The Great Gatsby is a modern classic of the early twentieth century, a novel which truly captured the luxurious atmosphere of the “Jazz Age. ” It is a moniker given to the 1920’s which is suitable, as the spread of wealth led to a decade of glamor and decadence. Among the variations of the novel’s themes, the one moral that is evident and shadows over the rest of the “American Dream,” is the ideal that a person of any racial or financial background could start a new life in America and live in riches and wealth.
The implementation of the “American Dream” in the novel seems to encircle the character of Jay Gatsby, as his background reveals him having grown up into a poor family of farmers who inhabited North Dakota. The novel portrays how Gatsby made his way to the top and displayed his new-found wealth through extravagant parties and marvelous wonders to the eye. The novel’s perception of the “American Dream,” however, is highly inaccurate and biased towards the information that the reader initially encounters, rather than the information buried within the context of each page.
The ideal that anyone can come to America and face their everyday lives with no struggle whatsoever is absent from the novel, for factors such as gender, race, and social status affected every “American Dreamer” and ironically brought down those whose hopes were to go up. Throughout the novel, characters such as Tom Buchanan and the divide of social status between the extravagantly wealthy and common men and women proves that there is a sheer inaccuracy when the novel regards to the concept of the “American Dream.
While, the novel does contain a slew of accuracies and powerful morals such as the tragic demise of Jay Gatsby and the “green light,” the inaccuracies are the more realistic perspective of the reality of the 1920’s, due to the fact that racial-terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and significant protests such as the women’s march for suffrage prove the theme that higher hierarchies prove the “American Dream” to be an inaccuracy. The novel’s inaccuracies and shortcomings can be observed throughout the span of the novel.
There is a defined pattern of inequality and the opposite of the “American Dream,” which spans through the beginning, middle, and conclusion of the book. “It’s up to us (white people), who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things. ” (Fitzgerald 10). This quote given by Tom Buchanan, is perhaps the most infamous example and the epitome. When the book refers to inequality and inaccuracies, the character of Tom embodies the spirit of racial tensions and unequal opportunities of the 1920’s, his persona of a football star and college graduate easily refines his inflated ego.
This quote relates directly to the theme of the novel’s inaccuracy of the “American Dream” because surely not every group or sect of society can attain to greatness if there are discriminating and egotistical white men such as Tom Buchanan living in society, Tom is the exact opposite of the “dream” itself. Nick criticizes Jordan Baker by stating, “At any rate, Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almost imperceptibly, and a sort of apology arose to my lip. Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me,” (45).
This quote relates to the theme because even the innocent and caring character of Nick Caraway, who the audience believes to be a sweet and humble man who dreams of profitable adventures, is capable of discriminating, against a group hoping to achieve the “American Dream. ” Nick is saying he can’t stand a woman who is independent and who doesn’t require a male counterpart to live another day, so even though Jordan Baker is a pro-golf elite, she will never achieve the “American Dream” because she is not treated equally to any white male such as Jay Gatsby or Nick Caraway.
Nick learns the reality of the careless nature of the Buchanans when he says, “I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her instinctively and with hesitation but she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon and taken baggage with them. ” (96). This quote relates to the novel’s theme of social status inequality, because although Daisy is a victim herself Tom and her alike are both flagrantly wealthy people, and therefore are a careless kind of people who ignore their problems and travel to a faraway paradise to avoid the inevitable possibility that they may face an issue.
The pattern which shows through these excerpts of the novel all relate to the book’s inaccuracy of the “American Dream,” and how the unfortunate reality is that not everyone will complete their ideal vision of their “American Dream,” because social shortcomings such as racism and other inequalities can affect a person directly if they are African-American, or even an independent woman seeking success. After an expansive amount of research, the novel’s blatant inaccuracy of the “American Dream” was found to be fairly similar to the logistics of the realistic age of the 1920’s.
The ignorance and sheer racial hostilities are clearly present in both the novel and the actual events that unfolded during the early twentieth century. For example, the behavior of Tom Buchanan is on a similar scale to that of the racist group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in both their shared ideals of white dominance and their prevention of other nationalities from gaining notoriety or control. “The Ku Klux Klan was the first terrorist organization to have grown in the United States, and four million people joined its numbers during the early twentieth century, their goal to exterminate the “inferior” races and ethnicities. (classroom. synonym. com).
