Great Gatsby Analysis Essay

Submitted By Lovin40
Words: 1071
Pages: 5

English Composition II
February 11, 2011
American Tradition
What has become of the American dream? When the European settlers came to this new land of America, did they imagine a country run on money, where people are cheated by scandals every day, where a home-life is almost nonexistent, and where tradition has been lost? The pioneers of this America most likely aspired to build a land of a hardworking population with honest valuesand strong morals. In the bookThe Great Gatsby, Francis Scott Fitzgerald symbolizes the rise and fall of the traditional American dream and how the American population has drifted from earlier idealism. Fitzgerald depicts traditional American idealism through the Buchannan household. Tom Buchannan, although tempted quite often by the evils of new society, is a straightforward man, with “a body capable of enormous leverage—a cruel body;” he is a figure for all masculinity (Fitzgerald 11). Tom’s wealth has come from the “old money” of America;raised in American tradition, he inherits this lifestyle for him and his family. Tom, having always been wealthy, has the reward of having the phenomenal Miss Daisy for a wife. Daisy is the traditional American housewife. She is the perfect wife, the mother of Tom’s child, and is always the excitement of the party; she has “the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again” (Fitzgerald 13). The Buchannans represent what is left of the American household, and where American tradition has come from. Jay Gatsby, on the other hand, is the spark of the new era of America. Gatsby has built his American empire by immoral schemes and corruption. Bootlegging, drug dealing, and petroleum profiteering has become the base and monetary support for Gatsby’s dream. He builds himself up so high that he becomes almost god-like to the public in that he becomes the person that every man idealizes himself to become. Gatsby’s home, a mansion towering over shanties, is over-the-top extravagant; it “was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (Fitzgerald 9). Not only is Gatsby prolific within himself and his manor, he also throws the most extravagant parties at his estate. His parties are the talk of the community “men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” (43). Gatsby, though, is not an honest man; he creates numerous stories of wartime honor and memories in the highly respected school of Oxford; he does all of this in an attempt to associate himself with historic American tradition. He even goes as far to say that he inherited all of his wealth, “but [that he] lost most of it in the big panic—the panic of the war” (95). But Gatsby will never be truly happy, for he has created a dream so grand that even he is incapable of achieving it with all his money and power. He does not even attend his own parties, just stands up in his castle of prosperity gazing upon his careless gay guests. Fitzgerald introduces a mediator between the Buchannans and Gatsby in his character Nick Carraway. Nick’s character, although representing culture change, still is a hardworking, honest man. Even though poor, Nick a trustworthy man who carries himself with the sophistication and presence of a thousand generations. Nick becomes caught up in his new fabulous lifestyle though;“remembering that today’s [his] birthday. [He] was thirty,” he has even almost forgotten his own birthday, (142-143). Carraway calls himself out on his new lifestyle and decides that returning to the West and the stability and quietness that the West offers shall be best for him. Serving as the figure woman of the new era is Jordan Baker. Unlike the women of the past, she is