The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set on Long Island in the summer of 1922. This timeframe in American history is popularly known as the Roaring Twenties; where society had a valued substance over money. In this story, wealth and status is a huge motivator in the characters’ relationships and outcomes. Daisy marries Tom because of the lifestyle that he provides for her. Tom’s affair with Myrtle is due to the privileged of his world and Gatsby lusts for Daisy like a prized bet. Fitzgerald’s tone, symbolism, diction, syntax, imagery, and voice to bind this novel in the DNA of American literature. The essence of America spirit is captured and distilled.
Narrator, Nick Callaway, is set as having advantages in his life such as a well to do family and an Ivy League education. His wealthier second cousin, Daisy and her husband Tom, are confident enough to invite him into their home. She laughed again, as if she said something very witty looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. Pg. 9. Even though Daisy is sitting with a strange posh woman, Nick tells how she lights up when he meets her. Almost like she was just using people around her as tools and when Nick, a new face, shows up that she can act like her life is just perfect again. I believe that Daisy is a wispy character with little true enjoyment from life. The narrator includes Daisy’s attractiveness, Her voice is full of money, He said suddenly. Pg 120.
Scott Fitzgerald established this tone to further demonstrate towards the reader that Daisy’s existence is so over drawn by money that they can personally hear it in her voice. Supposedly Tom and Daisy settled down in the fashionable East egg after drifting around with rich society which played polo. When Nick illustrates the sad truth about the Mid-West, Daisy adds: How gorgeous! Let’s go back, Tom. To-morrow! pg 9. She conceives the notion that people use the money to receive something emotional from it. I feel sad for Daisy as she feels she must put up airs around everyone. Tom and Daisy’s movements are all supported by their money. Every character in The Great Gatsby is on the road to dissatisfaction. As Daisy and Nick use dialogue in chapter one, I believe Daisy confesses what her feelings are towards being a woman in the 1920’s. I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. Pg. 17.
Girls of any class seem to be less than men, and Daisy understands that well. So, when the mistress, Myrtle, joins Tom in the evening the theme of greed is better developed. The narrator shares with the reader how the influence of elaborate attire has an influence on Myrtle’s personality, Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment,pg.31- Myrtle explained, All they think of is money. I had a woman up here last week to look at my feet, and when she gave me the bill, you’d of thought she had my appendicitis out. The car mechanics wife tries to pass as rich through her affair with Tom and is constrained by her lack of wealth. The reader witnesses the dread consequences that Myrtle faces choosing Tom. Myrtle’s insecurities to fit in with the privileged is necessary to this theme.
I believe that Fitzgerald fit Myrtle’s type of character into the novel for evidence that the American Dream was dissipating in the hearts of average civilians. Suddenly people were used as stepping stones rather than believing in their own dreams. Gatsby’s notoriety comes from, most importantly, his enormous wealth. He is a delightful character trained by the ideal of money. Partially, the reader really doesn’t know what to think of Gatsby. He acts like a gentleman but has rumors of murdering people, and when he gets nervous, he vanishes. The narrator concluded as to why Gatsby took such an interest in Nick, He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths so that he could ‘come over’ some afternoon to a stranger’s garden. Pg 78.
Gatsby had done everything in the past five years to win Daisy over with money. Including killing and bootlegging to show his worth to Daisy. This explains, in the meeting of Daisy and Gatsby, why Gatsby wants every detail to be perfect for her. Even pointing out how magnificent his luxury is, My house looks well, doesn’t it? he demanded. Pg. 89. He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Pg 91.
I agree that Gatsby had the most expensive taste out of the characters because what he was looking for was true love. His greed towards money was blinded by his love for his dearest Daisy. The importance of money to Gatsby was just what the others had; a feeling that could come from the bounty of wealth, but it was the way that he used the importance which is important. Hardly anyone shows up to Gatsby’s funeral since the only thing that people are attracted to is his extravagant wealth and parties, not the man behind it all. I think that the only thing who knew the real James Gatz was his love for his Daisy People whom Nick called about Gatsby were selfish and unable to care about his tragic ending even though Gatsby had given everything he had to the unamused guests.
Using the ritzy lifestyle of the 20’s, Fitzgerald argues that in the American life, from the novel, money frequently is valued over substance. Each character failed to realize that materials cannot buy happiness. They showcase that having too much money can cause to abuse or feel superior to those who have less and lose the real meaning in life. This story was structured carefully and directed to those of The Lost Generation, but everyone that reads The Great Gatsby can value from it.
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