The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been interpreted by many different people
to mean many different things. The novel, published in 1925, at the time of the economic boom
in the United States, creates a portrait of the Roaring Twenties. Although Fitzgerald had not
known what was to come in 1929, the Great Depression, he did an exceptional job at practically
foretelling people’s futures. The purpose of The Great Gatsby is to show and explain how the
pursuit for wealth and status can ruin lives. Fitzgerald wrote that people have a natural tendency
to desire wealth and status, that wealth and status cannot and will not make one happy, and that
the desire for wealth and status can result in undesired consequences.
The 1920’s was a time of great wealth in the United States and people searched only to
obtain money, whether it was legally or illegally. Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby is the ideal
example of a person who attempted to get rich quick during the Jazz Age. He was born poor and
gained his riches from rumored bootlegging. Fitzgerald wrote, “Americans, while occasionally
willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry” (Fitzgerald 88). Gatsby
however, did not seem to care for money until Daisy came into his life. He, then, realized that
Daisy would never marry him unless he had money and a great status which she could have
attained from him. Fitzgerald explained, “There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and
the tired” (Fitzgerald 79). Daisy only wished to pursue wealth and status, which she obtained
when she married Tom, she wanted nothing more. Gatsby, still obsessed with reclaiming Daisy,
hoped that if he was worth...
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...too long with a single dream”(Fitzgerald
161). The desire to want something to too much of an extent is not healthy and will usually result
in unwanted consequences.
Although many people classify The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as a love story, it
is nothing more than a novel about the desire for wealth creating trouble. Fitzgerald wrote about
how people have a natural tendency to desire wealth and status, how wealth and status cannot
and will not make one happy, and how the desire for wealth and status can result in undesired
consequences. The Roaring Twenties was a great time period for a majority of the United States
population; however, all good things must come to an end. As the Roaring Twenties came to an
end, so did Gatsby’s dreams.
Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.