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The Ideas Of The Great Gatsby English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1127 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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According to CliffsNotes, The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, is hailed as one of the foremost pieces of American fiction of its time. This novel reflects many aspects of the 1920s. There are many similarities between Fitzgerald and both Carraway and Gatsby, such as his life in the military and his love life. Gatsby, one of the main characters, is a man who wishes to be wealthy. Carraway is the narrator of the novel, and is Gatsbys only friend. Daisy is the woman that Gatsby is after. If The Great Gatsby is considered to be a great American novel, then perhaps it is because it includes a historical overview of the 1920s, a relation of the author to the main characters, and a development of its main characters.

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The 1920s was a time of prohibition, a lack of morals, and importance of money. As a result of the prohibition of alcohol, people began bootlegging and involved themselves in organized crime. In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby becomes involved in bootlegging and organized crime with Meyer Wolfsheim in order to make the money he wants. During the 1920s, people did not think adultery was a big sin as they did not believe marriage to be a lifelong commitment. Many characters in The Great Gatsby, such as Tom Buchanan, show this lack of morality. Tom Buchanan cheats on his wife, Daisy, with a woman who is already married. In addition to this, he believes that money is everything and since he has it, he is better than people without it. People of the 1920s felt that money was important. Daisy got married to Tom because he had money, not because she loved him. Gatsby works extremely hard to get money, so that Daisy will realize she wants him, not Tom.

Fitzgerald served in the military, fell in love during the war, and pursued wealth in order to get love. In 1917, he went into the United States Army where he was a second lieutenant in the infantry. While there, in Alabama, he met Zelda Sayre and fell in love with her. They became engaged to be married, but Zelda broke it off because she did not think Fitzgerald had enough money to support her. This caused Fitzgerald to start pursuing wealth. He wanted to have money so Zelda would be willing to marry him, so he began writing books. Once these books began to get published, Zelda told Fitzgerald that she would marry him.

Jay Gatsby, also known as James Gatz, is a poor military boy who pursues wealth for love by becoming a bootlegger and involving himself in organized crime. Gatsby was sent to war, but right before he left, he met Daisy Fay and fell in love with her. He tricks her into thinking that he is a man of great wealth so that she will wait for him until he gets back from war. She ends up finding out that he is not wealthy and marries Tom Buchanan. This leads Gatsby to pursue wealth to gain Daisy’s love once more; however, he turns to bootlegging and organized crime to get his wealth. With the money he earns from his life of crime, Gatsby buys an enormous mansion across from Daisy in hopes that she will recognize him and realize that he has money now.

Nick Carraway’s name was chosen carefully by Fitzgerald to add to the development of his character. The meaning of the name Nicholas is ‘victorious people;’ the meaning of the surname Carraway is ‘dweller at, or near the road by the front’ (Meanings-of-Names.com). Fitzgerald selected the name Nicholas because Nick survives throughout the story and is a very dynamic character. He learns a lot and is able to see past the bad in people and see the good. The surname Carraway is chosen because Nick was in the war. He thinks he possesses the cardinal virtue of honesty and claims to be one of the only honest people that he has ever known. In addition, he tries not to be judgmental of others. When he finds out about Gatsby’s involvement in organized crime, he does not disown him as a friend. Also, he is not judgmental of Gatsby trying to get Daisy even though she is already married.

Daisy Fay Buchanan is a symbol of Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, is the object of Gatsby’s affection, and is blinded by materialism. Daisy was partially based on Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. If one believes Gatsby to be Fitzgerald, Daisy is Zelda because just as Fitzgerald pursued wealth for Zelda, Gatsby pursued wealth for Daisy. Daisy is the one thing that Gatsby has been after his whole life. He bought his house so he could be near her and throws elaborate parties in hopes of her showing up. Gatsby does this because he knows that Daisy is materialistic. She cares more about money than she does anything else, even love. For this reason, Daisy married Tom Buchanan rather than Gatsby.

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The Great Gatsby is critical of the corruption of the American Dream, has immoral characters, and contains sexual immorality and alcohol abuse. The American Dream was peoples’ hopes to become wealthy and prosperous. They wanted money and success, but this led to the corruption of the American Dream. People started to become immoral with their actions, which also lead to the corruption of the American Dream. In The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is immoral because he cheats on his wife, thinks he is superior to others because he is wealthy, and thinks that people of different races than him are of less value. Gatsby is immoral because he is a bootlegger and is involved in organized crime. Myrtle Wilson is immoral because she cheats on her husband with Tom. Many people in the novel drink alcohol and have sex. When Nick, Tom, and Myrtle go to New York, they get drunk. At one point during the night, Tom and Myrtle disappear to the bedroom where they proceed to have sex; this is an immoral act because both of them are married.

If The Great Gatsby is considered to be a great American novel, then it includes a historical overview of the 1920s, a relation of the author to the major characters, and a development of its’ main characters. ‘Though Daisy is a married socialite and a mother, Gatsby still worships her as his ‘golden girl” (The Big Read, 2006-2010). Nick is the narrator of the novel because of his honesty. Gatsby pursues wealth in order to win over his one love. Fitzgerald lived a life similar to the main characters in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Many characteristics of the 1920s are incorporated into the novel. There are many similarities between the 1974 film of The Great Gatsby, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and the novel as well as a few differences. Therefore, The Great Gatsby is a great American novel with a historical overview, biographical overview, and a development of main characters.


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