Poverty In The Great Gatsby

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Shoots and Broken Ladders F. Scott Fitzgerald’s early American masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, gives readers a glimpse of life in the Roaring Twenties. In a time period filled with new inventions and a booming economy, rising through the ranks of social hierarchy seems deceivingly simple. Yet, improving one’s social stature in the communities of East Egg and West Egg is, in fact, a nearly impossible task. Unfortunately, rising in social standing in today’s society has proven just as difficult. As the nation’s wealth gap grows larger, more and more individuals are driven into poverty. Children from these less fortunate families struggle in school; many are lucky to even graduate from high school. Without college degrees, these children face limited…show more content…
The United States exhibits the highest imbalance of wealth distribution than any other major developed nation (Inequality.org). In fact, the richest 160,000 families in America own as much wealth as the poorest 145 million families (Fortune). As the wealth gap increases, more and more individuals are driven into poverty. Unequal wealth distribution also results in a phenomenon known as the cycle of poverty. The cycle of poverty describes instances where families become trapped in poverty for generations due to the restricted access of essential resources, such as education. Standardized tests from schools in Illinois illustrate the effects poverty has on a child’s school performance. Officials found that schools with higher concentrations of poor students score lower on the test than schools with lower concentrations of poor students. For instance, schools with 90-100% low-income students received an average test score of 39% while schools with 50-59.9% low-income students received an average test score of 56.2%. Schools comprised of 0-9.9% low-income students scored the highest with an average of 84%. Larry Joseph, director of research at Voice for Illinois Children, suggests that majority of poor children struggle in school because “more affluent families can invest more resources in their children’s development...[such as] health care, adequate nutrition, home computers…and supportive neighborhoods”
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