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Wasteland In The Great Gatsby Essay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby (1926) set in 1922 depicts life in the Jazz Age, a time when social standards were protested and two years into prohibition, the authorised ban alcohol sparked the birth of organised crime. Many viewed this as the Government breaching the limits of its power. Only in the context of 1922 and the ill-gotten gains of ‘bootlegging’, could ‘a Gatsby’ appear from nowhere with such wealth to build his mysterious reputation without power or position in society. The ‘wasteland’, as depicted in the novel, symbolises that the ‘American Dream’, the belief that an individual could cross class lines and achieve anything, was simply, a dream. The Valley of Ashes, the ‘wasteland’, is a setting that holds poignant symbolic meaning in the novel. It lies between West Egg and…show more content…
"I found out what your 'drug-stores' were." He turned to us and spoke rapidly. "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” (page,140). West Egg is a world full of promise, anything is possible, where a man such as Gatsby can emerge, shrouded in mystery, without lineage, name or background. In contrast, The Buchannan’s are symbolic of all that is representative of East Egg: old money; classic colonial; refined; conservative and unrivalled affluence. In East Egg, a man’s lineage, name and background is the basis of his position in society and all, especially Gatsby, are judged by that premise. Tom is known in the novel as a conservative, he is suspicious of other people’s wealth and of their race, as seen in chapter 1 during the dinner when he speaks of the latest novel he has been reading, in a racist
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