The Great Gatsby…An Example of the Corrupt American Dream
According to The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, American society operates on the principle that an individual's achievements can be rewarded by upward social mobility. What a simple concept! Work hard, be honest, strive for success, and you will be rewarded by fame, fortune, and movement up the social ladder of life. But, as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, demonstrates it’s really not that elementary. Being a member of the ‘elite, upper class’ can find you with a greed for money, which many times is achieved through unethical ways. In his book, Fitzgerald illustrates social values and social class differences, as well as depicts the mistaken excitement of the American Dream by using a variety of themes and symbols. Throughout this book, we can see the social class values and differences and the connection to their geographic location. For example, East Egg was the area that represented the “old” aristocracy, and the place that Tom and Daisy Buchanan lived. The East Egg wealthy had grace, class, and elegance, which was seen in the exceptionally tasteful home of the Buchanan’s, as well as with the beautiful white dress that Daisy wore. However, these ‘born rich’ individuals were careless and inconsiderate, as was seen at the end of the book, when the Buchanans did not attend Gatsby’s funeral. West Egg, on the other hand, was the place of the ‘self-made, newly rich’. Jay Gatsby lived in West Egg and his wealth was a result of his involvement with organized crime and bootlegging. The West Egg wealthy were portrayed as gaudy, vulgar individuals who lacked taste and social skills. For example, Jay Gatsby has a pink suit, drives a Rolls-Royce, and lives in a showy, humongous, mansion. The Valley of the Ashes, which lies between West Egg and New York City, symbolizes the poor, like George Wilson, who lives among dirty ashes that were a result of the dumping of...
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