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The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, presents characteristics such as corruption and self-involvement throughout the novel. Nick Carraway, the narrator, and one of the main characters, describes this time as a time of excess and of moral and material degeneration. Also as a time that led to a complete financial and social breakdown that one can relate to. The Great Gatsby is a subtle critique of how the “American Dream” can go wrong and what happens when it does. The story of Jay Gatsby is emblematic of the vanity of the American dream since he spent all his life living it, but he never knew what it meant to have peace of mind and true happiness which most people struggle with today.
The “American Dream” is that you can rise from the ashes and become immensely wealthy like Jay Gatsby. The novel, written during the Roaring Twenties, connects to that time period due to the dynamic of the economy and society changing. The main focus for everyone was to be famous and rich in a post World War I world. People were, and still are, attracted to the higher class of living. Daisy Buchanan was willing to marry for money and status then waiting for Gatsby to come back from the war. This materialistic way is still pursued in modern day news with people creating a facade to seem like someone that they aren’t.
By juxtaposing the sensibilities of the elite and the working class, Fitzgerald offers a distinct contrast of how the selfishness, snobbery and indifference of one section controls not just the lives but also the deaths of the other. For Tom Buchanan, cheating on Daisy was something that he felt that he could do because of his status and his carelessness towards others feelings. His actions led to the death of his mistress, Myrtle Wilson, by her running in front of his car. Daisy’s actions also led to the death of Jay Gatsby because of her convincing Gatsby that she would leave Tom for him. The guest of his party also presented themselves as selfish due to them coming into his luxurious home for one party and feed off of his wealth and status, but when he dies, not one of them, except Nick, cares to attend his funeral.
The Great Gatsby will always be a classic because of its involvement of describing one trying to achieve the American Dream. It also has never lost its modernity; it has that kind of staying power that creates it’s timelessness. Fitzgerald’s realistic portrayal of the societal problems is what creates the eternalness of this novel.