Marxist Criticism of the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 4 (1325 words) Published: May 16, 2013
The Great Gatsby: The Corruption of The American Dream Through Materialism Freedom, equal opportunity, the chance for all to succeed by the ambition in their hearts and the strength of their backs. The American dream became a mindset in all who set foot in the country of possibility. Set in the bustling heart of America in the Roaring Twenties, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes not the American dream itself, but the corruption of the ideal. He satirizes the capitalist distortion that has morphed the goal of love and personal happiness into a struggle for obtainment of material goods. Fitzgerald suggests with the characters and their relationships in the novel that this decay was brought about by the Marx-proclaimed scourge of society that is class struggle. Karl Marx believed in the inevitability of a workers’ revolution, that someday the bourgeoisie would overthrow the proletariat tyrants. His idea for the outcome of this insurgency is somewhat similar to the American dream; a utopia where every person works to the best of their ability and receives according to need, where everyone has equal rights and opportunities. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s obsessed pursuit of Daisy to serve as a sardonic portrayal of the polluted and eventually failed American dream. The corruption of the American dream is shown in this novel as a product of class disparity. In the years following her families’ initial rejection of him because of social status, Gatsby deemed it necessary to build an empire of wealth before even attempting to contact Daisy. Fitzgerald uses this rejection to communicate that Gatsby was made to believe that wealth was the only way he could achieve happiness, that it would escape him forever lest he gain enough money and power. Fitzgerald further derides the false American dream by having Gatsby earn a dishonest fortune to accomplish his goals. Not only is he not using the American ideals of hard, authentic work, he is breaking the law to get...
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