Two Major Themes in The Great Gatsby
a) The Decay of the American Dream
The American Dream was the hope for the people moved to the United States that anyone can earn wealth through hard work and would give comfort to their lives – in search for basic needs. However, we cannot see this hard work done to gain wealth and comfort. Instead we see hedonism and materialism in The Great Gatsby. For example, Gatsby throws in parties every Saturday night and those who attend those parties are searching for pure pleasure and enjoyment. This is the result of the Jazz Age as many had their goals towards finding pleasure.
Social Darwinism also plays a part in the novel. Tom introduces us this idea where he reads “scientific” books containing “long words” concerning with race. We can see he is trying to say the fittest survives and the unfit cannot.
Hedonism and materialism is shown in chapter 5. Gatsby asks Nick when he’ll ask Daisy to come over to his house. The pure reason why Gatsby wants Daisy to go to Nick’s house is because his house is just next to Nick’s house. He wants to show Daisy his house from Nick’s house point of view of how grand his mansion is. After some time in Nick’s house, Gatsby invites Nick and Daisy over to his house. When arriving, Daisy is admired by Gatsby’s mansion inside out. She is impressed by the richness of Gatsby’s home. When they reach Gatsby’s bedroom, he takes out all of his rich, imported shirts. Heaps of shirts stack on top of another and here Daisy breaks out in tears and says,
“It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.”
We can see that Daisy is now regretting marrying Tom instead of Gatsby as she married Tom for his wealth. She realised that Gatsby is much wealthier that Tom and regrets not having to wait for Gatsby during the First World War. However, we find that Gatsby did not inherit his fortune, but he gained it by crime such as bootlegging. Before the war, Gatsby was poor and...
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