“Now we have an American masterpiece in its final form; the original
crystal has shaped itself into the true diamond.”
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is deemed to be a true
classic in all terms. The Novel is a timeless masterpiece that any era throughout
history can relate to. “Though written in the 1920’s The Great Gatsby stands as
… one of the masterpieces of the twentieth century American literature .” The
book has “transcended its own age and turned into a timeless classic.” The
novel may have been written to justify society at that time, however the entire
storyline can be related to anyone that reads it.
William Faulkner is an author who wrote a famous Nobel Prize
acceptance speech. “He writes not of love but lust, of defeats in which nobody
loses anything of value, of victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or
compassion.” Here Faulkner speaks of issues that also pertain to that of The
Great Gatsby. Gatsby desired Daisy throughout the entire story. Everything he
did and thought had been decided upon by his undying lust. When Daisy
married Tom, Gatsby lost his chance with her. Then Gatsby won a glance at
happiness with Daisy when she fell in love with him. There was no hope though,
his poor youth kept him from being an aristocrat. Daisy only wanted to be with
an aristocrat. Finally when Faulkner said “without pity or compassion” this
relates to The Great Gatsby in how Tom and Daisy packed up and moved far
away without even showing their faces at Gatsby’s funeral.
The Plot of the novel, is based on the fact that the newly rich, (those who
were not born into money, but have acquired it over time), will never have the power of
those who were born in to family wealth. The woman that Gatsby, the main
character, is in love with, is married to Tom, a man of higher power than Gatsby.
Living in East Egg, the couple looked down on those in West Egg. West
Egg was “The less fashionable of the two,”(pg. 9) the area where those who had
just acquired their new money lived.
Daisy, Gatsby’s love interest, deserted him after their past relationship
and married Tom while Gatsby was at war. Gatsby’s newly obtained money was
still not good enough for Daisy. This type of scenario is still typical today in
society. Much of the world today is based on materialism and the worth of one’s
fortune is more valuable than their own happiness.
For the most part the characters, their problems they face, and how they
act in The Great Gatsby relate to any of those who lived throughout history.
Gatsby for instance was a character who did anything he could to impress a girl
that he desires. People of the past present and future will urge to impress
someone they want.
Ever since there has been social classes there has always been people
trying to form a relationship or marriage with someone just for their social
upbringing. In The Great Gatsby Daisy does just that by marrying Tom then
denying Gatsby the chance since he is not an Aristocrat.
All the way back to King Henry VIII and beyond there has been infidelity.
Tom is quite the sinner in this way. He kept a steady mistress where ever he
was during his marriage. Also tying in with Daisy she played it off as if she did
not know Tom was cheating on her to keep her social status.
There are two major themes throughout The Great Gatsby. The first
theme is the decline of the American dream in the 1920’s. The American dream
was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In
the 1920’s depicted in the novel, however, easy money and related social values
corrupted this dream. The main plot of this novel reflects strongly to that
statement. Gatsby’s dream of having Daisy is denied because of their difference
in social statues. He had to resort to illegal ways of obtaining his money to
impress his love.
The other theme of the novel, pertains to the hollowness of the upper
class . Though the newly rich and the aristocrats were very different from each
other, the two were balanced out. The West Egg, though said to be vulgar,
gaudy, and have pretentious homes, is much more sincere and giving than the
East Egg. For example, Gatsby stood outside Daisy’s house until four am. just
to make sure she did not get hurt.
The East Egg was known for their grace taste subtlety, and elegance.
They had tasteful homes and dressed in tasteful clothing. On the other hand,
they lacked heart, they were careless, and inconsiderate bullies. Due to their
shallowness, they were accustomed to their money’s ability to ease their minds .
For example, instead of facing up to their problems in the end, the Buchanans
simply moved away and had no guilt leaving Gatsby to take the blame; they did
not even show at Gatsby’s funeral after he took the heat for Daisy.
Throughout the novel much imagery is used. The first image is that of the
green light situated at the end of Daisy’s dock. This light was leading Gatsby to
his goal in life (Daisy). This quest for Gatsby can be associated with the
American dream. The green light can symbolize the fight everyone has to reach
their goals. This can be related to anyone no matter what time in history you
Another image is that of the valley of ashes. This area is between East
Egg and West Egg. The valley is a site for industries to dump their ashes. This
mess represents the moral and social decay that results from the uninhabited
pursuit of wealth. In today’s society, people will knock down whoever they must,
to get to the top. Society is very greedy and only sees to one’s benefit.
The last symbol would be the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. These eyes are
on an advertisement billboard over the valley of ashes. They may represent god
staring down judging American society as a moral waste land. “Standing behind
him, he saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg
which had just emerged pale and enormous from the dissolving night, god sees
everything. ” ” The man replied”(pg. 167). The eyes represent god watching all
of us and everyone usually has some type of upper being to look up to, no
matter what era.
In conclusion The Great Gatsby proves to be a timeless classic and can
relate to any era throughout history. The plot, characters, themes, and imagery
of the story all support the fact that even though the book was based on the
1920’s any decade can relate to it. The problems of the people and society are
still those of today and probably will never change.