Essay about The Great Gatsby as a Criticism of American Society

1522 Words Dec 6th, 2010 7 Pages
The Great Gatsby as a Criticism of American Society In the novel The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes
American society through the eyes of his narrator Nick Caraway, as he watches the downfall and pathetic lives of what most consider achievers of the American Dream.
Fitzgerald’s criticism of American Society is more prominently proven by his
Harsh view of America’s materialistic standard of living, the tragic death of Gatsby, the negligence displayed by Gatsby’s friends, the reveal of Gatsby’s innocent childhood, and Fitzgerald’s personal life experiences. All lead the reader to see Fitzgerald’s unforgiving blow towards American Society. Fitzgerald first introduces the mysterious Gatsby through the thoughts of
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“The night-vignette Nick paints of the East as a drunken woman carried on a stretcher is an image symbolic not only of the East but also of the West, for it signifies the plight of all these Middle Western Easterners (or Eastern Middle Westerners): their isolation, their loneliness, their anonymity.” (Bloom 62-63) In the painting nobody seems to care for the woman in the white dress on the stretcher as her lifeless body is dragged out of the party. Fitzgerald goes out of his way to demonstrate to his audience how the high class life which most Americans strive to achieve is a life simply an pretentious show full of fakes and materialism. In The Great Gatsby characters such as Tom, Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle, and Wilson demonstrate further Fitzgerald’s criticism of American society due to their outlandish personalities and bizarre lives. The character Jordan in the novel describes these kinds of people as bad drivers stating to Nick, “You said a bad driver was only safe until she met

another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver didn’t I?” (Fitzgerald 177). Jordan uses the driver metaphor as a way to describe to Nick how a dishonest and awful person is fine until they meet another person who mirrors them. This connection will cause their abnormal personalities to clash, just as two bad drivers in a car crash unable to swerve out of the way. Tom and Daisy are both great examples of “bad drivers” and are couple caught up in their own materialistic bubble. Gatsby lives

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