Complications/Difficulties with the American Dream In Chapter One we can already see the class differences that are shown in the West Egg versus East Egg people. We know that the people from West Egg, like Gatsby, are new to money, whereas the people from East Egg are old to money. The people in East Egg are ones who have inherited a great line of money from rich relatives: “…the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them” (Fitzgerald 7).
Gatsby’s entire life is the warped American Dream, for in Chapter 6 the reader finds out about Jay Gatz. This other person, the man who is not Gatsby, is the real man. However, Gatsby has replaced him, so what does that say for the American Dream? That it kills the real person?
Daisy is evidence of the American Dream and her difficulties with it. She is not happily married, and she is willing to cheat on her husband. What does this say about the American Dream other than happiness is to be had at the expense of morals? It seems that Gatsby is willing to create a fake life to live up to the American Dream, which in turn never works out. His dream is to impress Daisy with money, but the American Dream is not that simple.
Corruption of Morals
The corruption of morals is evidenced throughout the book. The characters are all corrupted for none of them are as they seem. Nick is probable the most “real” person, but even he is immoral. He is the one who conspires with Daisy to try to set her up with Gatsby. He basically tells her to not bring her husband, thus indicating that she is going to be doing something that her husband would not approve of: “‘Don’t bring Tom,’ I warned her. / ‘What?’/ ‘Don’t bring Tom.’/ ‘Who is ‘Tom’?’ she asked innocently” (Fitzgerald 89). The fact that Daisy is so ready to play along shows that her morals are corrupted.
Of course, Tom is having an affair as well, so it is not that Daisy is the only one to be cheating. The further corruption of morals is illustrated when Myrtle is hit by Daisy, but Gatsby takes the blame. In this way, there is not any morality because the characters are willing to lie about killing someone.
Shallowness/Hollowness of the Upper Class
Nick notices how shallow the society is, however, he ends up being a part of the shallow society that he critiques: “Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so…” [italics] (Fitzgerald 112). Nick knows that the reason that everyone behaves as they do is because no one reflects upon the morality of their actions.
Daisy cries when she sees Gatsby’s shirts. She is not emotionally moved until she sees his expensive shirts. This shows that money is what moves her. She is shallow and hollow because she would prefer money to love.
Everyone is disappointed when Gatsby calls off his parties. These parties were only for Daisy’s benefit, so when she decided that she did not like them, Gatsby stopped having them. All of the guests were upset that there are no parties, and not concerned with why Gatsby would have canceled them. This shows how shallow his “friends” were that went to his parties.
- Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “The Great Gatsby” (1925). PlanetEBook.com, 2016