F.Scott Fitsgerald's "The Great Gatsby"-the Surface and Deeper Readings That Are Presented

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A novel is a form of entertainment, but is can also be so much more. Literature does not just provide entertainment but an insight into the culture and humanity of the society that it was written in. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an entertaining story that is set in the 1920's. It is about a man who is trying to rekindle his relationship that he had with his former lover, who is now married. However the reader may learn a great deal about the lifestyle of the 1920's, because it portrays the decade in a realistic manner. It portrays the flappers, prohibition, the changes in women's rights and the partying lifestyle that the generation had. On a deeper level there are themes and issues presented in the novel and the reader can learn how they relate to human nature and the shaping of our culture.

The Great Gatsby can be described as naturalistic fiction, in the sense that it portrays life in the 1920's. It presents allot of the events that occurred in the Jazz age with it's gangsters, clothing, politics and society. F. Scott Fitzgerald has captured the culture of the roaring 20's and described an accurate story based on these times. The novel has a huge emphasis on wealth and social status showing the contrast between the different classes by using characters and setting.

Tom and Daisy are people of the upper class society. This is interpreted by the way they are described. Tom and Daisy's house is described to be a very elaborate "Georgian Colonial Mansion" which is situated in East Egg. Tom and Daisy lived in a huge house that is very expensive with its "sunken Italian garden, half an acre of deep, pungent roses and a snub nosed motor boat that bumped the tide off shore". When Nick arrives at the house Tom says "It's a nice place I've got". The dismissal of the house and the understatement it gets from Tom is opposite to the reaction displayed by Nick. This shows that the Buchanan's have always had a lot of money and that they lived a life of luxury.

On the other hand the Wilson's live in the Valley of Ashes between West Egg and New York. It is described to be a desolated area of land. It is a very grey place with "ash grey men" "grotesque gardens" "a solum dumping ground". This gives the place a very dreary and dull atmosphere and it makes it seem like a horrid place to live. The Wilson's Garage is also described in the same way the "interior was unprosperous and bare; the only car visible was the dust covered wreck of a ford" This tells the reader that the Wilson's are a poor couple who own a rundown garage. Even George Wilson is described to be as rundown and dismal as his surroundings. "He was a blond, spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome." The Wilson's are portrayed to live with poverty and suffering. The lifestyle that the Buchanan's and the lifestyle of the Wilson's are completely opposite, even though the 1920's was described to be the height of economic boom, not everyone had the same benefits and luxuries.

The novel also shows the parting lifestyle that everyone had adopted. The 1920's was seen as an endless party and all that anyone wanted to do was to have a party and be part of the partying crowd. In The Great Gatsby there are many parties that are hosted by Gatsby. The parties that he held were big extravagant events where numerous people would attend without an invitation. "In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne". Gatsby parties were a place where everyone would go to socialise and drink without really knowing anyone. The atmosphere Gatsby's parties had a very up-beat drunken atmosphere where the happiness was all forced for show and that they would drink to help make them happy. Gatsby would through all of these parties but he would never physically attend any of them and this caused many speculations about him. The reader can learn that parties in the 1920's was a part of the everyday life of society and that...
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