The Great Gatsby Essay

2042 words - 9 pages

"It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire" (Fitzgerald). This quote perfectly describes the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age was a feature of the 1920s when jazz music and dance became popular. The jazz age was a time of rapid growth and prosperity. During the 1920's a group of writers known as "The Lost Generation" gained popularity. The "Lost Generation" was a group of authors who were disillusioned by World War I. Many good, young men went to war and died, or returned home either physically or mentally wounded. One of the “Lost Generation” authors during the Jazz Age was F. Scott Fitzgerald. F Scott Fitzgerald became an acclaimed American ...view middle of the document...

Gatsby represents the fallen American Dream when he is never able to achieve his dream girl, Daisy. His pursue of his dream, represents, in the 1920s , how people pursued after material possessions. Many people in the 1920s thought that the only way to achieve the American Dream is to have things that they desire such as a nice home, job, and car; this is why consumerism was large during that time because many people desired to get things that they cannot afford. Ultimately, this led their downfall and the downfall of the American Dream.
Economic prosperity occurred in The Great Gatsby as well as in the 1920s. Many people who were not rich before became wealthy in hope of achieving the American Dream. After World War I, the economy and the stock market went on a rise. This quote explains what happened after World War I and what happened during the 1920s. “Following a postwar recession from the middle of 1920 to the end of 1921, the economy picked up again and remained strong until the end of the decade” (Roaring Twenties). Because the economy was on the rise, people gained money and started to become wealthier. People who became wealthier during the roaring twenties obtained “new money” (which means that they earned their money without heritage) while people who inherited their money obtained “old money” (who did not work to get their money). This is similar to The Great Gatsby where “old money” represented Tom Buchanan (who inherited his money) and East Egg (place where people who inherited their money live) while “new money” represented Gatsby (who earned his money) and West Egg (a place where people who earned their money by hard work live) . Robert Lee, leading literary critic said, “If Gatsby signals new money, Tom is old money, the writ of parvenu wealth against socially laundered wealth” (Lee). In this quote, Lee mentions the differences between “old wealth” and “new wealth” and how they are completely different. In the 1920s, some people inherited "old money" and some obtained "new money". People who gained money during the 1920s tend to spend very lavishly. They spent on things such as washing machines and cars because consumerism and materialism were encouraged at that time.
The obsession with the excess amount of wealth and the large amount of materialism was prevalent in The Great Gatsby as well in the 1920s. In The Great Gatsby, materialism is not only an object but a symbol of wealth. For many people, showing off wealth removes the insecurities of many people. For example, in the novel, Tom Buchanan’s blue car is a symbol of his “old money” wealth while Gatsby’s car in a symbol of his “new” money wealth. Gatsby’s car is yellow to symbolize that he is wealthy. He uses his car in hope to impress Daisy and to show her that he has money. Tom Buchanan also has an expensive car; however his car, his more conservative compared to Gatsby because his necessity to show his status symbol is not as high compared to Gatsby; however Buchanan’s...

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