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Morality in The Great Gatsby
Transcript of Morality in The Great Gatsby
Events Gatsby's Parties Many people felt compelled to go to Gatsby’s parties because it was “cool” to do so. However, at these parties, no one exhibited restraint. They would, for example, get so drunk that they couldn’t drive(which is even worse because this takes place in the prohibition era.) Symbols The Valley of Ashes “The Valley of Ashes … indicate a moral wasteland.” (Pavlovski )The Valley of Ashes is a perfect representation of the idea that many people will drop morals in order to obtain status/wealth. The Valley of Ashes is literally a long stretch of land where industrial ashes were dumped. This is significant because the owners of the factories that dumped the ashes there, are typically rich, old-money types such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan. This symbol recognizes the idea that the rich are so devoid of principles that they would do something to ravage the land like this, for the sole purpose of obtaining more wealth. Works Cited "The Great Gatsby." Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Linda Pavlovski. Vol. 157. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 May. 2011. Myrtle Myrtle is similar to Gatsby because she, too, is participating in an affair. However, she is different from Gatsby because she is someone who desires to have money, whereas Gatsby already has money. Myrtle wishes to live the lifestyle of someone rich and important with Tom and in doing so, she exhibits infidelity towards her husband, Wilson. It is apparent that Myrtle prioritizes Tom and his money higher than she does Wilson.
The End Tom's Party in New York Tom's Party in New York is a good example of a lack of morality. All of the partygoers get drunk and argue over trivial matters. Tom even punches Myrtle in the nose, just because she mentions his real wife, Daisy. All of this is evidence of the characters getting caught up in the benefits of having money and time to squander. Lemons and Oranges The Lemons and Oranges that are brought into Gatsby's parties are very symbolic of the moral depletion that the partygoers undergo. They come to the parties fresh and even somewhat innocent. However, by the end of the party, they are "depleted" of their moral values. They have done things such as getting drunk or making other bad decisions, that leave them feeling empty and depressed. "The car wrecks, marital squabbles, and damaged objects resulting from the parties could equally be seen as the novel's effort to metaphorize the price exacted from people and things by Gatsby's class ambitions."(Forter) The point made here by Forter is again, the price that is paid in morals in order to obtain class. Forter, Greg. "Against melancholia: contemporary mourning theory, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and the politics of unfinished grief." differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 14.2 (2003): 134+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 May 2011.