Gatsby final writing task

Fitzgerald critiques society through his use of language or literary devices in the great Gatsby.- I’m really sorry about my essay :/


What if you were told that you could live in a world where discrimination, status and social classes didn’t exist, and everything and everyone was equal ? Some might say that such an ideal world like this is unobtainable and merely just a dream, but for American historian James Truslow Adams he truely believed that something like this could be achievable. In one of James Truslow Adam’s books he stated that “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” Throughout the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (the author) illustrates to us the American Dream through his use of iconic settings. These iconic settings include East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes where these locations portray a reality and truth about the American Dream.

An important setting in the Great Gatsby that portrays an aspect of the American Dream is East egg. Those who live in East Egg are born into wealth, where money and the rich lifestyle is all they know. Money and status has been passed through generations for as long as these families can remember and this has caused them to be snobby, greedy and too caught up in whirlwind of their money. East egg represents the idea of the false reality of the American Dream, and this idea is illustrated to us through the roles of Daisy and Tom Buchanan, and their lives. “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water…” From the way that Nick describes East Egg on his way over to the Buchanans house, it is clear to see that the houses in East Egg are grand and represent the lives of those who live there. The houses are all white and stand in unity overlooking the bay where everyone can see the prosperity and wealth they live in. “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red−and−white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay”. Again this is Nick describing Daisy and Toms house upon his first visit there. He states that it is more detailed and intricate than he expected and that it is in fact a mansion with a pristine view overlooking the bay. Their house and property holds all their money and status and the fact that they live in East Egg gives them a sense of superiority and order. Residents of East Egg had their money handed to them on a silver platter, where most of them have never needed to work a day in their lives and they revolve solely around their status and money, trapped inside of a bubble where nothing and noone else matters. They are seen as highest class as if they are looking down upon everyone else which shows that the idea of the American Dream is not a realistic concept and that It is unachievable.

On just the other side of the bay is West Egg, where those new to money live, and this key setting in the novel represents a feature of the American Dream. Nick Carraway and Gatsby are both residents of West Egg where they have made their money recently, and those who live there generally have morals and ethics as they have not been consumed by money and greed their whole lives. Nick is a middle class man who is not self absorbed and does not base his life around how much money he has or makes, whereas Gatsby has obtained  a large quantity of money in a shockingly quick amount of time. “I lived at West Egg, the well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them”. Nick states about the on the surface qualities and traits about the two eggs and that they are defined by these qualities. he identifies that by living in a certain egg it dictates your status and level of authority. “my house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season”. Nick our narrator describes where he lives in relation to everyone else. The houses around him are worth big money but they are all owned by those who have “new money” so do not have the credentials to live in East Egg. The people who live in West Egg who have worked hard to deserve the money they have, still do not get seen as being at the same status level and ranking as those at East Egg. They are seen as being lower and inferior and not having the credentials to be accepted into East Egg. Even though they have worked  hard to get where they are, the American dream doesn’t seem to come true for them and the truth behind the unrealistic reality of the American Dream comes out.

The Valley of Ashes is a key setting in the Great Gatsby that illustrates the failure of the American Dream. It is the poor industrial area that lies between the two eggs and is where all of the poor, lower class people live and work. Those who live there work hard every day with minimal results where they are subjected to being victims of the rich as the upper class feed and thrive off the work they do. George and Myrtle Wilson are a classic example of lower class people who are in search of their own success and accomplishment of the American Dream, where they have hope that if they work hard they can move out of the valley of ashes. The realistic side of this is that they can hope and dream of success but that success never really comes true. As Nick, our narrator, travels through the Valley of Ashes he states it is a “fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens…” Farm, wheat and gardens all suggest growth and development but by using the word grotesque in front of gardens, it gives the sentence a whole different meaning. Grotesque means ugly or distorted, which gives us the impression that the valley is fantasy and unbelievable. In reality, the Valley of Ashes has nothing going for it and the people who live there are stuck in a constant poverty cycle their whole lives. “Where ashes take the forms of  houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air”. The ashes are defined as making up everything including the houses and chimneys. The place and vibe of the Valley of Ashes rubs off on the residents who live there and this is reflected by describing them as ‘men who move dimly and already crumbling’, where they move tiredly and limp. The American Dream suggests that if they work hard enough, everyone can obtain their own level of success and achievement. This ‘idea’ is just in fact just a dream as those who live in the valley of ashes work endlessly everyday in hope of reward where in fact they receive minimal and the rich benefit. The idea of the American Dream is portrayed to us through the Valley of Ashes as being a failure.

The American Dream was a concept that everyone in America strived to and hoped to acheive as everyone is always reaching out to something that is greater than themselves, that is just out of reach. F. Scott Fitzgerald critiques the American Dream throughout the novel through his use of settings. East Egg, West Egg, and the Valley of Ashes all portray an aspect of truth about the idea of the American Dream. The novel demonstrates the illusion of the dream, however the dream never does come true for anyone, even though it may seem as though they have achieved fragments of it. Everyone is striving for their own success, to achieve the lifestyle they desire where it seems as though it is arms length away but in reality it is just out of reach and will always be unobtainable, just as the great light was for Gatsby.



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