a 500 word essay and discuss how the novel examines the link between economy
and society. For example, discuss how the story line reflects the way in which
changes to the economy affect the life, work and destinies of the characters.
Discuss what the novel has taught you about the link between economy and
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby was published in 1925
in the first time. According to the writer, the novel taken place in the early
part of 1920s which was the time later referred to as “the roaming time”. Many
changes taken place in American Society in this period. More than half of the
population lived in the city and that means, the United States became an urban
society. The Urbanization of American Society is reflected in the novel and Joy
Gatsby grown up in the country and moved to the city. This was the typical for
that time. The modernization of society accelerated and life in the city was
more comfortable than ever before.
As houses, land, and machinery considered
for measuring wealth more forces given to those. Jay Gatsby is a very wealthy
man. As he falls short in most of the
aspects, that determines a person’s social status, not an equal to the person in
the old upper class society. Therefore, Gatsby never stands a chance of
succeeding with his attempt to win a person in the upper class society. The
novel includes characters from several different socioeconomic classes and the
relationship between these social classes.
Class has been a more
important part of Fitzgerald’s novels. . In the Great Gatsby the upper class, or the “moneyed class”, is
present as well as the middle class and the working class. Social class is not
only present in the novel, but in many cases similarities can be found between
Fitzgerald’s own experiences of class and how class society is displayed in The Great Gatsby.
As Fitzgerald’s parents came from
different background, he had insight of different social groups. Fitzgerald’s father came
from an old American family. Mother was the daughter of an Irish immigrant. So,
on his father’s side there was a family with a respected heritage and on his
mother’s side there was a family without any aristocratic pretenses, but with a
better financial situation. Similarities can be seen in the novel as character of
Nick Carraway and his background.
The character of Joy Gatsby was
represented the American Dream. Gatsby was successes through some illegal
business and this was showed that the American Dream is achievable but with
some illegal business. Some others views
that this cannot be generalized. As Gatsby turns to an illegal business to
achieve his American Dream, the fact that everyone does not have the same
opportunities to succeed is demonstrated by Fitzgerald.
The relationship of wealth and social
class in American society was always positive. From the novel, only wealth is
not deciding the social class. There is a bond stronger than money between
people like Tom and Daisy Buchanan and even though Gatsby has made a great
fortune it is not enough to belong to the same social class as Tom and Daisy.
Other socioeconomic background like where he
lived and this was the past cannot be changed. This was seen in Gatsby in the novel.
That is also evidence that no matter how hard Gatsby tries, he cannot change
his past and he cannot change other people’s past However, the novel also
stresses the importance of social class and how difficult it is to ignore a
person’s social background. Even though Gatsby can display an enormous wealth
he still does not possess the same status as the Buchanan’s.
The novel explained the changes of
economy through modernization affect the lifestyle, works and characters. In the modernized society accompanied by new
jazz music, this new way of life seemed to some to be a never ending display of
immoral behavior. One of the most drastic counter reactions to the changes in
society and the new way of life was the introduction of Prohibition, a law which
made it illegal to manufacture and sell alcohol. A lot of money could be made
by smuggling and selling alcohol and in some cases fortunes were made by people
who came from lower social classes.
Socio-economic class is a strong factor when
it comes to dividing people in society. It is the control over the natural,
economic and human resources of the world that divides people, the division is
made between those who have and those who do not have. This was explained by the
unequal relationship between Tom and his mistress Myrtle Wilson in the novel.
In portraying Tom and Daisy as careless toward other people, Fitzgerald shows a
mentality amongst the upper class as if the same rules do not apply to everyone.
As a representative of the entire upper class Tom represents all the negative
things about a divided society as he is prepared to sacrifice people around him
for his own selfish purposes. Tom’s arrogance could perhaps be explained by the
fact that he has lived his entire life believing that he belongs to a superior
group of people due to his privileged heritage.
Fitzgerald writes about gender roles
in his novel, men work to earn money for the maintenance of the women. F. Scott Fitzgerald write about the how the society discriminated women. The novel shows that women are insubordinate to men through their
immorality, dependence on men, and choosing of money over love. Daisy, a fickle
woman, women characters, including Daisy’s friend Jordan and Tom’s mistress
Myrtle, display as poor examples of women.
Men are dominant over women,
especially in the case of Tom, who asserts his physical strength to control
them. This novel reveals about gender inequalities. The only hint of a role
reversal is in the pair of Nick and Jordan. In the novel Myrtle or some of the servants
are called women, Upper class women are called girls. Even within the women
lower class people addressed differently according to the status.
Nick Carraway is the only character in the
novel that has a background in the middle class. He belongs to neither the
upper class nor working class. Because of his background he has enough
knowledge about both worlds. Nick’s ability to see through the upper class
logic is displayed during his last meeting with Jordan Baker at the end of the
There were two different American
Dreams and both were presented in The Great Gatsby. There is the Franklinian
Dream, a dream of self-validating materialism, where the sole purpose is to
The other American Dream, the
Emersonian Dream does, also depends on wealth. The difference, however, is that
wealth is not the main purpose of the dream but a means in the struggle of
achieving the true purpose of the dream. Gatsby’s dream can be seen as an
Emersonian Dream, as his wealth produces the opportunity he needs in his
attempts to win back Daisy.
Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s personification
of the American Dream, with his class journey from a farm boy to a very wealthy
man living in luxury. Gatsby’s dream is not; however, complete without Daisy
and his dream of winning her is impossible because of the social class system.
We can conclude that wealth, economic
status of that person could have influenced in changing of live stile. However,
economic status was not the sole factor deciding the social class in the
American society. Several other factors like family background which cannot be
changed, had influenced on it.