Here they pass a sign, which is evidence of the advertising that goes along with consumerism. Nick says that the “blue and gigantic” eyes of Dr TJ Eckleburg “brood on over the solemn dumping ground”. In conclusion the impact of consumerism on American society in The Great Gatsby was the realisation that the American Dream sacrificed old American values such as honesty, and created a materialistic society based on mass consumption.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald F. Scott (1994), The Great Gatsby, London: Penguin Popular Classics.

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