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The Great American Illusion

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:12 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.9 
  • Words: 981
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The Great Gatsby, written by Scott F. Fitzgerald in the 1920’s is the epitome of the Jazz Age, a phrase coined by the author himself. In the novel, Fitzgerald uses many literary elements to accurately portray the time period in which he lived including setting, characters, diction, and many symbols, which form the majority of the analytical portion of the story. In fact, many of the characters in the book double as a symbol, in order to strengthen a particular motif or theme within the novel. The most apparent, recurring and powerful theme in the book is the corruption of the American Dream during the Jazz Age. Even though many scholars believe that Fitzgerald is promoting the Dream, he is actually condemning it and what it stands for. This theme is used in conjunction with the motif of appearance versus reality to criticize further the “single green light, minute and far away” (25) that many Americans have strived for: financial success, fame, power and glory.   Fitzgerald masterfully uses the character Gatsby to show the illusion that is the American Dream that, in reality, is an extremely corrupt and greedy practice during the extravagant and flagrant era of the 1920’s.

Primarily, Fitzgerald uses Gatsby to show the corruption and the greed that consumes and destroys the followers of the Dream. When Gatsby realizes that he is not able to be with Daisy in his youth because of his social class, he decides to pave his own way by climbing to her social class. Formerly James Gatz, “he [invents] the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end” (95), beginning his search for a higher social class. Gatsby is willing to give up the institution of family and his heritage in order to gain monetary wealth like many of the immigrants coming over to America to make a living. This vice of Gatsby’s assist the reader’s negative view towards the main character and further criticizes the idea...

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