The Great Gatsby as a Criticism of American Society

Topics: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby Pages: 4 (1538 words) Published: December 15, 2010
The Great Gatsby as a Criticism of American Society
In the novel The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes American society through the eyes of his narrator Nick Caraway, as he watches the downfall and pathetic lives of what most consider achievers of the American Dream. Fitzgerald’s criticism of American Society is more prominently proven by his Harsh view of America’s materialistic standard of living, the tragic death of Gatsby, the negligence displayed by Gatsby’s friends, the reveal of Gatsby’s innocent childhood, and Fitzgerald’s personal life experiences. All lead the reader to see Fitzgerald’s unforgiving blow towards American Society.

Fitzgerald first introduces the mysterious Gatsby through the thoughts of Nick Caraway who bluntly states “Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn,” (Fitzgerald 2) which sets the stage for a larger attack that demonstrates the affect of materialism on American Society. Gatsby is known throughout the city for his phenomenal parties at his large mansion in West Egg. The narrator Caraway later rambles for two pages uttering a long list of insignificant names that are only made insignificant due to the lack of information and anonymous nature of them all. “But I can still read the gray names, and they will give you a better impression than my generalities

of those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.” (61) Through this list Fitzgerald demonstrates the fakeness and lack of direction in Gatsby’s party goer’s lives. This is also displayed in the novel by the vast amount of alcohol use at Gatsby’s parties even though it was illegal during the 1920’s. Gatsby himself was at one time a bootlegger which allowed him to obtain so much money, but the very people that drink his alcohol look down upon him for it showing the hypocrisy of the American high class at the time. Nick Caraway then goes on to compare Gatsby’s...
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