The Moral Lens of The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald creates a world full of lessons in morality in his novel The Great Gatsby, with a character list featuring two or more people who embezzle, forge or steal to make money, three people having romantic affairs, and a few murderers. Throughout Fitzgerald’s novel he employs many concepts pertaining to the justification of these immoral acts and the way that it is seen from the perspective of the character committing the moral crime. His protagonist and narrator, Nick Carraway, gives great examples from the start of the book to the finish. Immediately from the beginning of the book it seems as though Fitzgerald is attempting to grasp the readers attention on a subconscious, moral level by starting the novel with his narrator explaining that he was “inclined to reserve all judgments” (Fitzgerald, 1). This is all good and dandy, until the readers learn that he, in fact, was the most pejorative person in the whole story. Nick Carraway wasn’t completely to blame for the judgment he passes on the rest of the characters, though, because based on 1920s social standards the cast of the story was quite wayward. To begin with, there was Meyer Wolfsheim. Meyer Wolfsheim was a man who had many business “goneggtions” as he called them. These “goneggtions” of his, however, were of the utmost deceit and immorality. Even by today’s moral standards Meyer Wolfsheim was a just a plain old bad person. Gatsby said to Nick that Wolfsheim fixed the 1919 World Series. This is a feat that in today’s society would still be so completely immoral that it is actually punishable by law. Not to mention that it was more than likely for gambling purposes, in which case it was even worse than 1920s America could have imagined, had they known the whole story. This was especially appalling because, in the 1920s, one of the things that the general population of America was fighting against was the escalation of such trends as gambling, jazz music,...
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