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Gatsby is more a ruthless criminal than an irresponsible dreamer(TM) How far do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

'Gatsby is more a ruthless criminal than an irresponsible dreamer' How far do you agree with this statement? - The title of The Great Gatsby, to a certain degree is misleading in the sense that Gatsby is being referred to as 'Great'. Understandably, this may be a reference to his characteristic, 'gift of hope' which encourages him to follow his dream through to the end. Considering the perception that Gatsby is a ruthless criminal, it is an understandable analysis of him considering his involvement in bootlegging and bond fraud. As his distorted version of the American dream is to achieve Daisy, Gatsby realised that he needed wealth in order to fit into Daisy's world. Therefore, he followed the 'Get rich quick scheme' which was very popular during this new age of the 1920s. This scheme eventually saw him having to resort to crime as a way of accumulating his wealth. Gatsby can be classed as a type of 'gangster', and as one he would have had to use many people and conned many people in order to get to where he needed to be. 'Bootlegging' was a con as it was the illegal selling of 'watered-down' alcohol during the 'prohibition'. ...read more.

Middle

This was all a means though of achieving his distorted version of the American Dream, which was to retrieve Daisy. Importantly, he does not abide by the 'protestant work ethic' which states that a man should work hard and earn a comfortable living by which he and his family can live a peaceful and enjoyable life. He also participated in a bit of bond fraud on the side as Fitzgerald notifies the reader in chapter IX. A strange phone caller says to Nick (thinking it Gatsby), 'Young Parke's in trouble. They picked him up when he handed the bonds over the counter.' The way he commits himself to such illegalities is irresponsible on his behalf. His irresponsibility with money can be paralleled with the Wall Street Crash in the 1930s (after this novel), where money and assets were handled carelessly. Gatsby is irresponsible with his dreams because he is not only jeopardising his own future in order to achieve possibly an unattainable dream, but also the fact that he is endangering the lives of others around him because of the violence that being a gangster embodies. Fitzgerald uses the whole situation of bootlegging and bond fraud as a social satire in which is trying to criticise the growing moral decadence in modern American society. ...read more.

Conclusion

To some extent, Gatsby is a victim of false hope. He is presented with many different appearances due to Nick's narrative. In one circumstance, he is revealed to be a criminal but the superficial reasons he has for committing these illegalities are that they are a means of achieving his dream which is Daisy. Gatsby embodies the idea of the dreamers who founded America. These people were in search of new beginnings and this is true of Gatsby, who reinvented himself as Jay Gatsby having previously known as James Gatz. Gatsby is depicted as a man who retains some of the purest traits of the old dream, but loses them by attempting to reach his goals by wearing the dream's modern face, with its corruption and depravity. One of Gatsby's major flaws is his incapability to distinguish between the dream world and the real world, which leads him into irresponsible acts like becoming a ruthless criminal. In a way he is both an irresponsible dreamer and a ruthless criminal, but the aforementioned are a result of his unattainable desire to repeat the past. Conclusively, Gatsby seems to be more a ruthless dreamer who is intent upon achieving his dream at any cost, than anything else. ...read more.

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