How Does Fitzgerald Comment on the Rich and Powerful in Society and the American Dream at the Time in The Great Gatsby

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The novel Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and published in 1925. Fitzgerald presents the rich and powerful in society and American dreamas not caring about the destructive impact they have on others, especially the poor. The story is narrated by a character named Nick Carraway. He is a neighbour of Great Gatsby and casts himself as an author. Gatsby is in love with another character, Daisy but when Gatsby returns from a war after 5 years Daisy is already married to Tom. The story describes two cities East Egg (already wealthy) and West Egg (new money). The two cities are separated by an industrial area known as valley of Ashes. Poor people like Myrtle and George live in the Valley of Ashes.

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People don’t pay attention to what they do when they are careless, and in The Great Gatsby everyone is careless at some point. Daisy and Tom not being serious about their relationship as Tom has affair with Myrtle and Daisy is still in love with Gatsby even though they both are married. Not only with relationship but also with the wealth they have. Gatsby is a careless person too because he earned his money by selling illegal drugs and alcohol. His parties are wild and stylish with thousands of guests. He never tries form any kind of relationship with his guests. In his party exploitation is seen as people are fighting with each other and drinking alcohol. The intention of throwing unnecessary parties is to get Daisy’s attention (He carelessly wastes thousands of dollars just hoping to see Daisy). Wealthy people only care about themselves and their careless behaviour causes other people clean up their mess.

Fitzgerald describes rich as arrogant. Tom believes that with the wealth and power he has he should be on the top of society. To maintain this, he hurts and put down the people around him. “When we stopped by the ash heaps, he jumped to his feet and taking my elbow, literally forced me from the car”. This shows how impolite and aggressive Tom is. When Nick comes for a visit to his house the first thing he says is “I have got a nice place here”. He compliments his own house which shows how arrogant he is. He always tries to show how much better he is than everyone else. He has no shame is talking to people rudely all he has is pride.

Fitzgerald portrays rich people as thinking themselves up above everyone. They think they can get away with anything. Gatsby earns money through illegal way but never gets caught. He also over speeds when driving but the police don’t do anything. Whereas poor people like Wilson are struggling to live a happy life. When Myrtle insists on Tom buying her a dog, says the dog is cute, Tom tries to show that he knows more than anyone, showing how he looks down the people who lie below his class.

Fitzgerald illustrates that rich people have weak relationships. Myrtle has no regret cheating her husband because she will get to live the luxury life, she always wanted but she doesn’t understand that Tom will not accept her in his circle. In the end breaking law leads to a death of innocent girl. Tom physically abuses Myrtle “making a short theft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” (page43) this shows how uncontrolled he is as a person. Tom is not only careless and arrogance but also a liar. Tom is responsible for Gatsby’s death but doesn’t show up to his funeral. Daisy in the other hand thinks money will solve her problems and she let Gatsby take the blame for Myrtle’s death and runs away with Tom. No one came to Gatsby’s funeral because people only used to come to his house because of his big parties or to get something from him. These all show that wealthy people don’t care about forming any kind of relationship with anyone.

Fitzgerald has used variety of literary techniques to represent American dream in 1920s. The green light symbolises dream that is out of reach. Gatsby keeps his eye on it and is always in view. The cars symbolise wealth and their ability of the rich and powerful to escape their problems and their carelessness with other people’s lives. If the characters of Great Gatsby weren’t wealthy, they would live more sensibly, and the result of their actions would be different.

In the great Gatsby we can see lot of lies, arrogance and carelessness which has given bad impression on the readers. Rich people believe they can get away with anything because they have enormous amount of wealth and they always dominate people below them. They don’t seem to be serious about their relationship and always trying to show that they are better than everyone.    

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