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Themes in the Great Gatsby

  • Date Submitted: 03/28/2010 09:05 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.8 
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  Like Fitzgerald, Nick Gatsby is a young man from Minnesota,   educated at an Ivy League school, who moves to New York after   the War.
      Also similar to Fitzgerald is Jay Gatsby, a sensitive young   man who idolizes wealth and luxury and who falls in love with   a beautiful young woman while stationed at a military camp   in the South.
      Having become a celebrity, Fitzgerald fell into a wild, reckless   life-style of parties and decadence, while desperately trying   to please Zelda by writing to earn money. Similarly, Gatsby   amasses a great deal of wealth at a relatively young age, and   devotes himself to acquiring possessions and throwing parties   that he believes will enable him to win Daisy’s love. As the   giddiness of the Roaring Twenties dissolved into the bleakness   of the Great Depression, however, Zelda suffered a nervous   breakdown and Fitzgerald battled alcoholism, which hampered   his writing.
      Written in 1925, The Great Gatsby is one of the greatest literary   documents of this period, in which the American economy soared,   bringing unprecedented levels of prosperity to the nation.
      Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new   lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had   always idolized the very rich. Now he found himself in an era   in which unrestrained materialism set the tone of society,   particularly in the large cities of the East. Even so, like   Nick, Fitzgerald saw through the glitter of the Jazz Age to   the moral emptiness and hypocrisy beneath, and part of him   longed for this absent moral center. In many ways, The Great   Gatsby represents Fitzgerald’s attempt to confront his   conflicting feelings about the Jazz Age. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald   was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything   he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised.
      At the end of the text, Nick reflects that just as...


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