American Culture In The Novel The Great Gatsby

American Culture in the Novel “The Great Gatsby” Term Paper

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Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and first published in 1925, the setting of The Great Gatsby is an island, which is dominated by affluent, wealthy, and poor communities of East Egg and West Egg. Nick Caraway, a native of Minnesota and an advocate of Midwestern values, narrates it within the first individual. In the novel, he later relocates to New York the place he will get concerned in bond business. In the era of writing The Great Gatsby, cultural conventions, which were perceived as old-fashioned died to usher new ones from1920 to 1930s. Women had been granted the best to participate in voting. This provision made them understand themselves as equal to males.

They even went to the extent of assimilating masculine ways and fashions into their existence. In The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald paperwork these adjustments by way of an in-depth exploration of cultural modifications such because the rise in consumerism, materialism, greed for wealth, and the culture of loosening morals within the Twenties American society. This paper discusses these features as essential constituents of 1920s American tradition as revealed in The Great Gatsby.

The Materialist Culture

Scott Fitzgerald uses symbols sufficiently to give the novel a extra vivid description of the American culture. Such symbols mirror social challenges similar to corruption that arose from the emergence of materialist and capitalist cultures. For instance, East Egg depicts locations where Buchanans live. In real life, this represents aristocracy, which took a long time to determine. Symbolically, the author denotes aristocrats as “old cash” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 54). They are conventionally characterized by corruption. They are extremely materialistic in nature. West Egg residents or “new cash” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli fifty four) are perceived by East Egg counterparts as upstart outsiders. Nick and Gatsby stay on this community. A shut look at these two distinct societies provides an image of a future fictional American society culture, which is free from corruption and largely not pushed by individualism.

Scott Fitzgerald criticizes the culture of materialism and greed amongst people within the higher social classes. Samkanashvili reckons that Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has the lesson of the necessity to subscribe to a firm belief that people should work exhausting to realize their goals of turning into rich and affluent, somewhat than following short-reduce routes that often immediate corruption to happen (73). Materialistic nature of the characters within the novel validates this declare. Many of them can’t proactively grasp the idea of working onerous to construct their materials wealth base. No folks in The Great Gatsby get rich by working onerous. Jordan doesn’t perceive the concerns of the need to work exhausting and genuinely. Although she is a well-known participant of golf, she will be able to do something on the unfastened to have her right at all times. In reality, Nick says,

Jordan is “incurably dishonest. She was not capable of endure “being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness, supposedly she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was unusually young in order to keep that contemporary insolent smile turned to the world, and but fulfill the calls for of her exhausting jaunty physique” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 63).

Being dishonest makes her (Jordan) incredibly uncomfortable with life. She has it exceptionally clear in her mind that her success isn’t honestly acquired, and that it could depart from her any time. Unlike Jordan, Mytle possesses little materials objects. Although her husband is immensely loyal to her, she possesses a robust need to have every thing else. She certainly admires East Egg’s folks with mega envy along with intense animosity. She fails to comprehend why East Egg’s people live materially well whereas she, collectively together with her husband, nonetheless stay engulfed in “the valley of ashes” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli seventy six).

She thinks that she deserves to be with Tom whose cash, affect, and power present answers to her (Mytle) issues of poverty. Indeed, Tom Buchanan believes that he needs further power and influence despite being already highly effective and blessed with a wonderful daughter and spouse. Fitzgerald and Bruccoli reckon, “Tom would drift on forever in search of somewhat wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable soccer sport” (10). He is guided by a culture of gathering more wealth for individualistic positive aspects than he already has (Zeitz thirteen). One girl is not only adequate. His need entails acquiring all that’s available at disposal.

Daisy is coercive and manipulative. She is conversant along with her possession of the charm that she makes use of maximally to keep up safety for her existence. Similar to other characters in The Great Gatsby, she has an intense greed for money (Leader thirteen). Gatsby admits this truth (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 127). Daisy and Tom have related traits, which support materialist culture that was prevalent within the 1920s American society as portrayed in The Great Gatsby. They have an immense belief within the capacity of money to make them look superior to different people who are in need of it. Fitzgerald and Bruccoli write, they “smashed up issues and creatures and then retreated back into their cash or their vast carelessness or no matter it was that saved them together” (187-188). This declare implies that they thought that cash may make them more authoritative than different people. Thus, possession of material wealth was important for the position of individuals in a given social class and standing.

