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“The Great Gatsby” Novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jul 12th, 2021

Introductory Note

The book, The Great Gatsby, by Francis Scott Fitzgerald gives a detailed analysis of the events and issues many American citizens encountered during the 1920s. This decade is associated with numerous achievements and changes in the United States, such as the emergence of jazz music, improved economic development, new communication technologies, flapper culture and crime. Based on his experiences and observations, Fitzgerald wrote this book in an attempt to present the true picture of the American society after the end of the First World War. This paper gives a detailed analysis of this book and its key strengths.

Brief Summary

The selected text tells the story of Jay Gatsby and it is narrated by Nick Carraway. Gatsby’s immense wealth and mansion appears to make Carraway curious. He also learns that Daisy and Gatsby are having an affair. The narrator later learns that Gatsby’s original name was Jay Gatz during the Great War (Fitzgerald, 1925). This means that he changed his identity after amassing wealth with the support of Meyer Wolfsheim. He chose to have his mansion on Long Island since Daisy lived there.

Although there are numerous rumours about Gatsby, the reader observes that his connection with Nick continues to improve. Buchanan later confronts Gatsby for befriending and dating his wife. After deciding to settle on Long Island, Daisy kills a woman while driving Gatsby’s car and speeds off (Fitzgerald, 1925). The reader later observes that the dead person is Buchanan’s girlfriend, Myrtle. It is also evident that Daisy’s intention was to murder Buchanan and eventually lead a comfortable live with Gatsby.

Reasons for Selecting the Book: Strengths

A shallow analysis and study of Great Gatsby indicates that it is a tale of love between Daisy and Gatsby. However, what the reader should acknowledge is that the author manages to present a wholesome and clear image of the issues and occurrences that defined the United States throughout the 1920s (Fitzgerald, 1925). This period was characterised by material possessions, proliferation of automobiles and social decay. The origin of Gatsby’s wealth appears questionable since he was a poor citizen during the Great War. The narrator also identifies him as someone who enjoys partying and prefers jazz music. He also pursues happiness and pleasure without thinking of the consequences of his actions.

After the end of the World War I, history reveals that many young people who had fought in Europe remained disoriented and disillusioned. They were unable to pursue their goals due to the problems experienced in their country. However, a sudden shift recorded in the stock market encouraged positive economic growth. More people were also willing to invest in this country and make money. The lives and experiences of both Gatsby and Nick appear to portray the kind of cynicism the Great War triggered (Fitzgerald, 1925). It is also evident that those who attended different parties in Gatsby’s mansion were greedy and materialistic. Nick treasured such festivities while at the same time being opposed to Gatsby’s actions.

The idea of individualism is evident in this book whereby every person focuses on the best actions and initiatives to pursue the American dream. The original meaning of this concept was aimed at encouraging individuals to pursue happiness and achieve self-discovery (Fitzgerald, 1925). Combined with the challenge of moral decay, Gatsby goes a step further to engage in criminal activities and make more money. The narrator indicates that he decides to have his mansion on Long Island so that he can be in touch with Daisy. This happens despite the fact that the woman is already married to Buchanan. At the same time, Buchanan appears to have abandoned his role and position as Daisy’s husband by falling in love with Myrtle.

The American dream had emerged as a symbol for guiding people to establish their own philosophies and pursuing them diligently. This means that many people were unable to achieve this goal. Instead, they chose to promote inappropriate practices and misbehaviours that challenged the true foundation of America. Although people were expected to build their lives, have families and raise children in an ethical manner, the society appeared to have idealised a different form of perfection that remained inappropriate (Fitzgerald, 1925). Consequently, the pursuit for money and pleasure would eventually become the true definition of the American dream in the 1920s.

The reader realises that members of the upper class have become reckless and incapable of promoting desirable standards. The author of this book describes individuals who have managed to accumulate wealth as gaudy and incapable of upholding the intended social norms. This is a clear indication that the realisation of the targeted American dream is associated with negative beliefs and practices. Daisy decides to join this kind of life after abandoning her husband (Fitzgerald, 1925). She kills Buchanan in an attempt to start a new life with Jay Gatsby.

The author succeeds in comparing and contrasting the lives of the rich and old aristocracy in the United States. It is evident that those who retain the traditional beliefs of the original American society are less greedy, elegant and capable of promoting appropriate behaviours (Fitzgerald, 1925). This text achieves this objective by focusing on the challenges and problems that many rich individuals continue to face in their lives.

From the above analysis, it is evident that those who work hard in this society are able to attain social mobility. Unfortunately, there are certain citizens who use shortcuts in order to become wealthy and entertain their neighbours and lovers. This kind of malpractice is observed through the life of Gatsby. What comes out is that the acquisition of money does not guarantee anyone any positive welcome to the upper class or a good life (Fitzgerald, 1925). Instead, Gatsby encounters diverse problems and challenges that affect the lives of other members in the society. Although he has a good mansion and money, the reader eventually observes that Gatsby does not attain the real American dream (Fitzgerald, 1925). This is a clear indication that such a goal was nothing more but a mirage that remained unwise and incapable of promoting desirable cultural principles.

Conclusion

The above arguments reveal that The Great Gatsby is a great book that gives a true account of the events that took place in the 1920s. The reader observes that many people who pursued the American dream remained disillusioned and disoriented. Although some citizens might have accrued enough money, they eventually realised that it was impossible to lead a positive life characterised by acceptable societal norms and behaviours. The above reasons for selecting this book are, therefore, meaningful and capable of encouraging people to avoid such malpractices whenever following their goals in life.

Reference

Fitzgerald, F. S. (1925). The great Gatsby. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

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1. IvyPanda. "“The Great Gatsby” Novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald." July 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-great-gatsby-novel-by-francis-scott-fitzgerald/.


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IvyPanda. "“The Great Gatsby” Novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald." July 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-great-gatsby-novel-by-francis-scott-fitzgerald/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“The Great Gatsby” Novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald." July 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-great-gatsby-novel-by-francis-scott-fitzgerald/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“The Great Gatsby” Novel by Francis Scott Fitzgerald'. 12 July.

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