The Great Gatsby: A Reflection of the 1920s Upper Class

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The Great Gatsby: A Reflection of the 1920s Upper Class By: Katie Larsen Author F. Scott Fitzgerald has a very deliberate way of writing. In his book “The Great Gatsby” he uses his major characters as thematic symbols in a bold critique of the American upper class in the 1920s and their values. Not only does Fitzgerald use his characters Daisy and Tom, who are of the upper class, to portray his ideas, but also he uses Nick as his narrator, who is of the lower class, to contrast the personalities of Daisy and Tom. The 1920s were a time when everyone in America was trying to achieve his or her dream of being successful and rich, in order to gain happiness. However, this “American Dream” led to more of a downfall of morals and a false sense of happiness. It created a new kind of person: a selfish, snobby, materialistic kind of person. Fitzgerald uses Tom Buchannan as a general representation of males in the 1920s. Generally, wealthy males were born into families with money, and didn’t work for it, and were brought up to have a certain air about them. Fitzgerald writes, “Now he [Tom] was a sturdy, straw haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shinning, arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward”(Fitzgerald 11). Fitzgerald clearly expresses the feeling of arrogance that Tom gives off through Nick’s narration. It seemed in the 1920s that all men of the upper class were in a competition over who had the best cars and other material possessions. In the story Tom begins to feel threatened by Gatsby and his riches and so refers to Gatsby’s car as a “circus wagon”(128) in an attempt to make Gatsby feel lower than him. Material possessions and money were the main reasons for people getting married during this era. People claimed to be searching for
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