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The Causes on Gatsby's Trgedy

  • Date Submitted: 03/23/2010 08:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 63.2 
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The Causes of Gatsby’s Tragedy

3.1 Social reality leading to his failure and tragedy

The central object of The Great Gatsby is clearly Gatsby himself, a much glamorized character by Scott Fitzgerald, ennobled and dignified by a dream to which he is so faithful and devoted, though betrayed by it in the end. Gatsby is the one that Fitzgerald regards as admirable and romantic hero that is too rare in a period which has no ideals beyond material satisfaction, despite his own limitations and his shady operations as bootlegging. Gatsby’s failure has its own social reasons. In emphasizing Gatsby’s uniqueness as the last frontiersman and dreamer, Fitzgerald indicts a society which can neither accommodate nor comprehend such a man. Thus Gatsby, the naïve dreamer who hopes to achieve the impossible, is doomed to fail in the context of such a society.

3.1.1 The deteriorated American Dream

    It has been a long history for the American Dream. It first referred to the freedom of religion, large fortunes of puritans or extracting from the aristocratic society of Europe after the discovery of the “New Land” by Columbia, which became an attractive ideal and dream in that years. Then it later changed into the pursuit of success, which was represented by Benjamin Franklin. The last chapter of the novel says that Gatsby’s father proudly shows Nick Gatsby’s schedule and general resolves written in 1906 on the last fly-leaf of the ragged copy book called Hopalong Cassidy (P164). This schedule is an echo of typical Benjamin Franklin resolves concerning thrifty, healthy and the goal of advancement. It tells how thoroughly young James Gatz has absorbed the ideas of Benjamin Franklin through his Autobiography into his ambition to be success, believing that a man can be what he makes himself to be by hard working and sincere devotion. Just as the saying cited “Money for Franklin is not an end in itself, but a means, a way by which happiness can be achieved.”(Donalson 1984:27)...


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