English 11 per. 3
09 March 2015 Gatsby’s American Dream
In the novel,
The Great Gatsby
, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many archetypes, motifs, and symbols are used to portray the moral decay in society, not only in the 1920s, but also today.
Characters, weather changes, and a green light are major factors in the story to illustrate the relationship between Gatsby's American Dream and today’s society depiction of their American
Dream. The 1920s morals are a lot like 2015’s morals. Even though there may be some decay we always move forward.
When using archetypes, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows the “dreamer” through the character of
Gatsby when Nick Carraway had seen Gatsby with his “stretched out arms [reaching] towards
[...] a single green light”(Gatsby 26). Gatsby had been reaching for that light as though it was a dream inches away from his grasp. He had wanted the life of perfection, as do many people who try to achieve their goals to pursue the American Dream. The past that Gatsby dreamed of for years was just beyond his reach, but like F. Scott Fitzgerald had made out Gatsby to be, he longed for the past to repeat. As Nick tried to argue to Gatsby about this Gatsby believes that,
“...repeat the past?[...] Why of course you can”(Gatsby 116)! He wanted the American Dream
“as if the past were lurking[...] in the shadow[...] just out of reach of his hand”(Gatsby 117).
People today do the same thing reaching out for the dream life trying to get the lifestyle that they want. Using Gatsby as an archetype portrays the dreamers in the 1920s and the dreamers today.
Gatsby had the money and the lifestyle that all people in the 1920s and in 2015 want to achieve, even if people can achieve it or not, it is always a life that people wish to have.
Another literary device that F. Scott Fitzgerald uses is the device of motifs. Fitzgerald uses the weather as a motif when the feelings during the scene change as well as the weather does, matching the current mood of the story. At Gatsby’s and Daisy’s reunion, “the day agreed upon was pouring rain”(Gatsby 88). The moment had first been awkward between the two, making a melancholy kind of moment but later when they finally begin to feel the love again, and “after half an hour the sun shone again”(Gatsby 93). The weather had changed in the exact time that things had been awkward and then evolved into a reawoken love. The sun had come out, making the feeling lighter and a little bit happier, making the reader feel the same as well.
Another motif is the geography and settings in the story. Throughout the novel, places and settings represent the 1920s American society that Fitzgerald illustrates. Nick Carraway “lived at
West Egg, the [...] less fashionable of the two”(Gatsby 9).
East Egg represents the old aristocracy, West Egg the newly rich, the valley…