The Consumerism Culture

The Great Gatsby displays the emergence of a tradition of elevated consumerism that is pushed by elevated financial prosperity. According to Zeitz, Twenties marked an era by which Americans started to reap from the advantages of elevated consumerism (21). Unfortunately, the depression of 1929 led to a loss of such gains (Romer 598). The novel’s narrator illustrates well the increased consumerist culture. Gatsby’s home that was positioned within the seashore was characterised by immense lavishness and luxury. He also threw parties now and then, which have been equally characterised by excessive consumptions.

When describing Gatsby’s events, Caraways says that there was frequent musical noise emanating for his neighbor’s home all through all nights in summer time (Zeitz 22). He further states that people who came to the get together in Gatsby’s house arrived and left within the trend of months. The sheer number of the celebration individuals implies that the 1920s American culture was characterised by indiscriminate spending in an growing variety of products that were availed for sale by the rising manufacturing capability of the nation. This scenario is properly supported by the truth that after the party and with extra of extra staff, Gatsby’s gardeners “toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden shears, repairing the ravages of the night time before” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 121). These gardeners cleaned the leftovers of the products that had been consumed throughout Gatsby’s events that have been dominated by haphazard expenses.

In the era of writing The Great Gatsby (Twenties), America had skilled an immense financial development. Therefore, it’s not shocking that the consumerist tradition, which Scott Fitzgerald criticizes, had emerged. In 1921 to 1924, the American GDP grew from $ 69bilion to about ninety three billion (Woods 213). The combination wages had also risen from $36.4 billion to the tunes of fifty one.5 billion (Woods 213). The public benefited from this increased success. Hence, consumer spending increased tremendously since extra folks gained entry to the nicely-paying job opportunities. Tracing historical growth in the US, Scherer and Ross inform that only 16 percent of homes in America had electrical energy by 1912 (eighty two).

In Twenties, this determine rose to greater than 75 p.c. This implied that people had substituted obligations that have been carried out by hand corresponding to upkeep with know-how such as vacuum cleaners and washing gadgets. Before the top of 1930, 12 million homes in the US had already purchased radio cassettes whereas the numbers of those that have been linked with telephones elevated by 50 percent (10.5 million in 1915 to greater than 20 million by the end of 1930) (Scherer and Ross 93). All these developments illustrated elevated consumer spending as famous by Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.

Increased availability of merchandise for purchasing within the free market led to the widening of the gaps between individuals of different social financial lessons. Scherer and Ross remark that Americans bought durable items in the Twenties, thus rising their spending on garments and various mass-produced objects (a hundred and five). The availability of mass-produced objects among majority Americans led to the erosion of the existing mechanisms of differentiating people based mostly on their social economic courses. In this sense, higher financial fortunes in America, together with the rising mass production within the Nineteen Twenties normalized the culture of consumption so that merchandise that were consumed by the wealthy members of the society grew to become now reasonably priced to persons in the lower social financial classes.

The Culture of Loosening Social Morals

The jazz age was born through the Nineteen Twenties era in the American historical past. As Caraway describes the nature of Gatsby’s parties, it is clear that even though Americans loved prosperity that was related to the jazz age, they also feared its social implications. Zeitz remarks, taking advantage of prosperity that was experienced in a decade, youths threw profitable events, obtained excessively drunk in illegal liquor, and used sexually arousing dancing styles in the huge variety of established jazz golf equipment (23). Scott Fitzgerald mentions in her novel an incident of prohibition of sale and the manufacturing of liquor to tame youths who had turn out to be overindulged in alcoholism. However, drawing from her work, these prohibitions seemed to have little implications (Zeitz 23). The overindulgence is probably nicely reflected in The Great Gatsby in Gatsby’s events which might be analogous to people who had been thrown by the American youths within the Nineteen Twenties.

