Jazz age, as the appellation of 1920s, was one of the memorable and important time to United State. After the World war I, America profited from the selling war materials and industrial production, citizens improved their economic condition which caused the dramatically increasing of consumption level. American enjoyed the extravagant life crazier than ever before. Materialism rose in response to the this time and conditions. (Price, S, 1999).
The Great Gatsby is the most famous novel illustrating this period of history, It portraits a tragedy of the protagonist Jay Gatsby based on the real historical background in 1920’s New York. Gatsby was the one who didn’t sinked into the a site of desire, he had his great ambition to achieve his spiritual goal rather than his material goals. Although he use inappropriate methods to acquire money, this didn’t affect his beautiful and great soul. In such a materialistic, fickleness and vacuous society, Gatsby’s pure love, his endeavor and persistence for dream, also the positive influence on future generations made him becoming a hero, shining in the soulless time.
Gatsby’s pure love was the most valuable treasure under the background of the materialistic society, it also reflects his high spiritual level that other people in the society couldn’t reach. Although he used the inappropriate acquiring his wealth, his attitude about love and emotion was more serious and mature than people who earned appropriately but lost in the materialistic world. In Chapter 6, Gatsby recalled the memory of the first time he met Daisy. It happened after the war, a party for officers was taken place in her house, Gatsby was one of the officer who was invited. When he saw Daisy he hesitated between the girl and his dream. But suddenly he made the choice. “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God” (119).
Time passed five years after, Daisy already changed who she used to be, she has became other’s wife and been superficial and Materialistic. But Gatsby’s love didn’t change any, he still tried ever mind to possess Daisy, bravely said Daisy and he loved each other just in front of Tom. He even undertook Daisy’s crime, in chapter 7, if Nick didn’t realize the it from Gatsby’s word, the truth that Daisy killed Myrtle would never be discovered. He had enough wealth and power helping him get rid of the trouble, but he choose to be the scapegoat, still waiting for her reply but refuse to escape. He always willing to be occupied by her even sacrificed his uninhibited soul or materially achievements. Compared with Tom afraid to expose the amour with Myrtle that might ruin his reputation, Gatsby’s love looks valuable. Also Observing man and wife’s relationship at that time, the loveless marriages between Daisy and Nick, Tom married her only in view of her beauty but not love, this could be proved from his derailment, he cheated with other woman though he has a wife.
Also the reason Tom redeem Daisy was only for his dignity. Daisy, as a representative of the materialistic society, she only consider about Tom’s money but lack the true feeling to her husband. In chapter 1 we could discover her thought about the marriage. when Daisy was chatting with Nick she said: “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.” (20). She considered becoming a girl who live happily, ignore the annoyance from emotion. The choice between Tom and Gatsby she chosen the former only because Gatsby’s past couldn’t bring her sense of safety. In such a society, people utilized each other to acquire self-interest. Their behaviors were not for love, but for fulfilling their own desires. There is not love inside them, but only animal’s instinct. under the striking contrast, the persistence of Gatsby’s love seems like a hero’s way. Although he used dirty way to get money and power, his spirit was far more lofty than them. People might betray their lovers even they are regulate citizens, Gatsby disobeyed the law but he maintained his pure mind and purpose of love The concept of hero is not only own by people who do some significant of spectacular things, but only for people who have their own love and dream, and willing strive for them, they are the hero of themselves.
Secondly, unremitting endeavor and persistence supported his dream and stood him out at that shiftless period. His ambition and enthusiasm proved that he would be unique from other peers and his family. He was unwilling to be a everyman. Even after he got rich by violating the law, he didn’t hanker after his materials but using them to chase his spiritual goal. His father described him: “Of course we was broke up when he run off from home but I see now there was a reason for it. He knew he had a big future in front of him.”(184). Also observing Gatsby’s schedule would be more visualized about his endeavor and insistence for success. He disciplined himself with a very strict rule, and always promoted himself.
At that time, people advocated hedonism and be content with things as they are. Gatsby became the wealthy through his efforts. The volition and determination was rare and valuable at that time. Retrospecting Gatsby’s life, he acquired reputation, money and power by wrongful measures, however he didn’t corrupt by these material achievements, but always tried to achieve his dream, even he might lose those materials. One opinion could testify it, after Gatsby became rich, His life was lavish and was fulled of materials. he held extravagant party for strangers to spree, he associated with people who believed materialism. But he had no interest about those things at all. The purpose of hold party was just for drawing Daisy’s attention. After he dated with her again, the party stopped. He supposed to know many young and beautiful ladies, enjoy the orectic party every week and advocate to others that he is the owner of the house enjoying the compliment. But everything’s purpose was to get Daisy. It was extremely difficult for a person sacrifice his materials for his spiritual dream. He pursued the chasteness of mind. With constancy of purpose and persistence, Gatsby became a upstream challenger, he didn’t believe the destiny but strive for his dream. that is hero always would do.
Gatsby challenged the obsolete thought, started from the bottom but influenced the society and became as powerful as old moneys. His action expressed to the world that stratum could be break and everyone have chance to success. He has become the symbol of “American dream”. Gatsby lived in a special period that the American society has face changing. There are still a group of people from high class believing human have born with distinction of status. “This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things.”(16, Tom).
It was hard to go up and leave the status that people supposed to be. However, Gatsby didn’t be restricted by the behindhand thought, he was a romantic person and believed himself. His spirit and stories urged millions of youths striving for their own dream. An opinion discussing Gatsby is not a hero is that he utilized inappropriate and dirty ways earning money. America promulgated prohibition at that time, Gatsby sold alcohol was completely violated the laws. This might affect audiences that agree with the way to acquire money. When people discuss about Gatsby’s story of acquiring wealth, his goal should be more focused but not process. Because of the twisty values in that period, Gatsby had to use unusual way to reach the high status that is very difficult at that time. It reflects to the unfair society that poor man had lots of obstruction that resist them go up. However, Gatsby used a dirty way to reach his pure and beautiful dream, society could not just easily affirm he isn’t a hero. The image of him was multidimensional. In conclusion , he is a hero live in a wrong time and wrong society, or should we say, the special society and special time made him unique and worth to be a hero. He is a tragedy hero.
In the inane and fickle society, Gatsby was the only person who had soul and pursue spiritual satisfaction. He was willing to spend his whole life, risk everything, even violated the law for his life goal. His love to Daisy was earnest, he was responsible enough to take care of people he loved. His persistence and endeavor for his dream was valuable in the period of time people only knew lead a life of pleasure. Finally his story inspired thousands of future generation with dreams. His story shined the darkest society.
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