The Great Gatsby is a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is about the rise, the promise and the failure of American Dream. Some minor characters such as George and Myrtle Wilson have contributed to the development of the novel by providing us a contrast of their society that they are living in to the richer society in Long Island as well as a contrast of ideas in terms of modern American Dream.
First of all, George and Myrtle Wilson are husband-and-wife who lives in the Valley of Ashes, as depicted in Chapter 2. They are the by-products of the corruption of the American Dream. As a result, their lives – bordered on hardship – can only be described as sustainable. In contrast, people such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby are the ones who have benefited from the corruption of the American Dream. This is clearly portrayed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 respectively on the lavish, excessive and careless lifestyle and the grandeur of residence that the Buchanans and Gatsby possess. The Wilsons’ barely sustainable lifestyle is clearly shown in the beginning of Chapter 2 whereby the type of place that they are living in is described as “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens and the interior of their house is depicted as unprosperous and bare. On the contrary, the Buchanan’s house is narrated as “a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay, the lawn started at the beach and ran towards the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walls and burning gardens”, while Gatsby’s house is illustrated as “an imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower o...
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...ney and fame as she struggles to escape from her poor vicinity. However, this is not done through the hard and honest way as she chooses to associate herself with the rich people in an attempt of gaining wealth. The fact that the still physically-intact marriage of the Wilsons symbolises that both the corrupted and true values of American Dream are co-existing together. By pairing up two people with opposite personality as a couple, Fitzgerald has allowed us to understand and compare the ideas of American Dream through the Wilsons’ personality.
To conclude, Fitzgerald has intelligently given various important roles to certain minor characters such as George and Myrtle Wilson so that comparisons and similarities can be made out and understood. This will allow us to make our own judgement and most importantly, to fully understand the underlying themes and intention.
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