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How does "The Great Gatsby" relate to modern society?

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Wyatt Phillips

on 9 March 2015

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Transcript of How does "The Great Gatsby" relate to modern society?

Even though "The Great Gatsby" was written almost a century ago, many of the themes of the book can still be seen in societies today
During the time that "The Great Gatsby" was written, the economy was prospering and the dynamics of society were changing
The main focus of the media were people who were famous and rich and this reflected on the values of a vast majority of the populations of the United States
The Roaring '20s
Materialism in modern society
This particular aspect of society has not changed much since the writing of The Great Gatsby
We are still obsessed with the newest and most expensive clothes, technology, cars, and music
Sometimes we see cases similar to Daisy's where a person will marry somebody who has a lot of money rather than marry somebody because they actually love them
Social Networking in the book
During the course of the book Nick is introduced to many of Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom's friends
He learns a lot about their friends' secret lives but never forms relationships with any of them
The only person that Nick maintains an honest relationship with in the book is Gatsby
Materialism in the book
Materialism was a key component in the time period of the book and is still an apparent characteristic of modern societies today
People were, and still are, attracted to a higher class of living and everybody wants to be rich
Gatsby's character is defined through his extravagant house, clothing, parties, and cars
Daisy too is so enamored with the thought of being wealthy that she loses patience and marries Tom rather than waiting for Gatsby to return home from the war
By Wyatt Phillips
How does "The Great Gatsby" relate to modern society?
Social Networking in modern society
Social Networking today is more or less the same concept
It has redefined the meaning of the word friend as someone that you add on Facebook or follow on Instagram
Relationships between people on Social Media are a shallower than they would be if you knew the person well in real life
Just like Nick sort of surveyed the secret relationships among his friends, somebody on a social network may learn about a person by surveying their status updates but would never actually know the person on a deeper level
Personas in the book
To everybody who doesn't know Gatsby's story, he is an extremely wealthy and famous man who has come from money and has lived the high life forever
In reality he was born poor a poor farmer's child and if the public actually knew how he obtained all of his wealth, they would have a completely different perception of him
Gatsby tries his best to create a fake persona in the hopes of winning Daisy back

1:20 - 3:02
Personas in modern society
An excellent example of how people create different personas of themselves is the TV show "Catfish"
In the show, people create fake dating profiles in order to attract other people
This is a modern version of what Gatsby tried to do to Daisy. He attempted to construct a false persona in an attempt to attract her because he thought that his poor and unsuccessful past would drive her away
Celebrities in the book
In the book Gatsby is very well known in East and West Egg
He is made popular by his famous parties and the thing that possibly makes him the most popular is the fact that nobody really knows who he is or what he looks like
But even though there are lots of people at his parties and everybody seems to like him, as soon as he is accused of killing Myrtle nobody wants anything to do with him anymore
Except for Nick, not one person who came to his parties attended his funeral
Celebrities in modern society
This type of fame occurs often in societies today
One day everybody can be in support of a famous person and be madly obsessed with them and the next day the celebrity could suddenly go off the grid and everybody would completely forget about them
This happens often on the app Vine
One month there are several popular Viners (i.e. Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, Jerome Jarre) and the next there is a completely different group and the ones who were previously famous are now entirely forgotten
Full transcript