Let’s get critical, critical!
After reading and evaluating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ I have found that while a cursory view of this text may seem to highlight the glorious lives of those richest and most powerful, a more comprehensive approach to this text is required to delve past the surface themes of thwarted love between a man and a woman, and into the deeper set themes such as moral demise. Fitzgerald claimed to be a moralist at heart, preaching about the degeneracy of the wealthy. Yet, on the other hand, Fitzgerald longed to live big himself. These conflicted feelings to do with wealth come through readily in his work. Throughout the novel there are conflicting connotations as Fitzgerald writes of extravagant parties, full of glamor and loneliness. By analysing multiple critics opinions, I was exposed to a variety of views on Gatsby’s - Fitzgerald’s protagonist - motives, suggesting that ultimately Jay Gatsby is a romantic tragic hero, who idealistically believes that through the accumulation of money, and therefore power, he will gain the ability to live the American Dream.
The novel is set in New York in the 1920’s wherein we witness the disintegration of the American dream through an era of exceptional wealth and material gain. The story is told by bond-seller Nick Carraway, in a sanatorium for depression and alcoholism, as he is swayed by his doctor to write a therapeutic description of what exactly conspired to his thereabouts. Nick 's journal recounts how, in New York, 1929 - just seven years earlier - he had moved to a small cottage on Long Island next-door the sumptuous mansion owned by enigmatic neighbour, the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby. A w...
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..., who is unwilling to compromise with reality. As Gatsby had a false sense of reality, believing money is power which he could use to ‘get the girl’ and live the ‘American Dream’, his dream of Daisy disintegrates, uncovering the corruption wealth causes Gatsby and the unworthiness of the goal, much in the way Fitzgerald sees the American dream crumbling in the 1920s, as America’s powerful optimism and individualism become side-lined to the amoral pursuit of wealth. Ultimately Fitzgerald 's masterpiece provides readers with a clear view through a window in which we can see a world full of money and ‘glamour’ that creates such loneliness and selfishness. As Gatsby gains money and status (power) he is deceived of the American dream - money, the object that has the ability to get him what he desires, is fundamentally what prevents his achieving of it.
By Tayla Vandy.
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