Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Great Gatsby

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In the book The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are many examples of human indecency and degradation of morals which exhibit an apparent theme of the downfall and death of the American Dream. The American Dream refers to the ideal stereotypical life of someone in the early 100s. Typically, a person who is living the American Dream in this time period follows morals and lives their life ethically. The downfall factors that most readily contribute to the death of the American dream in society include moral degradation such as crime, adultery, and dishonesty. The Great Gatsby demonstrates these factors and is a great example of the death of the American Dream.

One of the most prevalent factors in The Great Gatsby that leads to the downfall of the American Dream is adultery. Many of the characters in The Great Gatsby are not faithful to their spouses. One example of this is the relationship between Tom and his wife Daisy Buchanan. Tom is not loyal to his wife on her by secretly seeing Myrtle Wilson. Daisy, who only married Tom for his social prestige, begins to have rekindled feelings for Jay Gatsby, a man who she had had a previous relationship with back in Louisville. Another example of unfaithfulness is Myrtle Wilson cheating on her husband, George, with Tom Buchanan. In The Great Gatsby, unfaithfulness proves to be a great example of the downfall of the American Dream.

Another influential factor in the degradation of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby is dishonesty. Many of the characters are not truthful to each other and this proves to be an example of something that is unmoral. Nick points that Jordan is dishonest by saying “She was incurably dishonest, she wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given the unwillingness I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body.” pg. 6. This means that Jordan lied ever since she was a young girl, and she needed to lie in order to keep up with the demands of society. Nick also points out that Jordan is very dishonest when it comes to her gold tournaments where she moved her ball in order to win in the semi-final round. He believes that not many people are honest, even including himself. This example of dishonesty and all of the dishonesty in association with the cheating that occurs in the book clearly proves that the Great Gatsby demonstrates factors of moral degradation which in turn relates to the Death of the American Dream.

A third example of moral degradation that relates to the downfall of the American Dream in the Great Gatsby is the organized crime that which Jay Gatsby became rich from. Jay Gatsby needed a way to impress Daisy and he could think of no other way than to become involved with organized crime. In the early 100s, organized crime was at a peek and played a major role in the immorality that contributed to the Death of the American Dream.

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Another factor that plays an integral part in the story is Fitzgerald’s use of a major symbol in the story, the Eyes of Doctor T.J Eckleburg, which in reality is an advertisement on a giant billboard that is hanging over the Valley of Ashes. It is very important in the book because it symbolizes the knowledge of all the secrets and the affairs and oversees all of the immorality that is occurring in the Valley of Ashes. Fitzgerald incorporates the Eyes of Doctors T.J Eckleburg into the Great Gatsby in order to suggest that there is much degradation of morals and values that is taking place in the Great Gatsby, and that there is a knowledge of all that is immoral, almost similar to God looking down on the people. This symbol helps to further prove that the Great Gatsby is an example of the Downfall of the American Dream.

As you can see, there are many examples of moral degradation in the Great Gatsby. These examples of adultery, dishonesty, and crime represent the immorality that occurs in the Great Gatsby. This immorality and degradation of ethics exhibit the a theme of the downfall of the American Dream.

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