Capitalist America: How Society Lost Itself
Since the beginning of the Middle Ages around 400 A.D., the economic model of capitalism has been applied upon communities with the intent of experiencing the greatest amount of growth in wealth in the shortest amount of time. In the context of “The Great Gatsby”, for America, the end of World War I in 1919 represented a great opportunity for capitalists around the nation to further grow their wealth with what seemed to be no downside. However, capitals reliance on sign exchange value, where individuals subscribe to beliefs and purchase goods because of what they represent, causes drastic changes in society. The value of interpersonal relations diminishes, and the very meaning of reality is over-proliferated and then deconstructed. The “roaring twenties” represented a time where no true reality was accepted until it was skewed by the wealthy. Fitzgerald utilizes the character of Owl Eyes and the billboard of Dr. T.J Eckleburg to highlight the substantial differences between the illusive façade the elite class attempt to create and the reality of the 1920’s.
Owl Eyes represents Fitzgerald’s archetype for the common person that is part of the wealthy crowd for the era, one who is prone to buying into the illusions that the wealthy capitalists attempt to create for themselves. Throughout the novel the reoccurring motif of lavish parties is brought up, within one such event, Owl Eyes is introduced as a drunkard loitering within