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...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1026 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7911 literature essays, 2225 sample college application essays, 341 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in