This piece, collected from an informational website on the KKK, relates to the theme by displaying the novel’s inaccuracies, although the characters in the book such as Tom or Nick never took place in any radical hate crimes, they shared similar ideals in which they treated other ethnicities and genders with a lesser respect, somewhat of a discriminatory act. Nick’s disrespect to Jordan Baker because of her independence can be seen when he speaks of her carelessness, “Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself,” (38).
Nick’s surprising prejudice towards Jordan Baker can be compared to the real-life discrimination against women during the 1920’s, for example women only gaining the right to vote during the 1920’s and being harassed and looked down on by their opposing gender and significant others. “Women never had as much freedom, and there was additionally an unequal distribution of household labor, the man of the house never performed any sanitation duties. ” (striking-women. org).
A claim that The Great Gatsby held several inaccuracies regarding equality and the “American Dream” would be justified behind the real-life similarities or inequalities, and the research behind it shows the same evidence, the novel simply held an unrealistic view of the “dream. ” On the contrary, the theme has a few limitations or shortcomings, as any theme, such as the fact that the novel also focuses on the brutal reality that the “American Dream” doesn’t always come true in a person’s life.
For example, Jay Gatsby dying a young man and never finding his true passion in life, which is an accuracy rather than an inaccuracy, which counteracts against the initial theme. The novel’s most significant strength is mostly centered around the conclusion of the book, after Gatsby soon realized that Daisy was incapable of admitting that she never loved Tom, when Daisy hysterically cries, “I did love him once, but I love you too,” (132).
The conclusion also unravels proceeding when Daisy hit Myrtle, which would eventually spark numerous terrible events which would lead to Jay Gatsby’s demise. Specific analysis of this strength can be found by the basic summary that although Gatsby had enough riches to buy an entire island, his only muse or direct source of happiness derived from Daisy, and in the end his “American Dream” was crushed and faded away into obscurity, proving the accuracy of the book which shows a limitation of the theme at hand.
An additional possible strength could be in Fitzgerald’s comical and parody-life depiction of Gatsby’s partygoers, senseless and wealthy people who didn’t even receive a formal invitation and who were never greeted by their own host. Needless to state, the theme has few limitations, but those limitations are indeed significant, to say the theme is flawless and incapable of failure would be a ridiculous comment, however the limitations do not disqualify the argument.
Despite this limitation of the book emphasizing how Jay Gatsby failed and never lived up to his “American Dream,” rather than Gatsby using his newfound wealth to acquire even his wildest dreams, the book’s main morals and those morals which are most popularly discussed are those revolving the hope and positive aspects of the discussions of the “American Dream,” or in other words those which are of an inaccuracy.
A theme of The Great Gatsby which consistently makes an appearance throughout the entire novel is the idea of the “green light,” which can be seen discussed numerous times throughout the novel, such as when Nick states about Gatsby, “Distinguished nothing except a single green light,” (21). That “green light” was at the end of Daisy’s dock, which represented a small and green glimpse of hope which Jay Gatsby held on to despite the fact that all the odds were stacked against him, the glimmer of hope which compels a normal man to become an extraordinary man.
Even the last sentence of the novel which describes a boat beating against the current, is a clear reference to the inaccuracy of the “American Dream” and the “green light,” and when the final impression of the novel revolves around a certain theme, then that theme is undoubtedly dominant and no other theme can surpass it in any measure.
The themes and moralities that emphasize and legitimately represent The Great Gatsby are those morals which elaborate on the inaccuracies regarding the “American Dream” which Fitzgerald wrote of, the dark secrets of inequality and racial tensions of the 1920’s masked behind lovable characters and confrontations that regarded no inequality whatsoever.
The Great Gatsby is a novel which is embedded with inaccuracies and misconceptions regarding the “American Dream,” the high-held ideal that any person of any racial or financial background can go to American and start a new life full of profitable adventures and countless opportunities for fortunate wealth. Higher hierarchies create an evident inequality between the flagrantly wealthy and common average-like citizens, and this shows through the patterns of the characters of the novel such as Tom Buchanan and other inequalities frequently appearing through the beginning, middle, and end of the novel.
These patterns are strongly similar to the realistic events that took place during the 1920’s, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the discrimination against women. Shown by the patterns of inequality in the novel and in the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby is a book whose misconceptions and inaccuracies overpower the other morals.