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< Back to question What are the themes of The Great Gatsby? Show more Show less

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is a set in New York City during the 1920s: a time of youth, wealth, and prohibition. There are several timeless themes such as love, wealth, and death. Other themes are more specific to the era like the materialism of the Roaring Twenties and social class.

The Great Gatsby is about social class Show more Show less

The characters are concerned about their position in society and how others perceive them.
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Jay Gatsby's parties symbolize the shallowness of the upper class in The Great Gatsby

Gatsby's parties were the hub for upper-class society. He throws huge weekly parties with many upper-class attendees, but has next-to-no friends; no one knows anything about him or how he came by his money and he does not seem inclined to share this information with anyone. It shows the shallowness of the upper-class and the fact that they are obsessed with wealth.
The Great Gatsby book education literature reading
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Proponents


Context

At the end of the novel when Gatsby dies, there are exactly two people at his funeral, his father and Nick Carraway. This shows the shallowness that Fitzgerald found in people and how Gatsby was admired for his wealth and how almost no one actually cared about him. Also, the appearance of commodities, including clothing, cars and luxury goods show the rich lifestyle of the upper-class. This presents the idea that Gatsby was tolerated by the upper class because they enjoyed his parties, but that he was never fully accepted by them. Gatsby's parties are the hub of the upper-class, presenting the luxury lifestyle as well as the miniature of the shallowness of the upper-class.

The Argument

Jay Gatsby's decadent parties served as the center for upper-class nightlife. They included alcohol, live music, and dancing. By throwing expensive parties, he has become part of the elite class and has many powerful business connections.[1] People from all over New York City would travel to his house to experience one of his parties, having heard rumors about how extravagant they are. Many who attend the parties are wealthy and part of the elite class. The amount of money and effort that goes into throwing Gatsby's parties shows how excessive and outrageous the upper class can be. The characters are constantly trying to flaunt their social status and wealth.

Counter arguments

Gatsby's parties were only beneficial for entertainment, and not a place to establish wealth or class. Nick Carraway states multiple times how drunk and disorderly the guests were being. It is well-known that Gatsby is a bootlegger, so many attended parties for an opportunity to drink during prohibition. They served as a place for people to be themselves without the judgement of society.

Premises

[P1] Gatsby's parties were a place to boast about wealth and class status. [P2] Most who attended Gatsby's parties were in the upper class. [P3] The upper class is excessive with their wealth. [P4] Therefore, the theme of The Great Gatsby is social class.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Gatsby's parties were a place for people to drink alcohol. [Rejecting P3] Only Gatbsy is excessive with his wealth.

References

  1. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:667768/FULLTEXT01.pdf

This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:08 UTC

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