Great GatsbyScott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is based on the dreams of a mannamed Jay Gatsby. Throughout the novel, it is suggested to the reader thatGatsby is a symbol for America.
He represents the possibilities of life on alevel at which the material and the spiritual have been confused (Bewley 11). Gatsby’s dreams, lifestyle and sense of morality represent an American vision oflife at which the reality ends and an illusion begins. First, to be an Americanmeans to have dreams. Gatsby is a dreamer, just like may Americans. All hisdreams are based on one factor, Daisy Buchanan. Most Americans, achieve theirgoal only we they are free.
Anthony Burgess suggests that “Freedom isslavery”. When Gatsby realizes that he has lost her, his freedom to desireher makes him a slave to her. Since Gatsby is truly ambitious, he won’t stopuntil he “gets the girl”. To most Americans that is part of theirAmerican dream: to have a pretty girl.
That is truly what Gatsby wants: to getthe pretty girl who’s “voice is full of money”(Fitzgerald 127). Inorder for him to have a chance with Daisy, he needs to have money and the GreatAmerican lifestyle. Nonetheless, the first step in getting the girl is to havethe money. Gatsby luckily inherits money from a friend and joins the world of”bootlegging”.
He gets all this and takes it a step further into thedream that Daisy wanted when she was with him. Gatsby’s new lifestyle includedmotorboats, aquaplanes, private beaches, Rolls Royces and water towers (Bewley16). “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths amongwhisperings and the champagne and stars” (Fitzgerald 43). Not only wasGatsby very popular like most Americans want to be but he also had goodclothing.
Daisy became very emotional when Nick writes “He took out a pileof shirts and began throwing them one by one before us, shirts of sheer linenand thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and coveredthe table in many colored disarray” (Fitzgerald 97). Most important, wemust ask ourselves if Gatsby, the American, has any kind of morality. Throughthe eyes of psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, Gatsby would have no sense ofmorality. Kohlberg separated morality into three stages: preconventional,conventional, and post-conventional. Kohlberg would not believe that Gatsby hasany morality because he is a man who only cared about getting money to have hisgirl. He did what he had to do but he did it illegally.
Gatsby only really caredabout Daisy and he was willing to take the blame for Myrtle’s accident onlybecause it was the love of his life. Maybe Kohlberg would agree that he doeshave some kind of conventional morality since his reasoning is based on theexpectations of others for him to do the right thing. As well as with many otherAmericans. Not many Americans reach the stage where they stand up for their ownethics and human rights. Beyond that, readers must also see if Gatsby’s AmericanDream was worthwhile.
Even though he did get the money and the lifestyle, henever did get the girl. Gatsby was not able to achieve his one true goal, and asa consequence, he was killed. This happens to most Americans. Their dreams arecrushed by others “conspiring together” (Fitzgerald 153). These otherpeople’s ambitions are always bigger than the victim. In other cases the one’swho do reach their goals are criticized by others and either become snobs orbecome outcasts to the world.
Who could actually live in such a horrible place?America is the place where dreams, lifestyles, and morals are only present in afew. Heartless people crush dreams, lifestyles are destroyed by green-eyedmonsters, and morals exist in only in those who don’t have ambitions. It’s whatCharles Darwin would call survival of the fittest, or only the strong survive. America, it’s a jungle out there. BibliographyBewley, Marius.
” Criticism of America”. The University of theSouth, 1954. Burgess, Anthony. “Is America Falling Apart?”, The NewYork Times, 1971.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: ScribnerFiction, 1995.