The Great Gatsby Research Paper
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby develops a theme of greed and constant discontent within the main characters through literary elements such as tone, symbolism, imagery, and dialogue. In the Great Gatsby the contemporary society of a prosperous America during the time after the war is portrayed by optimist values using money and greed. Money weakens the values of even the most humble upperclassman making him vulnerable to the greed and lust. Fitzgerald does an incredible job representing the characters in Great Gatsby to convey the theme of moral disregard throughout the tone of the story. Through his ever present symbolism, Fitzgerald foreshadows inevitable danger is to follow.
In Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, his colorful use of imagery creates a mood of richness, infatuation and desire. His excessive use of blues, whites, greens and yellows help develop characters using a dual role of literary meaning to understand Fitzgerald’s novel. In consideration of the social status of the characters, dialogue as written by Fitzgerald is used to show the class or educational status of the characters. Helping to more develop each literary element in his novel. The cynical tone set by Fitzgerald is obvious in the story teller, Nick Carraway and the harsh judgement he places on all the characters as he tells the story.
In chapter 1, as Daisy compares Nick to a rose he states he is nothing like a rose. He states, she was only exaggerating adding to the ridiculousness of the situation. As the banter continues, they tend to mock each other as they go back and forth in the playful dialogue. When Nick first introduces the reader to Gatsby, he seems in awe of his wealth, “imposing, delightful parties filled the mansion” Nick’s descriptive embellishment of Gatsby’s extravagant parties add to Nick’s bewildered intrigue of Gatsby. However, later in the novel once Nick becomes more drawn to Gatsby, the tone changes to disgust after hearing Gatsby’s full story, “Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.
” Nick constantly battles the emotion that he was invited to Gatsby’ party while it seemed like no one else was. Once George Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, kills Gatsby Nick’s tone changes once again to one of admiration and sadness. The cynical irony portrayed in Nick’s story telling continues as the story evolves and as each character is introduced to the reader. Symbolism plays a huge part throughout F.Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby in the introduction of Doctor T.
J. Eckleberg’s glasses painted on an old billboard sign. In my interpretation the “eyes” represent God starring down on the people and placing judgement on the society as a despicable wasteland filled with unbearable greed and lust. Although Fitzgerald does not come out directly and say the “eyes” represent God, George Wilson compares them to this likeness. The valley between the west and east ends of town represent the moral decay of the poor versus the rich.
This adds to the relevant symbolism of a desire to be wealthy in Fitzgerald’s description of the east as lavish and exciting. One of the best examples of symbolism in with Gatsby’s inflation with the “green light” at the end of the dock. He states the green light is Daisy, his American Dream, like the settlers finding new land. The color green also represents the longing desire Gatsby has for Daisy to be his forever. “Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.
” The literary use of imagery is brilliantly portrayed in F. Scott Fitzgerald usage of color throughout the novel. The abundance use of the color blue represents sadness and depression that will inevitably lead to the characters ultimate demise. In contrast the usage of the color green has many uses and represents greed, lust, and is often symbolic with money. Green also represents change and a new beginning of life.
The color white, mostly found within Daisy and Tom’s home being overused, represents Daisy’s innocence regarding everything that is going on in her life such as Tom’s affair with Myrtle and Daisy’s own affair with Gatsby. The final color is golden yellow which is prevalent in The Great Gatsby and represents falseness or a facade of sorts in the way Gatsby achieve his wealth as well as the color of Gatsby’s car. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing to indicate what is to come in The Great Gatsby. In the novel Fitzgerald uses the green light to foreshadow Gatsby’s longing and hope that one day Gatsby and his true love, Daisy, will reunite once more.
Even when Gatsby and Daisy finally reunite we see the usage of light and dark themes when facing the inevitable doom to come. Another way Fitzgerald uses foreshadowing is in Tom and Daisy’s relationship where it appears that Tom is a good husband until the night Nick visits them for dinner and the phone continues to ring and ring. We, the reader, don’t know who is on the other line until later on when we learn about the affair between Tom and Myrtle. Foreshadowing is a useful way that Fitzgerald uses to allow the reader to make connections to upcoming events in the novel. Green is envy a desire for something more and to covet other people’s belongings and status. The opposite of envy is described as love.
In Greek medicine, a condition which is now called jealously was believed to be the result of an excessive amount of bile that had accumulated in the body. This excess of bile caused the person to have a pale green, sickly color or complexion. This condition came to be referred to as a condition of being “green with envy”. Purple is pride when a person feels more special or important than others. At its worst, pride is narcissism. The opposite pride is humility.
