17 October 2017
The Great Gatsby Critical Analysis
The Great Gatsby is an American literary classic written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel allows us to look at life through a variety of different perspectives, and examines society in the 1920s. Through reading this book as a sociological, implied, and actual reader and also looking through a psychoanalytical lens, I was able to grasp the deeper meaning of this book and thoroughly appreciate this novel.
While reading this book, I found myself approaching The Great Gatsby from a sociological viewpoint. Reading this book from a sociological view helped me to understand the social norms and values that Fitzgerald was trying to convey. The social norm that was most prominent in this book was the demeaning treatment of women. It is clear in the way that Tom and Gatsby treat Daisy that women are considered more as property than as people. "She never loved you, do you hear?" he cried. "She only married you because i was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake but in her heart she never loved any one except me." (Fitzgerald 130) By arguing over Daisy like a material possession, it exemplifies how women were looked at as trophies or as something to win. Daisy’s feelings were never evaluated or weighed by Tom or Gatsby. Daisy had no say in the argument, the men only thought about themselves without caring what her thoughts were. While reading the book, I also noticed other patterns such as the inability of lower class citizens to move up in the world. People who were born into the lower class are unable to improve their status and escape the Valley of the Ashes; this is represented well by Myrtle. She wants nothing more than to get out of the Valley of the Ashes but she cannot escape. Myrtle dies having never made it out of the Valley of the Ashes.
From my viewpoint, the implied audience of The Great Gatsby is lower class citizens from the time period that the book was written. In the novel there are many different factors that give me the assumption that this book was written for the lower class. One factor is Gatsby's rags to riches backstory; Gatsby truly thought that through hard work and self-control one could achieve the American dream. Gatsby's backstory would inspire a lower class citizen to aspire to greater things because they can connect with Gatsby's backstory. "His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God . . . and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end." (Fitzgerald 104) This passage exemplif...