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"The Great Gatsby" By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1545 words - 7 pages

The 1920s was a time of excess and growth. Economically, the 1920s was a time for great financial gain. Largely because of improvements in technology, productivity increased while overall production costs decreased, and the economy grew. Not only was this time filled with prosperity, but corruption as well. People finally acquired leisure time, and it was filled with gluttony and lust. Many authors during this time believed that society was living in excess and without curbing its appetite somewhat, ruin was just around the corner. Although most people associate good times and carefree abandon with the reverie of the 1920s, these authors also suggest a hidden, much darker side. Authors ...view middle of the document...

Although Gatsby claims he just does some business on the side, after Gatsby's death a caller intending to talk to Gatsby declares to Nick, "Young Parke's in trouble... They picked him up when he handed the bonds over the counter. They got a circular from New York giving 'em the numbers just five minutes before" (Fitzgerald 174). This call signifies that Gatsby is not only involved in bootlegging, but also in securities fraud, a serious federal offense. Gatsby's participation in illegal activities in order to achieve his dream of love shows how corrupt the American dream became. These illegal acts required to obtain the American dream lower the American dream-- once a symbol of hope-- onto an immoral path leading to even more corruption. This path of obtaining the American dream shows its further corruption when Jay Gatsby, who finally acquires the fortune necessary to win the affection of Daisy, partakes in an affair with Daisy. When trying to make his dream of acquiring Daisy come true, Gatsby's immoral actions continue even though he is fully aware of Daisy's husband. This disgusting display of infidelity is further acknowledged when Daisy, upon Tom leaving the room, "pulled [Gatsby's] face down kissing him on the mouth" (Fitzgerald 122). This mutual display of affection in front of friends and family symbolizes the immoral actions people will take during this time just to satisfy their dream. The continual demonstrations of corruption within the American dream throughout The Great Gatsby portray Fitzgerald's disdain of the Jazz Age's immorality.Within literature of the Jazz Age, many authors, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edwin Arlington Robinson, condemn the heinous idea that the American dream of wealth will make a person truly happy. In "Richard Cory," by Edwin Arlington Robinson, everyone surrounding Richard Cory thinks he is a happy man because of his wealth. Everyone wants and strives to be like this man because he is, among many other things, "richer than a king" (Robinson l. 9). This idea is abruptly proven untrue when one day Richard Cory "went home and put a bullet through his head" (Robinson l. 16). Although on the outside Cory seems like the happiest man alive due to his wealth and possessions, it does not automatically signify that his mental health is content as well. Jay Gatsby spends years of his life attempting to acquire wealth equal to Dan Cody's wealth in order to secure the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. While he does finally acquire riches, it does not make him happy because in the end, the wealth does not win over Daisy. Even at his own parties, he sits there waiting for Daisy while "no one swoon[s] backward on Gatsby and no French bob touche[s] Gatsby's shoulder and no singing quartet [form] with Gatsby's head for one link" (Fitzgerald 55). Even with all of Gatsby's wealth and possessions, he cannot obtain forever the one thing that drives his determination and holds the key to his happiness-- Daisy. The only...

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