Great Gastby

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Cristian Lugo
P.6 9/18/12

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been celebrated as one of the greatest, if not the greatest American novel. Yet this is ironic for the society which has so hailed the book is precisely that which is criticized throughout it. Politically, the American dream was a foundation of ideals and hopes for any and every American individual. Specifically, one of the ideals was an American dream free of class distinction; that every person has the opportunity to be whoever they hope to be. In a sort of Cinderella-like fashion, it is in essence an ideal of social mobility and freedom. The social reality, however, is far crueler. Because of the harsh truth of social America, by way of its pretentiousness and decadence, the American dream is lost. Through Nick’s honest and poignant observation, the parallel lives of Myrtle Wilson and Jay Gatsby reflect The Great Gatsby as a social commentary about the polluted American Dream. Myrtle is that infamous model of how the political and social ideals of America conflict so that the American dream becomes a nightmare. Contrary to the naiveté the American dream, there are indeed fine class distinctions. With them come certain social boundaries. In a sense, it is almost as if there are unspoken sumptuary laws understood by low and high classed individuals alike. Myrtle Wilson is no exception.

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Instead of abiding by them, Myrtle, who represents the low and ignorant class of America, tried to break the social barriers and thus pursues wealth by any means necessary. Using her sexuality and vulgar mien, she becomes false for abandoning and dismissing her own social foundation, and like Nick, we as readers are repulsed by her grotesque approach to entering the rich class. At one point, and quite humorously to the knowing onlooker, Myrtle complains about a service done for her that was so expensive that "when she gave Myrtle the bill you’d of thought she had her appendicitis out"...
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