The Great Gatsby
<blockquote>[G]audy ... primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. ... [T]he air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names. ... The party has begun. (40-41)</blockquote>
The beauty and splendor of Gatsby's parties masks the decay and corruption that lay at the heart of the Roaring Twenties. The society of the Jazz Age, as observed by Fitzgerald, was morally bankrupt and thus continually plagued by a crisis of character. Jay Gatsby, though he struggles to be a part of this world, remains unalterably an outsider. His life is a grand irony in that it is a caricature of Twenties-style ostentation: his closet overflows with custom-made shirts; his lawn teems with "the right people," all engaged in the serious work of absolute triviality; his mannerisms (e.g., his false British accent, his old-boy friendliness) are laughably affected. Despite all of this, he can never truly be a part of the corruption that surrounds him: he remains intrinsically "great." Nick Carraway reflects that Gatsby's determination, his lofty...
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