Daisy Buchannan tells Nick and Jordan that she hopes for her daughter to turn out unintelligent and pretty: “'I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'” Daisy realizes that in “this world" — the society of the upper class in the 1920s — intelligence in women carries little value and a pleasant appearance provides the best chance of social distinction. Daisy’s insight suggests that she herself is not a fool, but instead she understands the superficial code of her society without challenging it. Fitzgerald uses Daisy and her daughter to illustrate the entrapment of women in the twenties between the traditional expectation of subservience in women and the arising role of women as capricious hedonists; caught between old and new codes of superficiality, women were encouraged to assume a frivolous position in a society similarly devoid of meaningful institutions.
Fitzgerald focuses his novel, through Nick’s narration, on Jay Gatsby’s dream to not only become rich and classy but ultimately win the love of Daisy, a dream in which Gatsby invests his faith from a young age: “The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself…" So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” Fitzgerald’s description of Gatsby reveals how Gatsby's idealism leads him to create “his Platonic conception of himself,” a conception that seems naïve considering he clings to it from the age of seventeen. Notwithstanding the inevitable stagnation Fitzgerald implies in stubbornly trying to manifest childish ideals, Jay Gatsby’s entrance into the novel sets him up as a prototypical pursuer of the American Dream in the twenties.
Gatbsy cannot perceive the artificial distinction between West and East Egg, so he foolishly pursues the insignificant acknowledgment of the upper echelons that scorn him. On the other hand, the Buchannans and Sloanes represent the type of gilded, decaying community that destroyed the true depth of the American Dream in favor or materialism and stratification.
What did you think of this review?
In 1925, The Great Gatsby was published and hailed as an artistic and material success for its young author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is considered a vastly more mature and artistically masterful treatment of Fitzgerald's themes than his earlier fiction. These works examine the results of the Jazz Age generation's adherence to false material values.
In The Great Gatsby's nine chapters, Fitzgerald presents the rise and fall of Jay Gatsby, as related in a first-person narrative by Nick Carraway. Carraway reveals the story of a farmer's son-turned racketeer, named Jay Gatz. His ill-gotten wealth is acquired solely to gain acceptance into the sophisticated, moneyed world of the woman he loves, Daisy Fay Buchanan. His romantic illusions about the power of money to buy respectability and the love of Daisy—the “golden girl” of his dreams—are skillfully and ironically interwoven with episodes that depict what Fitzgerald viewed as the callousness and moral irresponsibility of the affluent American society of the 1920s.
America at this time experienced a cultural and lifestyle revolution. In the economic arena, the stock market boomed, the rich spent money on fabulous parties and expensive acquisitions, the automobile became a symbol of glamour and wealth, and profits were made, both legally and illegally. The whirlwind pace of this post-World War I era is captured in Fitzgerald's Gatsby, whose tragic quest and violent death foretell the ...