The novel uncovers the theme of desire and the way it corrupted the American dream. It was originally related to the fact that anyone could rise from being poor and earn wealth by working hard enough. However, on the contrary, during the time when the concept gained popularity, most people made fortune by engaging in illegal activities. For instance, Gatsby, a boy of poor origin, rose to the top by selling liquor, prohibited during that time (Fitzgerald, 167). The theme showcases that Americans wished for everyone to be successful and praised anyone, who had money, but only those, who worked hard. The aim of the novel is to inspire people to earn the money and rise to the top by honest means.
The American Dream
The writer of the novel portrays the American Dream and how it is being killed by some Americans. The characters in the novel symbolize the present people and their behavior in society: how people have become immoral, similar to the episode, where Tom punches his mistress in the nose for mentioning his wife. The waste from factories is also a symbol of how the rich Americans do not care about the poor as long as they are making money (Fitzgerald, 64). What the writer tried to express is that the Americans are the people responsible for killing the American Dream. Their greed and desire to be wealthy have led them to lose their humanity.
The novel showcases the change in the initial meaning of the American Dream. The Americans, who possess industries, dump their industrial waste on their land without caring about the ecosystem and the future generations. Dumping industrial waste on people’s land is inhumane and at the same time unlawful. Some people still try to uphold their identity, but to some humanity does not exist. In addition, Jay Gatsby made wealth by selling illegal liquor and was never arrested. Only very few individuals knew how he attained his wealth. There were stories that he was the only surviving member of his family who was extremely rich (Fitzgerald, 20) However, in reality, he was from a poor background and made money illegally.
The novel is mostly engaged with killing the American Dream but still pays attention to those who are honorable. Characters like Gatsby, who made fortune through illegal means, are used as examples to the audience. The author still pays attention to people who earn their living by working hard enough. He speaks of the residents of the valley of ash, regardless of the ash cloud in the air.
A Segmented Society
The novel creates a society that is segmented by social classes. In the East Egg residence where Tom and Daisy live, reside only those who were born rich. As termed in the novel, the newly wealthy lived in the West Egg estates. Someone like Gatsby, who was from a peasant family but made money through illegal means, lived in the West Egg estate. Daisy’s parents could not allow their daughter to get married to Gatsby even if he was wealthy. The reason is, that Daisy was born rich, and Gatsby is newly wealthy, and his wealth was earned illegally, so her family did not want to get associated with him.
Killing the American Dream
When Nick moved to the west, he thought it was the best place to live and was very excited to get there. His father advised him not to be judgmental before Nick had to settle in New York. The main character of the story felt happy since he could have started a new life after the war. He was soon disappointed with society because he had learned that people had no desire in being accountable for their actions. For example, when Myrtle was hit by Gatsby’s car, Daisy did not come out to confess that she was the one driving, and Gatsby paid for her action. Moreover, after the accident, they left town and never attended Gatsby’s funeral after he was killed by Wilson (Fitzgerald, 200). Nick thought it would have been fair if Tom had told Wilson about the accident. Nick’s change is traced to the theme that The American Dream of honesty has been killed.
The valley of ash symbolizes the gap and segregation between the rich and the poor. This valley is located between East Egg and West Egg, which showcases how Americans have come to lose their morality in pursuit of wealth. Similarly, different mansions in West and East Egg symbolize other classes that wealth has created. Gatsby and Nick live in the same neighborhood, but their apartments are not the same. Here the newly rich and the born rich do not mix or associate.
This is killing the American dream of an equal and just society. The usage of color is essential in the novel since it showcases the transaction between the rich and poor, wrong and right. The green color is usually associated with hope and a new start. However, in the book, it represents Gatsby, who had worked so hard to gain wealth to make Daisy his wife. He hoped that he could marry her after getting rich, but his hopes were shattered due to his illegal activities. Moreover, his death occurs symbolically at the hands of Daisy’s husband, which was the desired position for Gatsby.
America after War
The novel uncovers the dream that America had after the war. Additionally, during that time people were greedy and their main desire was in gaining more wealth, even if they had to sacrifice their morals and humanity. People like Gatsby engaged in illegal activities to acquire more money, which was a major contributor to the killing of the American dream. Rich despised the poor, people who were born in wealth were considered ‘newly affluent’ unworthy as well. Moreover, upscale people tried to cover their sins with money or escape from an issue by creating a wall of lies similar to the case of Daisy, who caused two deaths: Myrtle and Gatsby. Similar happenings occur nowadays when rich people tend to escape the responsibility or present it to someone else.
Fitzgerald, F. S. The Great Gatsby. Diamond Pocket Books 2020, Google Books. Web.