Brucker and Gatsby

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Symone Hall Period 4 Gatsby and Alger Myth Essay Somewhere there is a person who has a image of success they hope to obtain. This vision of success differs for individuals, because most learn to achieve mere material success. Contradictory to this, Horatio Alger’s idea that success as respectability is in Professor Carl Brucker’s, “Virtue Rewarded: The Contemporary Student and Horatio Alger” (1984). Brucker explains The Horatio Alger myth that to earn respect from your community one must be virtuous, be rewarded with a lucky break from god, and use effort to make the most of the chance opportunity. It is conveyed in the book “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald with one of the main characters, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is not only who the book is about but exhibits multiple characteristics on the negative gain of success. The myth manifests in the novel through Gatsby’s inability to gain respect from his community. Gatsby has faced difficult things in life and does not find a way to be virtuous. The darkness he faced younger and older challenged his survival in life, physically and mentally. In order to make money he owns drug stores that on the side sell alcohol illegally. His job has him around “drunkards, ungrateful heirs, [and] pompous aristocrats” (Brucker). Along with his immoral job he throws enormous parties with alcohol and with those who show him little to no respect. The people who go to his parties gossip about him constantly saying, “he’s a bootlegger” (Fitzgerald), or “he killed a man” (Fitzgerald). He also did not “suffer the absence of parental support” (Brucker) Alger’s characters went through causing their lack of knowledge of right and wrong. Demonstrating how his success does not gain respectability because he chooses wrong instead of right. Since Gatsby is not virtuous, he is not rewarded by the divine. Alger’s characters are to be believed as

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