The Roaring Twenties: The Age of Degeneration
Moral values, the standards of good and evil, are the foundation of a society, allowing a person to value integrity and make the right choices. However, during the Roaring Twenties in the United States, as we enter a new era of cultural and economic dynamism, the values are being overthrown by the new lust for money, power, and most important of all, pleasure. The Great Gatsby juxtaposes the new money’s extravagant life and the old money’s crumbling aristocratic values. F. Scott Fitzgerald exposes this dramatic phenomenon in his novel, where he crafts a strikingly realistic painting of the society in the Roaring Twenties, where materialism thrives and leads to the loss of moral standards.
Jay Gatsby’s world revolves around a single dream that he holds as the lifeline in his story. It is a dream of wealth and aristocracy. After his adventure in luxury with Dan Cody, who becomes his father figure, Gatsby finds his dream embodied by Daisy Fay, because “Her voice is full of money” (Fitzgerald 120). She represents wealth and class. She has a very lighthearted conduct and charismatic behavior. She is “the golden girl” (Fitzgerald 120), born in a wealthy, upper-class society, and married to a rich man. However, we also see that her shiny image is only a façade to cover her degeneration. We first catch a glimpse of her true character when she decides to confide to Nick that “the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 17). She fully embraces the new concept of women in the Roaring Twenties and is ready to give up her self-respect to conserve her luxurious lifestyle. Daisy also shows the lack of maternal love. Even though she is a mother, she is so engrossed in her love affairs and lavish life that she never takes care of her daughter. She only dresses Pammy up for special occasions, as if her daughter is just another possession in order to promote her image. In Gatsby’s vision,...
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