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The reckless spending led to the destruction of the American Dream and the characters in the book are depicting people from this time period and how their recklessness led to its destruction. Also dissatisfaction led to many people losing what they had already attained. The Great Depression followed the Roaring Twenties. As mentioned previously the Roaring Twenties was a period of time where people just spent money and did not care about the consequences. And despite many people coming close to achieving their goal of happiness, the Stock Collapse of 1928, caused many people to lose everything.
After the victory from the war, people were in this “victory high”. This mindset of not caring was what ultimately led to a physical and economic downfall that was the Great Depression. The way Fitzgerald uses the characters to show that even though people had attained what they wanted, they were so careless in that they lost everything they had hoped to achieve. This goes to show that even if something is achieved, it can be taken away at a moments notice due to their own stupidity.
“Gatsby’s gospel of hedonism is reflected in his house, wild parties, clothing, roadster and particularly in his blastant wooing of another man’s wife” (Pearson 642).
He is explaining the whole recklessness theme in the book and correlate it to how the spending and not caring led to a downfall that cost many people money and in this story particularly led to death. In addition to everything Gatsby is, he is also the epitome of someone from the 1920s.
He directly symbolizes the downfall of the American Dream as he achieved so much and let it all wither away. His wild parties included the beverage that affected so many people during this time period: alcohol. Prohibition took place but the amendment did its opposite intention. It was intended to reduce crime and corruption and it was created to solve social problems. Instead, alcohol became the symbol of wealth which why Fitzgerald uses it to show the wealth of people. “He [Gatsby] is also its unwitted prophet, for his failure and destruction serve as a portent for the eclipse of the American Dreams, and the passing away of an era” (Pearson 639).
This is a part that talks about the fact that Gatsby is shown as a sort of false prophet of the American Dream as it sort of just supposed to be that he is living the American Dream but he is actually depicting someone from the 1920s. His extravagant lifestyle was what people had hoped to attain. Fitzgerald uses characters like Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan to show how no matter how much people had, they still were not satisfied. Tom was a rich man who had an affair with Myrtle, wife of a very poor George Wilson. “Tom talked incessantly, exulting and laughing, but his voice was as remote from Jordan and me…….Human sympathy has its limits, and we were content to let all their tragic arguments fade with the city lights behind” (Fitzgerald 135). Tom’s actions throughout the novel reflect the actions of a dissatisfied person. He was born into money and has a wife.Even after its attainment, people were still dissatisfied with what they have. Given all that, he still decides he deserves more and has an affair with another woman. This shows the dissatisfaction of the people in the 1920s. We as humans can never be satisfied. Even after having everything they still want more.
Fitzgerald uses Gatsby as an example of this. At the end of the novel, Nick Carraway starts describing Gatsby and analyzes his life and lifestyle. Carraway explains that Gatsby ‘had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city,” (Fitzgerald 180). When Nick talking about how Gatsby had attained everything he wanted, he also says that Gatsby was still dissatisfied with one part which was Daisy. His need to have everything led to his death. Fitzgerald created this story to mirror what people believed and did during the 1920s. Many people during this time period did exactly what Gatsby did where they had gained wealth but was still unhappy and strived for more. Recklessness and carelessness led to the destruction of this American Dream.
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