The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is not just a novel; rather it is the representation of an era. The story is about the moral decay that arouses in the American society in 1920s. It also shows the picture of the American dream getting corrupted by lust, greed and empty pursuit of pleasure. In other words it was the collision of subcultures. The wealthy and elite class found pleasure by throwing decadent parties and playing wild jazz music. On the other hand, the member of middle class was seduced by the dabbler lifestyle of the rich. Jay Gatsby was somewhat a mysterious one as people knew very little about his personal life. We finally find that Gatsby was involved in criminal activities to win his beloved Daisy’s attention.
On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of unrequited love. The novel is based on the themes of love, revenge, desire for money and the suicide. But a careful analysis of the novel reveals that its major theme encompasses a much larger, less romantic scope. Through this novel, Fitzgerald has tried to portray a real picture of American society of 1920s. The story is set in the neighborhood of Long Island, New York. In this novel, we also find a reflection of disintegration of American dream which was about moral values and pursuit of success.
The idea of American dream emerged in the Colonial period and it was based on the perception that success can be achieved by any individual, no matter what social position he possesses. What matters is his personal skills, hard work and efforts. A prototypical 1920s’ man has been described by the author Roland Marchand in his book in the following words:
“Not only did he flourish in the fast-paced, modern urban milieu of skyscrapers, taxicabs, and pleasure-seeking crowds, but he proclaimed himself an expert on the latest crazes in fashion, contemporary lingo, and popular pastimes.”
We find that Marchand’s definition is
Bibliography: Fitzgerald, Scot. F: The Great Gatsby. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc, 1950. Print. “Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of America” by Marius Bewley. From The Sewanee Review, LXII (spring 1954)