In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, so many characters are cruel, selfish, and immoral. Not all characters possess all of these traits, but the wealthy, materialistic ones definitely do. There are many important themes in this book, which the characters are based on. Many of the events that make up the plot result from the poor judgment on the part of certain characters. Symbolism is used to connect these characters and events to real life. Fitzgerald uses character, plot, and symbolism as key literary elements to convey one of his most important themes: the corruption of the American Dream through materialism.
This theme is most evident in the characters in The Great Gatsby. Nick Carraway seems to be more of a spectator or bystander of the corruption of materialism. Material goods never corrupted him and he was relatively poor. He cannot believe how corrupt and superficial the people he associates with are, and he eventually disapproves of them. Tom and Daisy Buchanan are the two characters that are the most corrupted by materialism. The Buchanans were both born into wealth, and grew up into immoral, self-centered people. Material goods have made Tom think that he can always have what he wants. For example, he has been having affairs with other women since his honeymoon. Daisy is a very shallow person and married Tom for his money, even though she did not want to, and was in love with Gatsby. Gatsby is a good example of someone who has fulfilled the American dream. He is part of the nouveau riche of West Egg, and had no money at all only five years before. He seeks material goods mainly to impress enough people to be noticed by Daisy once again. His house and possessions do impress Daisy and she realizes what she could have had if she waited for him to come back from the war. “‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen... [continues]
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"Great Gatsby - Revealing Theme Through Character, Plot, and Symbolism." StudyMode.com. 11, 2010. Accessed 11, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Great-Gatsby-Revealing-Theme-Through-495627.html.