Significance of Social Status in the Great Gatsby

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Significance of Social Status in The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby may appear to be a simple tragic romance; however, within the text, Fitzgerald identifies and defines social gaps and importance of wealth. He also presents women within a very separate space as the men. The Great Gatsby allows the reader to enter into the world of wealth and experience the joys and tragedies of being within this certain class. In the novel, Fitzgerald criticizes American society in the 1920's for its emphasis on money, superficial relationships, and obsession over class; as well as allowing the reader to interpret the position of gender inside the class.

Society has, indeed, a great part to play in shaping the identities of individuals. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,' he [my father] told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (1). This quote was probably the backbone of the narrator's actions and character. Throughout the novel, the characters that he came into contact with were immediately associated with their money and their association with their given level of wealth.

Jay Gatsby is the center character in Fitzgerald's novel. Gatsby tells Nick that from his childhood in the Midwest and his youth, he got to know Cody from whom he learned how to struggle through life and get money. He is totally self-taught and tells Nick that he had been in the drug business and later in the oil business. Throughout the novel there is an overall absence of the lower class; however, ironically, the only character that lower wealth was associated with was Gatsby. He was the most prestigious when compared to all of the other characters, yet was the only to have the absence of money in his past. With this, Fitzgerald proves that the current existence of money justifies the acceptance of character, reiterating the idea of social levels of money.
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