The Great Gatsby is symbolic of America and its people as a whole in the 1920s. During the 1920s America was undergoing a shift from the gilded age to the progressive era. Fitzgerald’s symbolism in the novel thoroughly describes and portrays the disintegration of the American dream during the era of material excess. The characters in the Great Gatsby possess an empty pursuit of pleasure. The reckless exultance that led to large, elegant parties, similar to the ostentatious parties Jay Gatsby threw every Saturday night, resulted in the further corruption and disintegration of the American dream because of the limitless desire for money and pleasure took higher precedence over patrician goals.
The characters in the Great Gatsby are used as representations of the new corrupt social trends of the American 1920s. An example of Fitzgerald’s positioning of the characters as representations are the various party guests that would attend Jay Gatsby’s lavish parties. “I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited-they went there. They got into automobil...
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...emplify the stereotype of the old aristocracy when they move to a new home far away, rather than condescend to attend Gatsby’s funeral. “I couldn't forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made. .” (Nick Carraway).
It is very ironic that although Gatsby’s wealth derives from criminal activity, that he has a sincere and loyal heart. Also ironic, Gatsby’s good qualities (love and loyalty) lead to his death as he takes the blame for Myrtle’s death rather than letting Daisy suffer the consequences of her actions because of his undying love for her.
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