Analysis Of ' The Great Gatsby '

1789 WordsFeb 22, 20178 Pages
Imran Hyder American Literature Amorality within the American Dream The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Passing by Nella Larsen are two significant historical novels that highlight the problems of the nineteen-twenties. These two stories, written within a decade, contrast each other deeply as The Great Gatsby investigates the deep socio-economic tensions of the early twentieth century whereas Passing investigates the deep racial tensions throughout the beginning of the twentieth century. An aspect intrinsic to both books is how these tensions relate to and hinder the American Dream, the idea that every American has an equal opportunity to achieve success through hard work and determination. Both novels present characters that…show more content…
The fact that Gatsby was willing to lie after assuring God’s truth establishes his amorality as a character to the reader. It is also important that Gatsby’s “right hand suddenly ordered divine retribution to stand by.” Gatsby acknowledges that he is deserving of this divine punishment and therefore asks this penalty or retribution to stand by. Gatsby was dishonest and defied God, the epitome of morality, asserting himself as the actual embodiment of sinfulness. Clare Kendry of Passing parallels Jay Gatsby in this sense as she also misleads her husband about her origins. This misleading is visible as when regarding her husband, Clare states, “there was no one to tell him that I was coloured, and many to tell him about the severity and the religiousness of Aunt Grace and Aunt Edna. ” (Larsen 82) Although Clare did not blatantly lie like Gatsby, she was dishonest about her roots. Rather than stating that she was from an African-American household, Clare allows Jack to believe that she is white for the entirety of their marriage. The fact that she is lying about her origin to her spouse intensifies this aura of dishonesty as a wife was not expected to keep secrets from her husband. This level of the deceitfulness even further increases when the magnitude of this deception is considered. Clare did not reveal herself as African American to Jack, someone who has such contempt for
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