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The 'Great Gatsby' can be regarded as a social satire and an observation of The American Dream - Discuss

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The 'Great Gatsby' can be regarded as a social satire and an observation of The American Dream Navina Kurup IBS-1 English November 11,2004 The Great Gatsby is observed as a social satire of the United States in the roaring twenties, where Fitzgerald exposes the American Dream as a flawed fantasy merely generated by over-indulgence. America was established in the conception of equality, where any individual could have equal opportunities and success on the substratum of their abilities and effort, which can be described as the American Dream. The former president Abraham Lincoln confirmed this surmise, as he himself was an impoverished, disadvantaged little boy who became president through his efforts. The Great Gatsby is set in the twenties, which was a period of contradictions and inquietude. The ghastly shock of the war was just ended, and it was now time for people to forget their wretchedness and have fun. This created a society obsessed with materialism and prodigality which eliminated moral values and traditional beliefs, and became engaged in a life of pointless extravagance and indulgence. The 'Great Gatsby' can be regarded as a social satire and remarks on the downfall of moral values and excessive indulgence of society. ...read more.


Through the novel, we become aware of the failure of the American Dream through the behavior and moral values portrayed by the society. Although the American dream has brought about growth and progress, discrimination and corruption still exists. Jay Gatsby is undoubtedly the most prominent example of the failures and successes of the dream in the novel. Gatsby is dominated by a world where prosperity is valued more than morals. In his quest for love, Gatsby has allowed his obsession for material possessions to empower him, and shows that he has been already taken over by the flaws of the American Dream. Gatsby might have been close to living the dream as he elevated himself from being a helpless boy with a poor family background to a wealthy, successful man. Daisy was his ultimate dream, and he chooses to pursue her by living in a world of high standards. He was blinded by the fact that through his wealth, the elite social group would accept him, and thus increase his chances of associating with Daisy and gaining her love. One object Gatsby created in order to win over Daisy was his car, as Nick describes it as being "monstrous in length with supper boxes and tool boxes". ...read more.


Myrtle seeks happiness and fulfillment in life by trying to imitate some of the characteristics of the affluent. Like Gatsby, Myrtle is just as rejected from the elite world of the upper class; but she still insists in pursuing her dreams of entering this world when she proclaimed the right to repeat Daisy's name in front of Tom, which resulted in him breaking her nose with his open hand. Therefore, we see that there is an invisible boundary that separates the two contradistinctive societies with insurmountable force. The American Dream is a well sought for thing, which leads many to go over the limits to achieve it, even in just having the opportunity of being wealthy. The Great Gatsby notifies the decayed moral values and unnecessary materialism brought about by the American Dream. However, it proves that no amount of wealth and authority can pursue acceptance. A society that relies on wealth, social standings and material possessions head nowhere in life, as Tom and Daisy prove in he novel. The ideal of the American Dream still consists in today's society, whether it being in the form of possessions, wealth or love. Yet one thing still holds true about American Dream; every individual desires something glorious in life, and each person attempts to gain it, whether being successful in attaining it or not. ...read more.

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Response to the question

Response to the question
The candidate gives a very good response to the question, discussing the context of the novel and giving detailed analysis of the characters, showing a good knowledge of the text and selecting appropriate areas of the ...

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Response to the question

Response to the question
The candidate gives a very good response to the question, discussing the context of the novel and giving detailed analysis of the characters, showing a good knowledge of the text and selecting appropriate areas of the text to focus on in order to answer the question. I feel that a question that instructs candidates to "discuss" invites them to consider opposing points of view and acknowledge that there may be a debate over the issue raised in the question. As this is GCSE, this is not necessary, but it shows a strong candidate and is a good habit to have for A Level study.

Level of analysis

Level of analysis
The level of analysis in this essay is excellent. The candidate comments on the cultural and social context of the 1920s which heavily influenced the novel, showing a sound understanding of the text. The fact that they have chosen to focus on several characters, and use them to provide evidence for their argument ensures that the essay is focused and enables them to go into an appropriate level of detail for GCSE level. The candidate uses a high level of relevant textual reference to support their arguments. This shows a good knowledge of the text, and is a necessity for higher grades. The recognition of the importance of the American Dream in any analysis of the novel also serves to demonstrate that this is a strong candidate.

Quality of writing

Quality of writing
In general, the candidate writes well and structures their essay well. There is a clear introduction and conclusion, and the candidate discusses the general context and background of the novel before going into more detail and examining different characters. The essay stays relevant to the question and spelling and grammar are of a good standard. However, the candidate uses several made-up words ("to upraise", "un-succeed", for example) and this is a mistake expected of a much lower-ability candidate, and would likely lose them some marks.

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