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In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. Do you agree with this or does Fitzgerald do more?

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30-11-04 In "The Great Gatsby", Fitzgerald captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. Do you agree with this or does Fitzgerald do more? The author, F Scott Fitzgerald, is regarded by many to be the speaker for the Jazz Age. In his work he often represents the carefree lifestyle typical of the 1920s and this is true of, perhaps his most famous work, "The Great Gatsby" in which he illustrates, among other things, the attitude of the rich and society in general at the time as a whole. In "The Great Gatsby" Fitzgerald attempts to capture the emotions of a nation shaken by world events; indeed, that of a disillusioned America. With the conclusion of WWI, America had discovered that she was not as isolated as perceived and the soldiers returning from France, who had seen many horrors of war, returned wishing to forget the experience. This led to an era of hedonistic enjoyment (for those who could afford it) ...read more.


Fitzgerald, despite the novel being set before the Depression, relates the poverty of certain individuals who are still chasing their dream, for example Wilson and his wife, and this perhaps foreshadows the coming time of high unemployment and widespread poverty and suffering, "He was a blond, spiritless man... When he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes." The use of the adjective "spiritless" helps to convey the aura of melancholy surrounding Wilson creating a sense of pathos in the reader for this obviously poor man and the verb "sprang" clearly shows his excitement at the possibility of help out of his piteous poverty. Fitzgerald also comments on the social failure of the rich and how materialism has corrupted the American dream. The American Dream is basically the belief that anything is possible if you strive to achieve it. The characters in the novel confused this achievement with the possession of money; the Wilsons see the collection of money as a ticket out of their poverty, the rich, symbolised by the Buchanans, see money as an amusement in their meaningless lives. ...read more.


It is also a love story, albeit a doomed one. It conveys the purity, innocence, naivety and hope of Gatsby in achieving his corrupted dream. He epitomises the purest characteristic of the American Dream: everlasting hope. Even when he had no chance of winning Daisy he never lost hope, "Can't repeat the past? he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" His hope of achieving his aim in life, that same aim that made him different from the rest of the aimless rich, made him fail to see the reality that Daisy was never going to leave her husband. In conclusion, the novel deals with many different themes; the waste and destruction that surround the insensitive rich, the society of America in the "Roaring Twenties" and also the failed love between two very different people. It touches on the themes of dreams and reality, love, carelessness and social situations of the era and especially the theme of the ever prevalent American Dream. Many critics have viewed Fitzgerald's artistic achievement in terms of his ability to depict American society, its history and its people and 'The Great Gatsby' is seen as perhaps his crowning achievement. ...read more.

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