Consumerism In The Great Gatsby

Decent Essays

In the 1920’s, American consumerism and ideas regarding social structure changed with the emergence of the “newly wealth” class. This class differed from the “old wealth” upper class and was generally rejected by them because of their etiquette and background. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, he examines the societal shifts and conflicts created by the contrast in class. Fitzgerald conveys the idea that, even though in the 1920’s many individuals achieved “newly rich” class status that was linked to the American Dream, the “old wealth” upper class still rejected anyone who is not part of their social circle, as shown through James Gatz’s aspiration to live out his idea of Jay Gatsby and his failure to win over Daisy.
In the 1920’s, the view that everyone has equal opportunity to achieve success and join the upper class—the American Dream—arose as a common belief among Americans, portrayed through James Gatz’ pursuit of living out the life of Jay Gatsby. When the truth about Gatsby’s past is revealed, Nick describes the emergence of Jay Gatsby from James Gatz as, “The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 98). Fitzgerald’s use of the allusion to the philosopher Plato’s theory—every object has an ideal and perfect iteration—shows that Gatsby believed that even though he came from a poor family, social mobility in the 1920’s was completely accessible. Despite many obstacles standing

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