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Updated September 10, 2022

The Great Gatsby Book Review

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The Great Gatsby Book Review essay
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F. Scott Fitzgerald offers up commentary on a wide array of themes — justice, greed, power, the American dream, and so on. Of all the themes, perhaps one of the most well developed is that of class structure. The Great Gatsby is considered an excellent piece of social commentary, giving an enlightening view of American life in the 1920s. Fitzgerald illustrates the differences between characters from different social backgrounds, but ultimately each group must face problems of their own, thus leaving a reminder of what a threatening place the world really is. By highlighting distinct social groups, Fitzgerald addresses the elitism found in every class in society.

The first group addressed by Fitzgerald is the rich. Associating the rich all in one group together would be a misconception. For many people in the lower class, the rich seem to be unified by their money. However, Fitzgerald indicates that this is not the case. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents two distinctive categories of wealthy people. First, there are people like Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker who inherited their wealth. Money has been passed down in their families for generations. People in this category tend to not have to work, and they instead spend their time enjoying the luxuries they have acquired. Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and the social class they represent are the elitist group in the story, establishing differences between themselves and other people of wealth based not only on how much money they have, but also how and when that money was acquired. For these people, the fact that Gatsby and others like him have only just recently acquired their money is reason enough to dislike him. In their minds, he cannot possibly have the same elegance and refinement they have. Not only does he work for a living, but he comes from a modest background which, to them, means he is not truly one of them.

In many ways, the social elite are right. Those who had recently acquired wealth cannot be like them. Those in the highest position of society are not friendly at all. They are judgmental and superficial, failing to understand the reality of themselves and the people around them. Instead, they live their lives as if they are superior to everyone else. The people with newly acquired wealth, though, aren’t necessarily much better. The guests at Gatsby’s parties, without being invited, attend to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves, but never once take the time to even meet their host. When Gatsby dies, all the people who regularly visited his house suddenly became busy elsewhere, abandoning Gatsby when he was no longer able to entertain them . Some would think the newly wealthy would be more understanding of the world around them, since it was only recently they too were of the lower classes. As Fitzgerald shows, however, their interests are more of living for the moment, immersed in partying and lavishness.

Just as he did with those with wealth, Fitzgerald uses the people without money to convey a compelling message. Nick, although he comes from a family with a bit of wealth, does not have nearly the luxury of Gatsby or Tom. In the end, though, he shows himself to be a man of principle. Myrtle, however, is a different case. She comes from the middle or lower class and is trapped, like so many others, in the valley of ashes. She spends her days trying to make it out, and her desire to move up the social ladder leads to her affair with Tom.

Because of the misery within her life, Myrtle has no qualms with cheating on her husband when it means that she gets to live lavishly. What she does not realize, however, is that Tom and his circle will never accept her as one of them. For Tom, having affairs with lower class women only accentuates his own position, making him feel that much more superior. In a way, being with women who desire to his status makes him feel like he is an important man.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents a bitter view of the world he sees around him. The 1920s was a time of post-war economic growth, and Fitzgerald captures the turmoil of the society well. The world he presents in The Great Gatsby seems to be headed straight towards disaster. They have assumed skewed worldviews, mistakenly believing their survival depends on reinforcing social boundaries. They falsely put their faith in superficial means, such as money and materialism, while neglecting to develop the sensitivity and compassion that separates humans from animals.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925

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FAQ

Is The Great Gatsby a good book for beginners?
The Great Gatsby by F. If you ask any avid reader about some good books to read for beginners, they will definitely mention the Great Gatsby . Among the classic 20th century literature, The Great Gatsby follows the story of wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchannan.
Is The Great Gatsby a good read?
THE GREAT GATSBY is a magnificent novel on every level . Fitzgerald writes about the Jazz Age in language that beautifully evokes music. He writes about a hot day in a way that almost makes you sweat. His characters are well-drawn, and the plot is engaging and fast-paced.
What is The Great Gatsby book all about?
The Great Gatsby, third novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald F. Scott Fitzgerald was a 20th-century American short-story writer and novelist. Although he completed four novels and more than 150 short stories in his lifetime, he is perhaps best remembered for his third novel, The Great Gatsby (1925). The Great Gatsby is today widely considered “the great American novel.” F. Scott Fitzgerald | Biography, Education, Books, & Facts | Britannica , published in 1925 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Set in Jazz Age New York, the novel tells the tragic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman whom he loved in his youth .
Why is The Great Gatsby book so good?
Despite being a commentary on a different age and people, Gatsby's story is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Because it explores universal themes — human follies, the hopelessness of societal constructs and man's struggle with time and fate.
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