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Critical Analysis of Great Gatsby

Symbolism and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

❶However, Fitzgerald reveals this is not the case. But beneath all the decadence and romance, The Great Gatsby is a severe criticism of American upper class values.

Critical Essay on The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald

However, Fitzgerald explores much more than the failure of the American dream—he is more deeply concerned with its total corruption.

Gatsby has not achieved his wealth through honest hard work, but through bootlegging and crime. Gatsby has been created from the dreams of the boy James Gatz. It is not only Gatsby who is corrupt. Nick repeatedly says that he is the only honest person he knows. The story is full of lying and cheating. The society in which the novel takes place is one of moral decadence.

Whether their money is inherited or earned, its inhabitant are morally decadent, living life in quest of cheap thrills and with no seeming moral purpose to their lives.

Any person who attempts to move up through the social classes becomes Like the flower for which she is named, Daisy is delicate and lovely. She also shows a certain weakness that simultaneously attracts men to her and causes her to be easily swayed. The two fell in love quickly, and Daisy promised to remain loyal to Gatsby when he shipped out to join the fighting. Two years later, she married Tom Buchanon because he bought her an expensive necklace, with the promise of a life of similar extravagance.

Gatsby is another matter entirely. When Gatsby finally professes his love over tea, she responds positively. But is she renewing an old love, or manipulating Gatsby? Daisy is described in glowing terms in the novel, although her value seems to be connected to monetary value. In chapter 7, for example, Nick and Gatsby have the following famous exchange:. I'd never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it.

Daisy is an ideal, and Fitzgerald gives her the qualities to not only live up to that ideal but to also bring it crashing down around her. Tom takes good care of her financially and is even jealous when he realizes, in chapter 7, that Gatsby is in love with his wife. Later, Nick clears up at least part of the mystery Daisy presents: Like money, Daisy promises far more than she is capable of providing. She is perfect but flawed, better as an image than as a flesh-and-blood person.

Gatsby is the only true witness, but he takes the blame for her. Rather than renew their month-long affair, Daisy disappears into her opulent house, retreating into the only security she knows. She continues her almost ghostly existence, leaving the men in her life to clean up the mess. The child is nothing more than an afterthought, as she is unable to give Daisy anything but love, which she has in abundance.

Daisy is incapable of caring for her infant—one assumes a governess or nanny takes care of her—any more than she is able to truly love Tom or Gatsby. Daisy is capable of affection. She seems to have some loyalty to Tom, and even a certain devotion to Gatsby, or at least to the memory of their earlier time together.

However, like money, Daisy is elusive and hard to hold onto. This may explain why Tom and Gatsby fight over her in chapter 7 as if she were an object:. Gatsby sprang to his feet, vivid with excitement. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me!

The tone of the argument seems almost like that of two men fighting over the pot in a poker game. Daisy is a prize, and she seems to see herself in those terms. Jay Gatsby In the first two chapters of the novel, its title character is a mystery—a wealthy, fun-loving local celebrity with a shady past who throws lavish weekly parties. On the surface, Gatsby is an example of the American Dream in the s, the desire for wealth, love and power.

Once out of high school, Gatz changed his name to Jay Gatsby and attended St. Gatsby rarely drinks, and is distant at his own lavish parties. He wants the success Cody achieved without the destructive habits that success afforded him. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy, lied about his background, and vowed to someday be good enough to win her heart.

Devastated, Gatsby went to Oxford in English for the education that would complete his transformation from poor farm boy to famous or infamous socialite. He begs Nick to set up a rendezvous with Daisy for him, which Nick does. In a confrontation at the Plaza Hotel, Tom openly accuses Gatsby of criminal activities, including bootlegging. At this point, the Gatsby myth returns full force, as an enraged, jealous Wilson shoots Gatsby dead, then kills himself.

Instead, they live their lives in such a way as to perpetuate their sense of superiority — however unrealistic that may be.

The people with newly acquired wealth, though, aren't necessarily much better. Think of Gatsby's partygoers. They attend his parties, drink his liquor, and eat his food, never once taking the time to even meet their host nor do they even bother to wait for an invitation, they just show up. When Gatsby dies, all the people who frequented his house every week mysteriously became busy elsewhere, abandoning Gatsby when he could no longer do anything for them.

One would like to think the newly wealthy would be more sensitive to the world around them — after all, it was only recently they were without money and most doors were closed to them.

As Fitzgerald shows, however, their concerns are largely living for the moment, steeped in partying and other forms of excess. Just as he did with people of money, Fitzgerald uses the people with no money to convey a strong message.

Nick, although he comes from a family with a bit of wealth, doesn't have nearly the capital of Gatsby or Tom. In the end, though, he shows himself to be an honorable and principled man, which is more than Tom exhibits. Myrtle, though, is another story. She comes from the middle class at best. She is trapped, as are so many others, in the valley of ashes, and spends her days trying to make it out.

In fact, her desire to move up the social hierarchy leads her to her affair with Tom and she is decidedly pleased with the arrangement. Because of the misery pervading her life, Myrtle has distanced herself from her moral obligations and has no difficulty cheating on her husband when it means that she gets to lead the lifestyle she wants, if only for a little while. What she doesn't realize, however, is that Tom and his friends will never accept her into their circle.

Notice how Tom has a pattern of picking lower-class women to sleep with. For him, their powerlessness makes his own position that much more superior. In a strange way, being with women who aspire to his class makes him feel better about himself and allows him to perpetuate the illusion that he is a good and important man.

Myrtle is no more than a toy to Tom and to those he represents. Fitzgerald has a keen eye and in The Great Gatsby presents a harsh picture of the world he sees around him. The s marked a time of great post-war economic growth, and Fitzgerald captures the frenzy of the society well.

Although, of course, Fitzgerald could have no way of foreseeing the stock market crash of , the world he presents in The Great Gatsby seems clearly to be headed for disaster. They have assumed skewed worldviews, mistakenly believing their survival lies in stratification and reinforcing social boundaries. They erroneously place their faith in superficial external means such as money and materialism , while neglecting to cultivate the compassion and sensitivity that, in fact, separate humans from the animals.

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Critical Essays Social Stratification: The Great Gatsby as Social Commentary Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald offers up commentary on a variety of themes — justice, power, greed, betrayal, the American dream, and so on.

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The Great Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s indictment of the American Dream. For Nick, Gatsby’s death represents the debasement of the dream. For Nick, Gatsby’s death represents the debasement of the dream.

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The Great Gatsby essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis . The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work and it is considered to be his best. He provides a powerful, disturbing insight into the American society in the ’s in particular those who became rich, achieving the American dream.

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Another example is when at Gatsby's party, music by Mr. Vladimir Tostoff was going to play, and it had:attracted so much attention at Carnegie Hall," which is an allusion to a great event because it is a huge concert hall. Whilst The Great Gatsby explores a number of themes, none is more prevalent than that of the corruption of the American dream. The American dream is the concept that, in America, any person can be.