The Illustration of the Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald meant to depict America during the “roarin’ twenties,” and used metaphors in The Great Gatsby as a part of his illustration. Gatsby’s mansion represents the basis and futility of the American Dream, eyes are seen uncovering the nature of reality, and the Valley of Ashes is the moral dumping ground for the wealthy. These metaphors of the house, eyes, and valley used by Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby reflect the views of his time in general, and his own take on life in particular. The first view is that of the American Dream, as compared to Gatsby’s million-dollar mansion. Nick notes that this abode “looks like the world fair,” and this sign of opulence is the first part of what Fitzgerald considers the American Dream to be (Fitzgerald 81). Gatsby spent his whole life searching for wealth, and having finally found it, he splurges much of it holding vast parties. Only later does Gatsby’s real purpose in chasing wealth become clear: “so that Daisy would be just across the bay.” The parties he hosted were in the vain hope that she should come traipsing into one (78). The pursuit of this time-defying love is indubitably what Fitzgerald identifies as the other half of the Dream. Questing for these two goals –money and love- would seem to be the paragon for the good life, but as Owl-Eyes aptly muttered, “if one brick was to be removed the whole library was likely to collapse” (46). Taking the library as a microcosm for the house, this observation can be extended to the American Dream: if a single thing is to go wrong, the rest will surely follow. Once the nature of Gatsby’s business is revealed by Tom, Gatsby’s American Dream slowly decomposes, ending with his death. This one brick is able to turn the luxurious dwelling into a “huge incoherent failure of a house” (180). Using this metaphor, Fitzgerald is able to portray what the American Dream meant to
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