Flappers emerged in 1920s. Women who had been never contented with pleasure wore knee-size skirts, overly long draping necklaces, and rolled stockings (Leader 14). Despite the fact that solely few ladies exactly fitted this description of Twenties flapper, such a description was common in the media. The aim was to provide a vivid description of the rebelliousness that’s associated with the youths of the time. Characters similar to George and Tom’s wives exemplify the revolt that’s characterised by dwindling ethical standards. Nick laments, “I stared at (Wilson) and then at Tom, who had made a parallel discovery lower than an hour before-and it occurred to me that there was no difference between men” (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli 158).

In this phrase, Nick talks about Tom and George upon realizing that their wives are cheating on them and that they’d a kind of terminal sickness. In this context, The Great Gatsby, which is a novel concerning the Twenties lifestyles, portrays the American tradition as one that eroded the traditional morals and social norms corresponding to denouncing the ethical responsibility to remain trustworthy in marriage. Upon noting the degradation of morality among youths within the 1920s, Samkanashvil claims that the American youths were extremely concerned with the Aristocracy (seventy five). This claim suggests that Twenties had been marked by the coming out of an impatient society that was led by the adolescents who opposed honorable margins that were fixed in the previous age group.

The rising immorality also explains the cultures of loosening morals in The Great Gatsby. Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted havening sired a toddler with a house help, even though he was still married. Gatsby and his associates similar to Wolfsheim have interaction in unlawful dealings (Silver Para. 2). For occasion, rumors exist that Gatsby is concerned within the importation and ferrying of unlawful liquor amid the present ban. This revelation marks a society that embraces and protects a tradition of impunity that is driven by both greed and erosion of social morals in the 1920 American society. Economic and social immoralities in The Great Gatsby reveal the lost American dream.

The idea of the American dream as developed in chapter nine of The Great Gatsby revolves across the concepts of ethical values that have been used to pursue happiness. However, the quest for contentment modified with time to become the seek for wealth via extreme insatiability. This state of affairs resulted in corruption of the best American dream. Upon renouncing his mother and father, Gatsby is taken into account a child of a supernatural being (Fitzgerald and Bruccoli ninety eight), with the only factor that he believes in being money. In this context, Gatsby is a illustration of a fallen American dream as a result of rising immorality that characterizes the tradition of the 1920s America.


Colonizers arrived within the US with similar dreams of a healthier life for all individuals. The aftermath of this desire was the American dream that entailed the seek for riches, equal opportunity, independence, and devotion. Unfortunately, with regard to The Great Gatsby, this dream dwindled, as materialism, consumerism, and the tradition of loosening social morals became the order of the day in the Nineteen Twenties America. The consequence of these cultures was the decaying American dream. A new model of the dream emerged. Materialism led to the elevated corruption and breakage of the law at will among the many wealthy in pursuit of money.

This state of affairs created opportunities to fulfill the undying appetite for consumption, opulence, and immorality. Youths challenged the prevailing social norms since they got jazzed (drunk) with illegal liquor whereas on the same time participating in sexual immorality. These practices gave rise to a culture of immorality, which opposed the traditional ethical and social norms of the previous generations.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott, and Matthew Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000. Print.

Leader, Zachary. “Daisy Packs Her Bag.” London Review of Books 22.18(2000): 13-15. Print.

Romer, Christina. “The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 10.5 (1990): 597-625. Print.

Samkanashvili, Maya. “What Makes the good Gatsby by F.S Fitzgerald Great?” Journal of Education 1.2(2012): 73-78. Print.

Scherer, Frederick, and David Ross. Industrial Market Structure and Economic Performance. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Print.

Silver, Steph. Immorality, 2011. Web.

Woods, Clyde. Development Arrested. New York, NY, and London: Verso, 1998. Print.

Zeitz, Joshua. F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Age of Excess. New York, NY: Institute of American History, 2005. Print.





Type Term Paper Pages eight Words 2215 Subjects

American Literature
Language 🇬🇧 English

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