What Techniques Does Fitzgerald Use to Convey the Main Themes in the Great Gatsby

1631 Words Oct 26th, 2009 7 Pages
The Great Gatsby
“What techniques does Fitzgerald use to convey the central ideas of The Great Gatsby?”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is primarily a social commentary on the state of American society during the post-war period of unprecedented affluence and prosperity.
Fitzgerald depicts 1920’s America as an age of decline in traditional social and moral values; primarily evidenced by the cynicism, greed and the relentless yet empty pursuit of prosperity and pleasure that various characters in The Great Gatsby exhibit. He presents a society in which uninhibited consumerism, materialism and an all-pervading desire for wealth have perverted the previously righteous qualities of the American Dream, corrupting it in the process.
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Finally, as a final insult to the memory of Gatsby, Daisy and Tom move away rather than attend his funeral. Primarily through the character of Daisy, Fitzgerald shows that a restless and unfulfilled existence; a situation that arises from the jobless and purposeless life that tremendous wealth brings, can be just as destructive as the reckless pursuit of wealth that is displayed in West Egg.

The importance of geographical setting and its contribution to the central theme of the novel, that is; the decay of the American Dream, in The Great Gatsby cannot be understated. The most prevalent location in the novel relating to the decay of the American Dream is the “valley of ashes”, situated “[a]bout half-way between West Egg and New York”. The “valley of ashes” is essentially the by-product of the acquisition of ‘new money’. Here the results of the materialistic fervour and the relentless pursuit of wealth which have taken the place of the original noble intentions of the American Dream are vividly expressed through Fitzgerald’s use of diction to describe the region, which is overwhelmingly bleak and negative, evidenced brilliantly through this introductory extract concerning the area;

“This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where

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