The Great Gatsby

1614 Words7 Pages
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald utilizes many universal and timeless themes to make the novel a classic. He emphasizes that most people lack insight and can not see the truth. To the majority of the society, the reality is an illusion that they create in their minds. The characters, events, setting, symbols and imagery contribute to establishing this theme. Myrtle Wilson, a woman of ludicrous ostentation, yearns to escape her class to enter the higher ranks. She believes a marriage to Tom Buchanan will relieve her of this lower status. Myrtle is obsessed by appearances and unaware of realities, as is shown in her excessive concern of clothing. She attempts to impress the upper society while looking down upon the members of her class. "Myrtle raised her eyebrows in despair at the stiflessness of the lower orders. 'These people! You have to keep after them." (Fitzgerald 36) Unfortunately, Myrtle does not realize that she will never transcend her class barrier or marry Tom. Her husband Wilson, a poor spiritless garage owner, discovers the affair but continues to do nothing about it. He is a tragically broken man living in a blighted world with his own dreams of success for his business and marriage. Wilson lives in the Valley of Ashes, a desolate place in New York, where gray heaps of ashes envelop him and his garage. The symbolic ashes of spiritual desolation create the "smoky air" (Fitzgerald 35) at the party in the New York apartment, where Myrtle struggles to raise her status. Tom Buchanan represents the brutality and moral carelessness of the established rich. He believes he is an intellectual with logical philosophies about the society. "Have you read 'The Rise of the Coloured Empires' by this man Goddard?…'Well it's a fine book and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be-will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it's been proved." (Fitzgerald 17) However, Tom is extremely injudicious and lacks intelligence. His concern for preserving the social status quo and the grammatical errors in his speech reveal his ignorance. He lacks integrity and idealism. Daisy Buchanan, silly and self-indulgent, drifts aimlessly through a world created by her wealth. Fay, her maiden name, suggests her ethereal insubstantial quality. Daisy knows about ... ... middle of paper ... ...e was just an illusion and could not dissolve the strong undercurrent of sectionalism. The makers of the compromise and the majority of Americans could not see the reality of the coming of the Civil War; they simply tried to avoid it by formulating ineffective compromises. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a timeless and universal classic. In the novel, Fitzgerald underlines that most people can not see reality and drift through their own dreams and illusions. Fitzgerald suggests that most people lack insight and only see things for their face value. The details, characters, setting, symbolism, and imagery all contribute to the theme of the novel. The Great Gatsby is a classic because its issues can be related to the past and the present day societies. Today's conflicts at the beginning of the twenty-first century and yesterday's conflicts in the 1800's compare with those of Fitzgerlad's era. Bibliography 1. Andrew, Luke. " Titanic." http://www.jps.net/chambers/titanic/history.htm. 2. Brinkley, Alan, and Current, Richard N. American History: A Survey. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1991.

More about The Great Gatsby

Open Document