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Examine the ways in which The Great Gatsby explores the corruptive effects of wealth.

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Introduction

Examine the ways in which The Great Gatsby explores the corruptive effects of wealth. The Great Gatsby was set in the 1920s and in this time wealth was spread all over America, particularly in New York, and in F. Scott Fitzgerald's fictional villages of the East and West Egg, where The Great Gatsby was set. In America many people had made their money by themselves without the help of an inheritance. Wealth was displayed in the type of car you drove, to the size and position of your house, and this idea that each person, no matter what their background, could succeed, was known as the 'American Dream'. This occurred because unlike England where there was a clearly defined class system, in which people remained within their class level, in America a poor person born into poverty could by whatever means, become a wealthy person, mixing in society with other wealthy people. ...read more.

Middle

14). Many years later, Gatsby retorts to Daisy's husband, Tom Buchanan, 'She only married you because I was poor' (p. 124). Even though the two were madly in love with each other, Daisy would not marry Jay because he was not affluent enough. Rather than marrying someone for true love, 1920s American society dictated that it was also a requirement that the married couple were rich or of equal wealth. In addition, the same situation occurs between Nick Carraway, the protagonist, and Jordan Baker, Daisy's friend and a competitive golfer. Nick cannot seriously expect a relationship with Jordan, because he has so little money. In this way, The Great Gatsby shows that love too can be easily corrupted by the effects of wealth. Tom and Daisy often behaved carelessly throughout the novel, simply because they have been corrupted by their riches. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tom's actions are showy and reckless, illustrating his lack of concern and regard about the rights and responsibilities of a marriage. His wealth is a factor in his ability to easily conduct such a relationship, which again reveals the corruptibility of wealth. Throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby many characters significantly highlight the ways in which corruptive behaviour occurred because of the influences of wealth. Much of this relates to the prosperous, increasingly urbanised nature of American society in the 1920s. Jay Gatsby and Myer Wolfshiem acquire their wealth illegally under insalubrious methods during Prohibition. Personal finances during the 1920s affected people's relationships, restricting both Gatsby and Daisy, and Nick and Jordan marrying. Furthermore, the wealthiest personalities in the novel, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, both flaunt their wealth in a carless way, with little thought for other people. In doing so, these characters all perpetuate the notion that people's wealth and riches played a major part in the careless and corruptive behaviour of 1920s American society. 1 ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an extremely confident response to the question. The candidate tackles the task set very well and retains an unbroken focus on the question, resulting in a flowing, succinct essay that, at the end of every paragraph, is wise ...

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Response to the question

This is an extremely confident response to the question. The candidate tackles the task set very well and retains an unbroken focus on the question, resulting in a flowing, succinct essay that, at the end of every paragraph, is wise to reference the steer of the question. This is good because it shows the examiner the focus in consistently placed on the question and that the candidate is answering that question directly by tying all points and analysis made back to it. This is a very well-written essay.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is very proficient and indicative of a student working towards a strong A/A* grade for GCSE. I estimate this answer is worth probably 29 or 30/32 marks. There is a good use of quotes and page references to back up all analytical points throughout the entirety of the essay, an d the candidate showing a wide knowledge of both character and plot as they use a wide variety of references from Fitzgerald's novel to fortify their answer.

Though a highly impressive answer, some improvements could be made; it's not that any of the analyses is erroneous, but particularly when the candidate speaks of Daisy, they could mention the child she and Tom share - this child is not even named and Daisy can't bare to be around her (despite appearing to adore her when in public) and so ushers her away under the care of the Nanny. What does this say about the only thing Daisy's ever done that requires care and commitment? It further corrupts her, because she has never had to face responsibility before.

The answer would be perfect otherwise but perhaps a little more depth in only a few areas could serve the candidate well.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Writing (QWC) here is good. There are moments where the candidate makes the same mistake twice (writing "Myer Wolfshiem" instead of "Meyer Wolfshiem") but other than that the QWC is very consistently of good standard. I would recommend therefore that the candidate simply re-read their work and be sure that they have not used any malapropisms or mis-spelt without realising - we all do it; make spelling and grammar errors without recognising at the time of writing, so a proof-read is always important before coursework submission of before the examination time is over.


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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 30/06/2012

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