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How Setting is used in "The Great Gatsby" to show moral decay.

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English A: Language and Literature (SL) Part 3: Texts and Contexts In the classic novel, The Great Gatsby, through the extensive descriptions of setting and depictions of characters by F.Scott Fitzgerald, the theme of decayed moral and social values that are prevalent in the 1920s are being brought out. Given this, the setting of the valley of ashes, is representative of the waste and ugliness that exudes out of such wealth and through description of the valley, Fitzgerald manages to express his disdain for the materialism that has arisen in the early twentieth century as a result of the American dream which motivated them in their endless pursuit of wealth. ...read more.


Thus, this negative portrayal of the desolate setting helps to enhance the social divide, in particular when the rich view those of lesser wealth with contempt and even to the point of ignorance. Through the interaction between Tom and Wilsons, Fitzgerald manages to bring out across facets of both characters? personality that accentuates the social divide between them. Tom social status is displayed when he uses an authoritative tone and says ? I want you to be my girl? and ?I want to see you? to Myrtle Wilson. It is enhanced when Tom respond to George Wilson ?coldly. Thereby, it is clear that from the communication between Tom and the Wilsons, Tom believes that he is superior than them. ...read more.


This shows her disregard and lack of respect for her husband. In contrast, she panders to Tom?s request earnestly, highlighting that she prefers the wealth of Tom to her own husband. This is indicative of the different treatment people from the different classes receive and this further emphasizes on the social divide. Lastly, Doctor T.J. Eckleburg represents the eyes of God that is looking over his paradise, which has been reduced to ?dumping ground? due to their evils of materialism. This implies that the pursuit of material wealth, or the American Dream, will not have a good ending and eventually lead to decayed moral and social values. With that, Fitzgerald brings together the social divisions apparent in the 1920s and how moral and social values are often foregone during the pursuit of wealth. ...read more.

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