22 September 2009
What I Need Is All Around Me
Near the middle of the story, John explores the Washington’s mansion where he discovers true luxury for the first time. Fitzgerald writes, “He was enjoying himself as much as he could. It is youth’s felicity as well as its insufficiency that it can never live in the present, but must always be measuring up the day against its own radiantly imagined future – flowers and gold, girls and stars, they are only prefigurations and prophecies of that incomparable, unattainable young dream” (Fitzgerald 14). Towards the beginning of the story Fitzgerald gives the audience a look into the minds of the people of Fish, the town name given to the property owned by the Washington’s. The author writes, “To observe, that was all; there remained in them none of the vital quality of illusion which would make them wonder or speculate, else a religion might have grown up around these mysterious visitations. But the men of Fish were beyond all religion – the barest and most savage tenets of even Christianity could gain no foothold on that barren rock – so there was no altar, no priest, no sacrifice; only each night at seven the silent concourse by the shanty depot, a congregation who lifted up a prayer of dim, anemic wonder” (Fitzgerald 4). This passage from the text is a perfectly illustrated example of the mindset of the Washington family. Since the birth of their fortune, they have placed all of their faith in money. In their own pride and arrogance, the Washington family believes that they are above religion, having replaced it with their wealth and status. By depicting the ruthless lifestyle and character of the Washington family, the author also intends to reveal the effects that this false sense of identity has on one’s morals and values. The incessant immoral behavior displayed throughout the story depicts the loss of values due to their selfish nature. The only values...
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