The Great Gatsby; Critics and Symbolism

A few critics and meanings of the main symbols from the book.

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"Great is irony. Gatsby is a rich nobody" - Dexter

"The sustained imagination of a sincere and yet radient world" - Perkins

"Gatsby's dream is the American Dream" - Pelzer

"It is a dream corrupted by money and betrayed by carelessness" - Pelzer

"Buchanans representing and embodying . . .self-pleasure and hyocritical materialism" - Tanner

"Hypothesing, Speculating, Imagining" (Nick's narration) - Tanner

"The reality that such dreams are enevitably ellusive" - Tredell

"Daisy play(s) certain roles . . . as a way of coping with the pressure of the outside world" - Resneck

"Sense doom in Gatsby because Fitzgerald sensed doom in himself" - Styron

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  • The Valley of Ashes - Represents the grey dismal environment of the Wilsons/their class. Seen as a dumping ground for unwanted material possesions.
  • East and West - West a symbol of opportunity and freedom; the achievment of hopes and dreams. East holds the influence of the old world.
  • Eyes - T.J Eckleburg, a form of God holding the characters accountable for their actions or being an oculist implies that the vision of society needs adjusting to appreciate the important (Fitzgerald's view??)
  • The Green Light - Green is seen as hope, new life, inexperience and naivity.
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Fitzgerald deemed the 1920's the "greatest gaudiest spree in history"

After WW1 the development of economic and technological leadership made America a leading world power and it's people created individualism, self advancement and developed the persuit of abundance.

Economic Boom produced mass entertainment and new consumer goods causing extreme materialism.

Attitudes and moral vales collapesed after the war causing the removal of the Romantics and development of a Modernist writing style. (A mixture of both can be seen in Fitzgerald's writing)

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This is great! But could you please put in the first names of these critics? It would help with essay writing :)


very useful thanks! :) (Y)

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