The Great Gatsby
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald
Contributed by Karim Chandra
Themes
Themes are described as ideas that dominate a particular piece of literature. In almost all cases, pieces of literature will be centered a theme or a number of them.
Class
The theme of the class is especially the wealthy versus the middle class, and the poor is evident through the story. The theme of the class revels through the geographical setting of the area in that the West is a place for those who have acquired wealth recently; the East represents the elite with inherited money while the valley of ashes is an area occupied by the middle class and the lower class. Myrtle Wilson’s character shows how people struggle to live and to fit in the wealthy communities. Jay Gatsby wants to be seen and known as one of the greatest in West Egg for him to reconnect with Daisy, his lover who comes from the East Egg. The Great Gatsby characterization shows the difference between people of different classes. There is also a difference between the Midwest and East Coast. Midwest in a place for promising people who have recently acquired and a place for new ideas and strong morality. The East Coast which is similar to the East Egg is an area occupied by the elite with inherited money. It is also a dramatic instance irony that Daisy, Tom, and Nick comes from the Midwest an area occupied by promising people but live and have relocated to the East in search of a better and quality life.
American Dream
The Great Gatsby novel takes us through the rise and the fall of the American dream. The author sets the story without any serious purpose in 1920. No one ever imagines the crash of the stock market that brought the great depression which occurred four years after the publication of the book would wipe out millions of investors. Consumption was high as investment went down resulting in low industrial output and unemployment as companies had to lay off workers. Approximately 15 million Americans were left unemployed due to the great depression and almost half of the banks failed. The great depression ushered a new is where individuals can be successful and live a better life regardless of where they started from. For some people, chasing the American dream is accompanied with unpleasantly rough realities. The story gives an example of Nick who imagines Gatsby is a rich and prosperous man. He later notices he is insecure, lacks social skills, and has spent almost his entire life seeking the love of Daisy, the woman he highly valued.
Degradation of the Society
After the First World War, consumer goods were easily accessible, the American population had emotional relief, and there was a rise in the number of affluent people in the society led to an uncontrolled desire for wealth and other pleasures. The adverse effects of materialism and decline in societal moral values are portrayed in the characters of the story. Jay Gatsby facile view on issues and his lasting hope that Daisy will marry him and leave Tom is clear on how he regularly buy friendship, affection, and allegiance from people. He attempts to pay Nick for helping him meet with Daisy, rewards him with a car and had the tendency of throwing parties for people who didn’t know him. Nick who is swayed by the fascinating life of the East feels he’s losing his Midwest moral values. Daisy truly loved Gatsby when the two met, but she was unable to wait for him after Tom proposed marriage to her. She agrees to marry Tom as he comes from a wealthy family and buys her expensive gifts. Although she later realized she still had feelings for Gatsby, she chooses to remain with Tom who is extremely rich for her to maintain her social status. Myrtle who is carried away by the lavish lifestyle of the rich is willing to exchange the moral refuse of her marriage for a chance of being part of the upper class. In the end, she loses her life when Daisy hit her with Gatsby’s car.
Superficiality versus Truth
The Great Gatsby story can be well understood by focusing on Tom, Daisy, Jordan Baker and Jay Gatsby. Gatsby’s whole life represents shallowness starting from his fictitious name to the many lavish parties he throws and his fake past. Gatsby becomes superficial and confused in his pursuit to reconnect with Daisy that he strives to be himself a situation that is seen when the two meets in Nick’s place. Gatsby who is motivated by Daisy’s love desires to obtain power and money for him to be recognized among the affluent and to win her. Gatsby is already sunk in the elite’s lifestyle and has even lost his focus in life by the time the Story starts. He has put all his attention on his goals and has lied to people for so long that no one knows exactly who he is. Nick notices Gatsby character when he tries to buy his friendship. Gatsby himself finds it difficult to differentiate the truth from lies as he has lied to himself many times. Daisy, Tom and Jordan Baker lives shallow lives too, there life characterized by lack of direction, too much luxury, power and more desire for material gain.
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