Gatsby conducted his circus of a life. The elements of Gatsby’s wealth that seemed to make his life a gorgeous and perfect thing, largely reminiscent of the American Dream, were the exact things that led to its demise. Fitzgerald’s purpose in writing this literary classic was to show the frivolity of life – to give very real examples of the ways in which money did not and could not buy happiness or cement lasting and meaningful personal connections. It is my personal belief that Fitzgerald achieved his purpose and more. It is shown that consumerism and materialism (the cars, the parties, the houses, the prohibition movement) led to class struggles between rich and poor and bred a superficially wealthy class of people and bore an inaccurate perception of the correlation between money and happiness. No matter how wealthy a person is, it does not fix their problems, as is shown in the relationship between Tom and Daisy and even Gatsby and Daisy. This inaccurate perception was what led to such disappointed hopes at the conclusion of the novel. The failure of the American Dream in Gatsby’s life was mainly due to his moral decay throughout the novel. Instead of becoming a more honorable man after earning his fortune, Jay Gatsby morphs into a quasi-member of the socialite crowd as though trying to live up to the materialistic culture that was rampant in that decade.
- Spring '16
- The Great Gatsby, Arnold Rothstein