Great Gatsby American Dream

Great Gatsby American Dream

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Thesis: In this passage, Fitzgerald's stylistic choices illustrate his concern with America's path of loneliness and isolation if they continue to pursue a corrupted American dream.

Fitzgerald juxtaposes harsh commanding images & sound of nature with soft sounds and mans attempt to overpower nature in order to show mans greed in the age of the "bigger, better, faster" mentality. In this passage, Fitzgerald uses imagery and symbolism to portray his thoughts of the American dream. Fitzgerald uses vivid and lively words such as "summer," "wind," "earth," "trees," "frogs," "stars," and "heavens" to create an image of life and purity. Being a modernist, Fitzgerald believed in the power of nature, and how man made things should never be compared to those created by God. Fitzgerald continues to pair these lively words with words that signify the "bigger, better, faster" mentality. New technologies that are mentioned include "garages," "red gas-pumps," "pools of light," " abandoned grass roller," and "mansion." By using these words, Fitzgerald shows how these items of technology are beginning to mix with elements of nature, and by juxtaposing them with those words associated with creations of God, Fitzgerald can demonstrate how America was too focused in on their materialistic ways. Their new technologies such as red-gas pumps or an abandoned grass roller signify mans attempt to battle nature. Be it by using up natures' natural resources to fuel an automobile and pollute the environment, or by leaving a grass trimming device out on the lawn to kill the grass beneath it, Fitzgerald does a nice job showing mans attempts to overpower nature.
Another way Fitzgerald refers to man made objects and nature is through his diction. Fitzgerald uses alliterations to subconsciously persuade us to believe in those things created by God. When Fitzgerald writes of nature and those things that are made by God, he uses powerful sounding words such as "blown," "beating," "bright," "bellows," and "blew." When pronounced, these words have a loud and upbeat sound due to the letter B. It forces readers to imagine nature as strong and commanding. In order to further his juxtaposition, Fitzgerald ties quiet and soft alliterations with those images of technology. Fitzgerald does this when he mentions man-made luxuries and those items related to materialism such as Gatsby's mansion. Fitzgerald uses words such as "shadow," "standing," "silver," "Something," "secure," "suggested," and "share.

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" He uses these words because when pronounced, the "S" at the beginning of the words promotes a weak and powerless sound. Perhaps Fitzgerald uses the letter "s" to add a shushing sound to the word, mocking mans futile attempt to overpower nature. Through Fitzgerald's imagery, symbolism, and diction, he succeeds in campaigning his negative beliefs of the Americas pursuit of a tainted dream.

Fitzgerald compares the symbol of an alley cat with new money Jay Gatsby in an attempt to show America's future of loneliness if they continue to reach for the dream of bigger better faster. In this passage, Fitzgerald uses the image of a "silhouette of a moving cat" to describe Jay Gatsby. Cats are sly and quick, and at times very clever. But when Fitzgerald compares a cat to Gatsby, he is referring to a stray cat. A stray cat is often alone, dangerous, and untamed. Much like Gatsby, a stray cat has to work hard to find his own food, and often is born with nothing. Much like an alley cat, Gatsby was born into poverty and alone. Now that Gatsby has become wealthy and successful, Fitzgerald wants to make it clear that he has not reached a beautiful American dream. Gatsby still has his initial problems of isolation and abandonment, much like a stray alley cat. This proves to readers that though an American dream is desirable, it does not solve all of mankind's problems.
Fitzgerald makes other comparisons to creatures in nature throughout his book. He does this to further his point of Americas undesirable future. Fitzgerald compares men and women who flock to Gatsby's parties to "moths among the whisperings" (p 43). Men and women of American can be compared to moths because like moths, people at this time enjoyed to be by the light, light being the popular or luxurious technology. Fitzgerald foreshadows a horrible future when comparing men and women of the 1920's to moths. When moths get too close to the thing they desire most, the light, they burn themselves, and die. Fitzgerald warns his readers that materialism and the mentality of bigger better faster can lead to a future of loneliness, or isolation (death).

Fitzgerald's juxtaposition of natural and artificial images of light shows America's incorrect method of reaching for a materialistic American dream. In this passage Fitzgerald attempts to compare and contrast those items made by man with those created by God by comparing two different types of light. When Nick is driving in his car (a form of technology), he notices "pools of light" coming from "new red gas-pumps." Fitzgerald associates these pools of artificial light with items of technology in order to prove to America that technology is creating a false light, a false sense of hope. Later Nick, who happens to be the only character in the book who exemplifies the pursuit of an American dream that isn't tainted by materialistic ways, parks his car under its "shed." Fitzgerald writes of nick parking his car under a shed for two reasons. Firstly, Nick parks his car under a shed, not in a garage; to remind the readers that Nick is the one not obsessed with materialism and new technology. Secondly, Nicks car is parked under the shed to hide it from the sun, the natural light. Fitzgerald does not feel that the mad made car is deemed worthy of sitting in the natural light, but instead must be hidden under the shed, not affected by God's light. Nick later sits on the grass roller, admiring the entirety of his yard. He admires the trees, the earth, the bellows of the frogs, and the "loud bright night." Fitzgerald describes the night with a bright light because he is emphasizing Nicks attempt to connect with nature. Here Nick is sitting in his lawn, surrounded by nature, and he gets the privilege of experiencing this beautiful loud, bright night.
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