Examples Of A Classless Society In The Great Gatsby

825 Words4 Pages

A Classless Society: Determining Standards through Character The 1920s were a time of excitement and economic growth for the young and bustling American nation. Although the country was progressing as a whole, a class system was very prevalent and separated the country. Fitzgerald comments on the American class system through his description and actions of the characters and their traits. By associating contrasting traits and actions with opposing characters of the same class, the author demonstrates the idea of a classless society through the application of diction, imagery, and details. Fitzgerald first establishes the idea of a classless society by using diction to point out the difference between characters ethics and morals. On page …show more content…

Fitzgerald primarily establishes the difference between Tom and Gatsby on page 98 when he states “It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn green jersey and a pair of canvas pants” and “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people”. By providing a vivid picture of Gatsby’s background, the reader can now understand Tom’s contemptuous attitude toward Jay, though they were of the same wealth when they first met. On page 133, Tom expresses his disdain of Gatsby by stating "I found out what your little 'drug-stores' were... he and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That's one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong." It is here that Tom essentially recognizes Gatsby's way of living, however illegal it may be, as worthless due to his pretentious belief that the upper class consists only of those with old money and excludes those with newly hard earned wealth. With the application of imagery, Fitzgerald separates Tom and Gatsby's background and shows its effects on the traits and thought processes of each character, which adds to the diversity that creates such a rift between classes within itself that it essentially dismantles

Open Document