Views of Entitlement in the Great Gatsby

1596 WordsJan 1, 20127 Pages
The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald’s explanation of an American Reality which contradicts the American Dream That was always my experience—a poor boy in a rich town; a poor boy in a rich boy's school; a poor boy in a rich man's club at Princeton.... However, I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich, and it has colored my entire life and works." —F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli. New York: Scribners, 1994. pg. 352. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been celebrated as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - American works of fiction. Of course, one could convincingly argue that Gatsby barely qualified as fiction, as it is the culmination of a trio of Fitzgerald’s work that…show more content…
The culture of the wealthy Americans represented in The Great Gatsby was defined mainly by consumerism and excessive material wealth. Wherever given the opportunity, Jay Gatsby went over the top, as shown in his flamboyant style of dress and his huge mansion where he throws lavish parties. This is actually not all that different from Fitzgerald’s life. After his first work was published to great fanfare, Fitzgerald was the talk of the town. As was the case with Gatzby, many of those around him did not – and never would – actually know Fitzgerald. They wished merely to be close to someone famous. Fitzgerald shunned all the attention, eventually moving to France. It was there that he looked at the supposed American Dream from a different perspective. To Fitzgerald, it was clear that the sudden wealth that many Americans began to acquire caused leisure and idleness to replace traditional ethics like hard work as qualities that were admired. (Decker, 28) Certainly the Buchanans and Gatsby cared little about hard work once they had achieved their material goals. Gatsby believed that in order to fulfill his own concept of the American Dream he needed to win Daisy’s love, and to do that he would need to “establish himself as Somebody.” Although he loves Daisy, he also sees her as more of a goal – a step toward the perfect life promised by the American Dream. In a way, Gatsby views Daisy much the way
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