The Great Gatsby and the Superficial Frauds of the 1920’s
F. Scott Fitzgerald
was a very influential
author throughout the 1920s because he expressed the personality of the time. The 1920s were known as the “roaring 20’s
”, and they were known for the large amounts of wealth
, and carefree innocence
that were enjoyed by the upper class. The era was also known for prohibition
, an idea that was supposed to bring purity
and innocence back to America, but prohibition really just encouraged more people to drink. Excessive drinking
, carefree innocence, and the shallow
idea of sophistication are some of the topics explored throughout The Great Gatsby
. In The Great Gatsby
, F. Scott Fitzgerald
expresses how the sophisticated society of his age was actually a superficial fraud when he writes about Nick going to his first Gatsby party.
Nick is introduced to the superficial fraud of society for the first time when he goes over to visit Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Daisy and Tom are a sophisticated couple that lives in East Egg, and their sophistication and wealth instantly impresses Nick. According to Tom, anybody that is important in society lives in the East, and he expresses this when he says, “I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry. I’d be a… fool to live anywhere else”. Tom and Daisy are at the peak of eastern sophistication, and everyone goes along with their shallow ideas, even though they are not always moral. The immoral actions of Tom are explored when he receives a phone call from his mistress during dinner. Tom’s affair with Myrtle is very public and is accepted by almost everyone, and Jordan enjoys gossiping about the affair. Jordan’s nosy attitude is expressed when Fitzgerald writes, “Miss Baker leaned forward unashamed, trying to hear. The murmur trembled on the verge of coherence, sank down, mounted excitedly, and then ceased altogether” (Does Fitzgerald not have a beautiful way with words?). Jordan has no shame for any of her actions throughout the novel. In fact, she is often proud of them. She enjoys telling Nick about Tom’s affair with Myrtle, and he is completely disgusted. Nick is more moral than Jordan is, and when he hears about the phone call, his first instinct is “to telephone immediately to the police”.
While at the Buchanans’, Nick gets his first lesson in the fraud of sophistication, and he realizes that the East isn’t as picture perfect as it seems. The disillusionment of Nick is just one theme in the novel. There is also the theme of the unreachable goal or Green Light, which I found interesting. However, as I am a great fan of romantic innocence, Nick intrigued me more than the other characters, such as Daisy Bleh!