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The Materialistic Immoral American Nightmare
Transcript of The Materialistic Immoral American Nightmare
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THE GREAT GATSBY
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The relationships portrayed in The Great Gatsby are very important. Not only because it furthers the plot but also because it helps gain insight on the characters' personality as well as their true nature.
Hits & Kills
Daisy is the personification of the pure, new American dream. She, in all her glory, represents the wealth and materialism for which disillusioned Americans, such as Gatsby, strive. Underneath the façade that Fitzgerald’s innocent character portrays is an uglier side of the American dream that paints corruption, superficiality and sadness.
Daisy’s corrupted moral views make her unable to feel empathetic towards Gatsby’s loss and instead highlights the material property shown in the photograph.
Daisy’s superficialness limits her moral and empathic outlook, trapping her in a cold, lonely, materialistic life since she is incapable of caring about anyone else but herself.
When Gatsby explains to his guest that his best friend died, Daisy cries out ''I adore it!' (…) 'The pompadour! You never told me you had a pompadour or a yacht'' (Fitzgerald, 93)
The fabrication of “happiness” which is associated with wealthy, powerful individuals is actually just a mirage that makes people believe that material goods can bring true pleasure.
When Nick describes Daisy’s reunions with Gatsby at the party, he notes that “Daisy’s face was smeared with tears, and when I came in, she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror” (Fitzgerald, 89)
As in every other aspect of her life, even in her reunion with her past lover, Daisy still keeps up superficial fronts, always pretending to look delighted and happy, even when she is lonely or emotional.
The novel depicts Daisy’s life as artificial and lonely, uncovering for the audience the prevalent disillusion of the American Dream concept in the 1920’s.
Myrtle Wilson, like many other commoners, uses the concept of the American dream to move forward and be successful. Sadly, Myrtle’s dream is not pure since all she wants is to move up the social ladder into high-class society and is ready to be deceitful in order to gain it.
Myrtle views the puppy as her and Tom’s “love child” in a sense, which in turn, ties hers more profoundly to him. She is hopeful that this will incite a stronger commitment, which she hopes, in the future, will enable her to gain the position of Tom’s wife and all the benefits that come with it.
Myrtle’s affair with Tom demonstrates how far she is willing to go, throwing away morality and the sacred institution of marriage, in the hopes of receiving scraps of wealth and fame.
Myrtle uses Tom in order to gain objects she otherwise would not be able to afford on the low income of her husband George Wilson. This is demonstrated when Myrtle requests a dog from Tom, “I want to get one of those dogs…I want to get one for the apartment. They’re nice to have — a dog.” (Fitzgerald, 27)
The yellow car represents the corruptive forces of money present in Myrtle’s ambitious aspiration to which she fell a brutal victim.
The conniving method and deceiving means Myrtle uses in order to gain the elements of the American dream of power, wealth and happiness, end up destroying her.
After Myrtle is hit by Gatsby’s yellow car, Nick contemplates the damages "They saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath"(Fitzgerald, 137)
In the end, it is the carelessness of the society of which Myrtle wanted to be a part that caused her death. She paid dearly for her ambitious and superficial lust for her distorted illusion of the American dream.
The protagonist of the story holds the most disillusioned version of the American dream, since he does not only want fame and wealth but also status. Unfortunately, his constant pursuit of illusion corrupts his moral characters and taints his once noble fantasy.
The irony of Gatsby’s situation is that through criminal means he is able to attain the financial stability of the “dream” but becomes morally corrupted. The aspect of self-improvement, which is an essential part of the American dream, grows less significant as his bank account develops.
Gatsby ends up corrupting himself in order to attain a dream that lost its “happily ever after" when its pursuer traded morality for the purity of his vision.
Tom provides insight regarding Gatsby’s fortune, with his comment “Who is Gatsby anyhow?” (…) ”Some big bootlegger?” (Fitzgerald, 107)
Gatsby pursues criminal activities in order to gain part of the American dream but loses his morality and identity during the process.
For Gatsby, the American dream is not a mere aspiration but also an identity to which he must mold himself accordingly.
As Meredith Adams quotes in the synopsis of her Gatsby article “Gatsby’s acts of rechristening himself symbolizes his desire to jettison his lower-class identity and recast himself as a wealthy man he envisions” (Jeshari 36)
Gatsby’s new name, character and language are all created in an effort to embody the new identity and status he seeks.
Review Key Points
Gatsby ends up corrupting himself in order to attain a dream that lost its “happily ever after “when its pursuer traded morality for of the purity of his vision.
