Gatsby's world is corrupt but ultimately glamorous. How do you respond to this statement?

Authors Avatar by pseudonymegg (student)

“Gatsby’s world is corrupt but ultimately glamorous.”

How do you respond to this view of the novel? (21 marks)

Fitzgerald reveals the life of Gatsby through the retrospective narrator Nick Carraway. Through this, it is clear from the opening chapter that Gatsby’s life is glamorous ‘there was something gorgeous about him.’ Through the description of Gatsby’s house it is evidently home to affluence and subsequently glamour. It is described to have a ‘marble swimming pool’ and ‘forty acres of lawn’ which evokes imagery of glamour and ostentatious displays of wealth. Furthermore, in chapter 3 Fitzgerald accentuates this glamorous image of Gatsby’s life through the lavish party complete with ‘salads of harlequin designs’ and ‘in the main hall a bar’ ‘stocked with gins and liquors.’ These descriptions of Gatsby’s life and himself permeate the entire novel, therefore it cannot be denied that Gatsby’s life is glamorous. However, Fitzgerald also describes the people who appear at his parties who ‘conducted themselves according to the rules of behaviour associated with an amusement park.’ Through this symbolism Fitzgerald demonstrates how Gatsby has a grave desire to be accepted into the hedonistic society of the Roaring Twenties. The people he throws parties for and who he associates with are irresponsible, vacuous and rude, therefore suggesting that Gatsby’s lavish life is simultaneously corrupt.

 Similarly Fitzgerald uses contrast to demonstrate the corruption in Gatsby’s life. ‘His station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug’ this is not a very glamorous image which seems incongruous with the previous descriptions of affluence, this could show how Gatsby’s life has dual reflections; it is both wonderful and corrupt. Moreover the repulsive imagery could reflect the parasitic quality of people the ‘station wagon’ carries to Gatsby’s house ‘to and from the city’ thus furthering the argument that those who Gatsby associates with, corrupt his life and negatively impact upon him. Through this Fitzgerald is reflecting the wider immorality of those in a high economic position in the 1920s. People such as Jordan Baker and Lucille who says ‘I never care what I do, so I always have a good time’, highlighting the corruption and irresponsibility in America during the 1920s.

Join now!

Similarly the meaningful absence in Gatsby’s character endorsed by Fitzgerald contributes to the suspicions of corruption in his life. For the beginning of the novel Gatsby is an elusive image in the reader’s mind, it is only in chapter 4 that Nick and Gatsby have a momentous encounter revealing the “truth” about Gatsby. Fitzgerald employs direct speech to enhance the reader’s understanding of Gatsby’s past, that his ‘family all died’ and he was ‘educated at Oxford.’ The fact that this more developed image of Gatsby has only appeared in chapter 4 attributes a nefarious side to Gatsby’s life, since it’s ...

This is a preview of the whole essay