Lavish Lifestyles in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Imagine that the thing you want most in life turns out to be the thing you despise most. Then picture that in order to discover this disillusioning fact, you have to watch other people destroy themselves in the process of achieving you goal. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald gives a scathing critique of the lavish and foolish lifestyle of affluent Americans, and of the inanity of the American Dream, the dream of equal opportunity for upward mobility--basically, the dream of wealth. The irony of this is that Fitzgerald himself lived like many of the wealthy character in the book, despite his contempt for the lifestyle. The story, narrated by a man named Nick Carraway, who is an aspirant of wealth, follows the quest of Jay Gatsby for Daisy Buchanan through decadent and frivolous parties, ash filled landscapes, and sinful cities, all during one summer in the 1920’s. Nick is in the East, where the story occurs, seeking his own fortune, when, in an effort to escape loneliness, he becomes involved with several very wealthy people and their childish dramas. By observing their mistakes and their fates, Nick becomes disillusioned about what wealth really means, and thus, in the end, decides to return to the West. Through the desperate striving and crushing disillusionment of key characters, Fitzgerald conveys his belief that the American Dream is an alluring, yet childish illusion.
Using both Gatsby and Nick’s attraction to wealth, Fitzgerald shows how the American
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