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What are the themes of The Great Gatsby? Show more Show less

F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved novel The Great Gatsby is required reading for most high schools. It shows New York City during the 1920s: a time of youth, wealth, and prohibition. What exactly are the themes of the novel, and how are the characters influenced by the values of the era?

The Great Gatsby is about love Show more Show less

At its core, the novel is a tragic love story.
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Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan

Jay Gatsby is only motivated by his love for Daisy Buchanan.
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The Great Gatsby book education literature reading


The Argument

Jay Gatsby's dream to be with Daisy Buchanan is the entire driving force of the novel. It motivates him to become wealthy, move to New York, and throw parties in hopes that she will attend.[1] The Great Gatsby completely revolves around love and is the motivation behind many characters' actions. Even Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker help with the pursuit of Daisy by being Gatsby's wingman.[2] Gatsby's entire life is centered on loving and pleasing Daisy and is the cause for every action. He loved Daisy so greatly that he took the blame from her, consequently getting himself killed.

Counter arguments

The Great Gatsby isn't just about love. There are other themes as well, such as wealth, the American dream, and social status. Gatsby's love for Daisy may be important to the plot, but there are other situations occurring simultaneously. The novel also goes into detail about other characters' lives, such as Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway.



[P1] Jay Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan. [P2] The plot of The Great Gatsby is motivated by love. [P3] Therefore, the theme of The Great Gatsby is love.

Rejecting the premises


Further Reading



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This page was last edited on Thursday, 26 Mar 2020 at 11:54 UTC