The Great Gatsby

A Great American Dream

The Great Gatsby and "Babylon Revisited," both by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are stories about the emptiness and recklessness of the 1920s. Each story has its distinctions, but Fitzgerald's condemnation of the decade reverberates through both. Fitzgerald explores and displays insufficiencies of the vacuous period, and does so with sharp clarity and depth, leaving no crude, barbarous habit to imagination. Fitzgerald had a deep and personal affliction with the 1920s (most notably in the Eastern United States), and in both The Great Gatsby and "Babylon Revisited," he hones his conflicts into a furious condemnation. The 1920s were a period of sloth, habitual sin, exhausted illustriousness, and moral despondency; the black mark of a society and world usually tilted more toward attempted civility. Fitzgerald conveys this theme through the use of character, symbolism, and wasteland imagery.

First, Fitzgerald uses characters to personify the vast recklessness of the generation. The characters in both are incomprehensibly selfish and carefree, though more noticeably in The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan, for instance, is almost flippant in acknowledging his affair with Jordan Baker, a local miscreant golf pro. Tom leaves...

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