Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald’s View of American Society
“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story,” was said of Fitzgerald s novel, The Great Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is about the American Society at its worst and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its illusionary goals. The idea is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get his happiness Jay Gatsby must reach into the past and relive an old dream. In order to achieve his dream, he must have wealth and power. Fitzgerald was wrong in the way he presented Gatsby s American Society because of the way Gatsby made money, found love, and lived his life.
The way in which Gatsby made money was a despicable practice. Gatsby s bootlegging business made him millions. The time during Prohibition in the 1920 s was a opportune time to take advantage of the lack of alcohol and sell it for those who would pay large sums for it. Organized criminals catered to the needs of the drinking public by illegally supplying them with liquor. The book and Fitzgerald didn t reference straight to this crime but implied that the American Society was blameworthy in its dealings with the problem. This is not the case in the least. The period know as the Roaring Twenties will always be remembered for its glittering lights and unbridles romances, not the crime.
The manner in which these characters found love was also very upsetting. Gatsby spent countless years obtaining his fortune for one purpose only, to win back Daisy Buchanan. The quote, “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay,” demonstrates just how desperate Gatsby was to buy anything to impress his longtime love of Daisy. Affairs were commonplace in the book and in the time. Parties and having a good time easily influenced these actions.
There are millions of cases in the American Society where the girl was not won over by money. A girl would not marry a guy because of their social status or financial status. If someone does not have enough respect for themselves to marry the person they love for their character, then the rest of their life is going to be full of embarrassment and failure to truly love.
The process of morally living life in this story was also a challenge. Daisy wanted material possessions her whole life and couldn t be satisfied otherwise. Gatsby wanted her and wouldn t be satisfied otherwise. He threw lavish parties where orchestras, caterers, and bartenders would show up, but no one would be able to find Gatsby because he d be searching for Daisy. “There s something funny about a fellow that ll do a thing like that.” Many people question whether or not Gatsby was sane and able to live like a normal human being.
Was Gatsby really great in his ways of life? In some ways he was. One has to admire a guy who can devote his whole life to something and never be sidetracked. All he wanted was to return to when Daisy loved him. Nick Carraway said, “You can t repeat the past,” and Gatsby replied, “Can t repeat the past! Why of course you can!” One needs to realize if what you are striving for is foolish or a tangible goal. You have to take into consideration that things never stay the same and people definitely change their minds about other people over time.
The theme to Gatsby s book exhibiting American Society is one of sadness. The American Dream is discarded in this book because the immoral people have all the money. No one worked from the ground up. Everyone was already rich, or they were put there by unforeseen or abrupt circumstances. The American Society on a whole, is not as bad as Fitzgerald portrays it to be. No one spends their whole life going after one girl like Gatsby did. He pursued her for all the wrong reasons. Gatsby s need for the repetition of the past is very apparent throughout the book. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”