The characters of Daisy, Myrtle and Gatsby encourage the reader to reflect upon the idea that the corruption of the American dream has transformed its vision to one of greed.
Daisy’s shallowness, self-indulgence and lack of morality reveal her true nature and destroys the illusion of the “American dream” fantasy.
Myrtle’s constant pursuit of wealth and fame, through any means, gave her more than she bargained for.
Gatsby’s attempt to change his past, present and future with the use of illegal and incriminating means depicts the corruption his once pure dream now holds.
All of Fitzgerald’s characters live in a sick, distorted parody of the American dream. They are unable to ever truly achieve its true virtue of happiness, because through their superficial lifestyles, they lack the ability to produce such an emotion, and as such, are unable to experience true joy.
Though the American dream can have many interpretations, its basis is that of happiness and wealth as defining a successful life.
Refined Thesis Statement
Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald’s characters base their lives on pursuing or dreaming about wealth and materialism. In the case of Daisy, Myrtle and Gatsby, their materialistic ideology degrades the long-standing illusion of the American dream.
Three Supporting Arguments
Daisy represents the finality of the new American dream for which others strive, since she has wealth and material possession, but as the reader can perceive, Daisy is corrupted by the superficialities of money and, even with all of her possessions, is unhappy.
Myrtle embodies the American masses in the 1920’s. She, like thousands of other Americans, strives to make her belief that wealth = happiness a reality; she is ready to taint herself to achieve it.
Gatsby probably has the purest notion of the American dream of all of Fitzgerald’s characters. Sadly he gets caught up in the corruption of money - criminalizing himself - and leading him into a great delusion about life.
Meaning In The
White has always had the popular association of purity and innocence. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby associates the colour white with Daisy, not only because she is often wearing white dresses but also because she represents the purest form of love for him .
Daisy is often described as the "golden girl" not only because she is seen in the 1920s societies as the embodiment of feminine success but also because as Gatsby describes "Her voice is full of money" (Fitzgerald, 120) which, like the colour yellow, means corruption and wealth.
The name of Gatsby's love interest, given by Fitzgerald, helps give a representation of Daisy's character to the audience which is a pure shell and corrupted yolk.
Myrtle's Death Scene
The Great Gatsby (2013)
In this scene of The Great Gatsby, George Wilson, Myrtle's husband finally finds out that his wife is having an affair, but is ignorant of the identity of the man. When Myrtle escapes from him, she starts running towards Gatsby's yellow car, which Tom ( her lover) was driving earlier. She runs in the middle of the street for him to stop and take her away, but Tom wasn't the driver and the occupants of the car run her over.
A Psychoanalysis of Jay Gatsby
The Great Gatsby (2013)
If you want to learn more about the protagonist watch:
"life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement - regardless of social class or circumstances of birth."
The notion of the American Dream is derived from the United States Declaration of Independence which states:
"all men are created equal"
which give them certain rights like
"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
James Truslow Adams defined the American dream in 1931. He states that:
THE ROARING 20s
VALLEY OF ASHES
THE EYES OF DOCTOR T. J. ECKLEBURG
[aka. Car of Death]
The green light at the end of Daisy's East Egg dock represents Gatsby's hopes & dreams for the future
In the 1920s, the automobile represented money, wealth & a new found sense of freedom.
The Valley of Ashes is situated between West Egg and New York city, it is a stretch of land which was created by the dumping of industrial ashes. This valley represents the moral decay caused by wealth and power.
The bespectacled eyes painted
on the Doctor T. J. Eckleburg advertisement are portrayed as the eyes of God, looking down and judging the American society.
If you want to learn more look at this video:
The Roaring 20's: Crash Course
Ford Model T
Talking Motion Pictures
Soaring Stock Market
Ku Klux Klan
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Modernist novel &
Jazz Age novel
Summer of 1922,
Long Island & New York City
Gatsby and Nick
The Great Gatsby
The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s."
The Great Gatsby
"The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers.
Fitzgerald was a major new literary voice, and his masterpieces include The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender is the Night. He died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of forty-four, while working on The Love of the Last Tycoon. For his sharp social insight and breathtaking lyricism,
"F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1896, attended Princeton University, and published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920. That same year he married Zelda Sayre and the couple divided their time among New York, Paris, and the Riviera, becoming a part of the American expatriate circle
that included Getrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos.
Fitzgerald stands out as one the most important American writers of the twentieth century."
The Great Gatsby
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