Wealth, royalty, spirituality, and bravery are just a few symbolic meanings of the color purple. In addition to the well-known meanings, in some cultures purple symbolizes mourning, decadence, conceited, and the supernatural. Yellow/gold is considered greed or the desire for wealth and status. The infamous legend of alchemists turning common metals into gold is actually parable for the human quest to change base vulgarities like greed, hate, and selfishness into qualities such as love, virtue, and compassion through the process of self-purification. Social status is the basis for the novel The Great Gatsby, by F.
Scott Fitzgerald this helps us classify the characters by the usage of dialogue. Status refers to the relative mark that an individual holds; this includes attendant rights/duties and lifestyle, in a social hierarchy based upon honor or prestige. Status has two different types that come along with it: achieved and ascribed. The word status refers to social stratification on a vertical scale. Even though Gatsby has excessive wealth you can tell by his “affected speech” showing that he has gained new wealth and wasn’t born into it like Daisy.
This reflects that due to this difference in social status he will never actually have Daisy. In society, the system of social stratification is much more fluid. We experiences a good deal of social mobility while people, through generations or perhaps even a lifetime, continue to move up and down on the social scale. Tom on the other hand’s dialogue is obviously well educated, upper class showing that he is from a higher social class than Gatsby even though Gatsby has more money. Daisy was born with a silver spoon directly into wealth, “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.
That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…l […]. (7.99)” The quote above gives us, the reader, a sense of dialogue between Daisy’s wealth and Gatsby along with Fitzgerald’s word choices. During the 1920’s greed and materialism reached an all time high in the United States.
F Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates this idealized perspective of the eastern and western culture in The Great Gatsby. Nicks idealized perspective of eastern and western culture in the United States is a theme that underscores the vagueness of materialistic culture. The new world is constantly glorified with new hopes and dreams from the heart of journey men who looked into finding a way to establish and maintain an environment in which people can thrive in hope to fulfill their own dreams and success. As time went on this constant hope disintegrated into heaps of ash as the characters greed and own respect for materials grew. Fitzgerald began to take notice and began writing these ideas in his own novel, The Great Gatsby. F.
Scott Fitzgerald attempts to paint an idea of Nick Carraway’s perception, perspective and experience on his feelings and lasting impact the East has upon the un-corrupted Westerner. Within The Great Gatsby there are many underlining themes and elements regarding the Roaring twenties and greed. F. Scott Fitzgerald was an active participant throughout the stereotypical roaring twenties such as partying and bootleg liquor, however he was also a critic of his time period. The Great Gatsby serves more to detail societies failure rather than to fulfill its potential in the glamorized “Jazz Age”.
Fitzgerald provides a “…vision of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves.”(157). Throughout The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway finds himself constantly surrounded by mansions, fancy cars, and many materialistic type people. Nick goes onto to describe peoples as “They were careless people…” (188). The idealism evident in Gatsby’s constant aspirations helps define what F. Scott Fitzgerald was seeing as the basis for the American Culture.
He then took this and began throwing it into a character, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a believer in the American Dream. That of self made success. AsF. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in 1924, “The whole burden of this novel is the loss of those illusions thatgive such color to the world.” In conclusion, The Great Gatsby by F.
Scott Fitzgerald conveys the theme of greed and constant discontent through literary elements such as tone, symbolism, imagery, and dialogue. As I have emphasized in my essay, F.Scott Fitzgerald’s portrayal of contemporary society during the time after the war using optimist values of the desire for money and greed. First, you have the Buchannans, Daisy and Tom, who are dripping riches. Their dialogue, demeanor, dress and behavior all define that they are born into the wealth. Whereas, the second group is the new money, those who just came into money.
This groups dialogue is totally different than that of the Buchannan’s. Fitzgerald constantly uses symbolism to show the reader that danger and death is to follow.While Fitzgerald’s use of imagery creates a mood of richness, infatuation and desire. As I have expressed in my essay his usage of various colors like blues, whites, greens and yellows help develop characters using a dual role of literary meaning to understand Fitzgerald’s novel. In consideration of the social status of the characters, dialogue as written by Fitzgerald is used to show the class or educational status of the characters.
Using social status and dialect, Fitzgerald’s representation of each character dividing them into two vastly different groups. Using these ever present literary devices Fitzgerald proved that by using tone, symbolism, imagery and dialect the characters evolved more and became more relatable. In addition, Fitzgerald’s use of these literary terms add life to the story drawing in the reader into the roaring twenties enveloping them into Gatsby’s fantasy lifestyle as he tries to win back the love of his life, Daisy. Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.
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