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Great Gatsby Cynical

  • Date Submitted: 10/28/2010 07:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52 
  • Words: 301
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Both characters also believed in the ‘American Dream’ which is a key theme circling the novel. In the 1920’s, America was deemed ‘the land of opportunities’ and was experiencing an economical boom. ‘Myrtle Wilson’s tragic achievement’ of gaining recognition and fame was not grasped by her increase in wealth, but her notorious death. The juxtaposition in ‘tragic’ and ‘achievement’ shows Myrtle’s dream to be ironic. Her death also forebodes Gatsby’s death and so by the end of the novel, all characters who believe in the American Dream either die or surrender to a miserable life as critic Matt Butcher points out that ‘when Daisy’s love for Gatsby doesn’t rescue her, she allows her second choice to’. Thus, proving the failure of the American Dream resulted in a cynical novel.

However, the portrayal of women in the novel can unveil ‘The Great Gatsby’ to be a positive novel. The war had a positive impact on women as they became more independent and left their domestic lives and so gained freedom. Jordan is a representation of an atypical Victorian. Feminists point out ‘her lack of family shows how she is the new modern woman with a masculine name and profession’ emphasizes on her freedom. However, we also learn of Tom’s views on ‘Jazz Age women’ and believes ‘they oughtn’t to let her run around like this’. This reinforced Tom as a superior male and can therefore show a cynical novel in the lack of freedom given to women.

Another example exploits the role of women in the novel. ‘Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls…I have forgotten their names’. Unlike Benny, the four girls remained unidentified revealing their unimportance. The girls are described as accessories for Mr McClenahan which enhances his social status.


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