Corrupt Romantic Quest
Uploaded by WelshHanny on May 15, 2002
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the 1920’s society as delusional. The book is set up to resemble a romantic story. It has a hero, villain, damsel in distress and a chronicler. Gatsby has set out on a Romantic Quest in the story to achieve love and fortune. The book reveals the turmoil that someone with such a delusional dream must face to still be able to believe in his dream. Gatsby’s quest is presented as Romantic but twisted by a decayed and corrupt society.
Fitzgerald emphasizes the moral deterioration of the period, which is personified in many characters in the novel. Daisy is the damsel in distress. However, Daisy is corrupt and does not want to be rescued by Gatsby. She is married to the villain, Tom, for his money and social status, and is content staying there. Daisy believes that all women should yearn for a high social class, and not much more, she says about her daughter “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (21). Tom is an upper-class man from Chicago who had “come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away” (10). He has been cheating on Daisy since their honeymoon, when he cheated with one of the chambermaids in Santa Barbara. He is now having an affair with Myrtle, Wilson’s wife who runs the garage in the Valley of Ashes, and is very open about it. Tom is also a hypocrite, he describes society as “going to pieces”(17) while he himself makes self-indulgent actions without thinking of the consequences. Tom’s other fear is of power shifting, he is extremely wary of African Americans and tells Nick, the chronicler, “if we don’t look out the white race will be- will be utterly submerged”(17). Nick is the chronicler in the book and gets placed in the middle of all situations. He is from the Midwest and moved East to “learn the bond business”(7). He always makes the comparison of the purity of the Midwest to the corrupt society of the east. He appears admirable and honest. Nick takes people for who they are after receiving good advice from his father, which told him not to criticize anyone because “all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”(5). However, he...