top-rated free essay

The Great Gatsby

By HimoSalgado1 Jul 03, 2013 683 Words
Analyse how the setting helped developed an important theme?

The novel 'The Great Gatsby' by Scott Fitzgerald was considered by many to be an icon of its time. Fitzgerald uses the setting of the roaring 1920s in America to develop the theme of the corrupt American dream. He does this through exposing corruption underlying Gatsby’s wealth, desire for constant entertainment and the contrast between rich and poor in this era.

Fitzgerald firstly develops this theme through exposing what happens behind the closed doors of the so called upper class, new money people in the 1920s society. The fraud and illegal business witnessed by Nick is symbolised as the, “Foul dust (which) floated in the wake of (Gatsby’s) dreams” and which led to his downfall. Gatsby’s dream is to win Daisy back but the way in which he gains this wealth through illegal alcohol and financial fraud is very questionable. A further example of this fraud would be when Gatsby almost proudly acclaimed that his friend Wolfsheim, “Fixed the World Series,” in baseball.

Fitzgerald also uses the need for constant entertainment by the people of the 1920's to develop this theme further. In the 1920s outrageous and vulgar parties were thrown by the rich new money upper class in order to gain popularity and to show off to others how they had achieved the American dream. Although many people came to Gatsby’s parties Fitzgerald shows us that the people have no loyalty to the host and are there purely for the entertainment, thus further demonstrating how wrong the corrupt American dream is. For example when Gatsby throws parties a whole crowd of people turn up to use Gatsby for his money, they spread nasty rumours about him being,” German,” and that he,” Killed a man.” Also when Gatsby dies none of them turn up to his funeral because they have no use for him anymore. Through this contrast Fitzgerald suggests that the need for entertainment in the 1920s era overrode the moral values and how the mindless partying actually achieved no true friendships for the hosts.

The final way Fitzgerald uses the 1920s to develop this theme is by exaggerating the gap between the rich, upper class and the poor, working class that was present in the 1920s to get the point of how unfair the era was. This is because most of the upper class living the corrupt American dreams either inherited all their money or earned it through fraud. Because of this fraud and spoilt society it is near impossible for the lower class to chase the original American dream and they are forced to conform to the corrupt version like J.Gatsby. For example Mr Wilson is trying to make an honest living in contrast to J.Gatsby and Wolfsheim, but he finds it very difficult and becomes disillusioned, he is forced to move,” Back west,” to earn a buck. Also because of how large the gap between poor and rich is, it allows arrogant men with, “Cruel,” bodies like Tom Buchanan to take advantage of the poor. For example in the New York apartment Tom hits Myrtle and gets away with it with no penalties because of his social class. This example is further expressed when Nick implies that Tom is insensitive, destructive, clumsy, an “American tourist,” who blunders about, “Smashing up things and creatures,” and leaving a mess for

others to clear up and he is allowed to do this with no consequences because of the corrupt American dream and social superiority that comes with it.

The United States Declaration of Independence encapsulates the American Dream in the statement that all people have the right to the, “Pursuit of happiness,” By exposing the corruption behind new wealth and arrogance associated with much old wealth, the excesses of pleasure seeking and inequalities of the class system, Fitzgerald questions the myth of the American Dream in the novel ‘The Great Gatsby’. It symbolises the,” Foul dust that Nick sees as bringing down people of talent such as Gatsby and Fitzgerald himself, who is, "Worth the whole damn bunch of them.”

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • The Great Gatsby

    ...The Great Gatsby and the American Dream One would say the American Dream is somewhat like the sun. On the outside, sometimes it is one of the most beautiful things in the world, but to really know it, and all of the dangers that come with it, one has to dig into the dangerous and corrupt insides. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald depi...

    Read More
  • The Great Gatsby

    ...In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby a classic twentieth-century story that talks about the quest and shows a vision of the American dream, there’s as well a lot of symbolism and a lot of depth. Even that most subtle thing can mean something huge. However, one of the least subtle themes in the Great Gatsby is the separation of social cl...

    Read More
  • Great Gatsby

    ...Gatsby: The False prophet of the American Dream The American dream, or myth, is an ever recurring theme in American literature, dating back to some of the earliest colonial writings. Briefly defined it is the belief, that every man, whatever his origins, may pursue and attain his chosen goals, be they political, monetary, or social. It is the...

    Read More
  • great gatsby

    ...of success as displayed in F Scott Fitzgerald’s short novel, The Great Gatsby A man’s past, filled with poverty and desperation, very analogous to Jay Gatsby’s, can only drive him to become successful in everything he does or attempts. Gatsby distant relationship with Daisy as motivation to attain superfluous wealth and fame in attempt t...

    Read More
  • The Great Gatsby

    ... The Great Gatsby Jay Gatsby’s obsession with his past with Daisy has caused him to act mindlessly throughout this book. Gatsby takes experiences he once had and tries to relive and redo them. This has been true in his copious success, wealth and relationships. His main goal be...

    Read More
  • GREAT GATSBY

    ... The Great Gatsby In the novel, The Great Gatsby, there were many symbols used to resemble the characters ideas and the novel’s story line. Some very important symbols throughout the book were Dr. T.J Eckleburg’s eyes, the green light, the valley of ashes, and the colors. I thought that the most important symbol explained in this nov...

    Read More
  • The Great Gatsby

    ...particular time and place is integral to the development of the characters. This can be seen through the book, “ The Great Gatsby”. The book was written in the 1920s America. It was the post World War 1 period and the time of extreme wealth and promise. It was also a Jazz Age, where women enjoyed a much less restricted lifestyle with newfou...

    Read More
  • The Great Gatsby

    ...attaining success. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a self-made man who started out with no money and only a plan for achieving his dream. He is so blinded by his luxurious possessions that he does not see that money cannot buy love or happiness. Fitzgerald demonstrates how a dream can become corrupted by one’s focus on acquiring wealth, p...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.