• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The character of Jay Gatsby symbolises the corruption of the American Dream in 'The Great Gatsby.'"- To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The character of Jay Gatsby symbolises the corruption of the American Dream in 'The Great Gatsby.'" - To what extent do you agree with this statement? "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. This is a dream. It's a great dream." Martin Luther King, Jr As evident in the words of Martin Luther King Jr, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are key aspects of the life of any human being. This American dream is a major preoccupation throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, 'The Great Gatsby', and is no more apparent in any feature than in the character of Jay Gatsby. When studying literature, we often search for an extraordinary character. Jay Gatsby, has such a unique personality that narrator Nick Carraway, feels he may never again find a person similar to Gatsby. Throughout the novel, Gatsby remains determined in his goal to reunite with Daisy. His love and passion for the pursuit of a dream never subside, and his true dedication to Daisy and eventual self sacrifice highlight the strength of his character. In a time when the economy was thriving, and lifestyles were extreme, the contemporary scene, the extravagance of Gatsby's parties, the superficiality of the guests, and the hint of Gatsby's involvement in crime all identify the American setting in the era of the roaring 1920's. ...read more.

Middle

Following the literal death of Gatsby, Nick leaves the East, possibly due to the realisation that the past must be accepted in order to live in to the future, something that Gatsby failed to do. If this idea is pursued, it could be argued that in this sense Gatsby is representative of the corruption of the American Dream, and that others may learn from his mistakes. The parties that Jay Gatsby was known for, where his guests would party, eat and drink until the night was over, effectively overwhelmed his persona, Gatsby was simply an observer of his own parties. This is where the idea of 'self promotion' becomes evident. Gatsby's parties are an effective method of self promotion, both to society and to Daisy. Many of the guests would make an appearance simply to be reported in the local newspapers, having no real knowledge of their host, and having no conversation more stimulating than to gossip about the host of these fantastic parties. The "pulp less halves" and the "empty" guests, appear to be nothing but soulless beings intrigued by image and wealth. "Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruitier in New York-Every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his backdoor in a pyramid of pulp less halves". Although ironically, it can be argued that the people entering the party were never 'full' as the fruits were. As chapter four opens, Nick reveals a list of those attending one of Gatsby's parties. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Great Gatsby is an excellent portrayal of the corruption of the American dream as more immoral values filled the nineteen twenties society, showing us the way in which American popular culture became simply hedonistic. The main character, 'Jay Gatsby' is the only one whose personality is preserved to the end of the novel. This unique personality, his appreciation of beautiful things and the surrender of his own life mark him as an extraordinary person. Gatsby desperately seeks Daisy's love, and love is often valued as pure, although throughout Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby', it is portrayed as corrupt and almost dangerous. Following the theme of 'poisonous' love, one can look at the terrible irony that is Gatsby's love for beauty. Such love is a key instrument in his death, as his beautiful love Daisy was driving his beautiful car, ("He saw me looking at it in admiration...I'd seen it. Everybody had seen it") when it struck, and killed, Myrtle Wilson. Gatsby's two most beautiful possessions had combined to set off a corrupt chain of events that would end in his brutal murder. Gatsby's sacrifice to protect Daisy could almost prove the title of Fitzgerald's novel correct, as it is true that Gatsby's personality, eye for beauty and sacrifice make him a worthy recipient of the title "Great." However, Gatsby's dream is ultimately shown to be worthless. Daisy is proven to be unworthy of such a sacrifice, and Gatsby's failure to realise this almost seems to lessen our admiration of the character. Despite this, one must agree with Nick, that Gatsby is indeed, within such a society as ruled the 1920's, "worth the whole damn bunch put together. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE F. Scott Fitzgerald essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Beneath the Surface Glitter, The Great Gatsby is a Profoundly Pessimistic Novel. Do You ...

    4 star(s)

    The second chapter includes Nicks symbolic vision of the state of the country. He describes the valley of ashes with such words as desolate, grotesque and ghastly. The valley of ashes show the decay of the American Dream as the ash represents corruption.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Symbolism in The Great Gatsby.

    5 star(s)

    Arthur Mizener observes, "Through Fitzgerald's wording in describing the image of Eckleburg's eyes, one develops a mental image of an omnipotent being who is constantly watching over the land" (Mizener 289). The use of the word "brood" suggests that whatever the eyes are seeing has made their owner disappointed.

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Great Gatsby

    5 star(s)

    This suggests how he (Gatsby) has totally been overcome by the very thought of Daisy being in his house, comprehending everything he slavishly achieved and fought for, for this very moment in which she (Daisy) would understand that everything had been about her.

  2. Peer reviewed

    The Great Gatsby

    5 star(s)

    Wood- cutters own the timber physically, but, "there is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet,"(Nature).

  1. Peer reviewed

    What is so Great about Gatsby? The word great in the title gives the ...

    4 star(s)

    It is therefore clear that it is not wealth that makes Gatsby great but something else, something mysterious and almost magical, he is a symbol of something different that has been able to succeed in a world which was determined to see him not do.

  2. How Has Fitzgerald Presented The Character Of Daisy In 'The Great Gatsby'?

    Rennison goes on to say; 'Daisy is a trapped woman. She's trapped in a marriage that she is unhappy in and trapped in a world where she has no chance to be free or independent. She is at the mercy of her husband, a man who takes her for granted'.

  1. The Corruption of The American Dream.

    He would do this to express his unbearable love for Daisy. His "beautiful shirts...It makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts before", said Daisy Buchanan. It sounds quite silly to cry over simple shirts, but it's not the shirts, but rather what they represent.

  2. "The Great Gatsby" and the American Dream.

    James Gatz's attempts to better himself as a person fit in with this idealized version, removed from the corrupt, money-loving version we see represented by Daisy at times. Gatsby's schedule shows how he was striving to improve himself, his father told Nick, "He always had some resolves like this or something."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work