Youth In The Great Gatsby

1872 Words8 Pages
The Great Gatsby is a great American novel as the statements it made clear in the 1920’s of the ruin of America and the American Dream still resonates with readers today. In The Guardian article, “What Makes the Great Gatsby Great?” author Sarah Churchwell states, “Gatsby is a fable about betrayal – of others, and of our own ideals. The concept that a New World in America is even possible, that it won't simply reproduce the follies and vices of the Old World, is already an illusion, a paradise lost before it has even been conceived... The materialistic world of Gatsby is defined by social politics in a metropolitan America. It is a story of class warfare in a nation that denies it even has a class system, in which the game is eternally rigged…show more content…
Sarah Churchwell states in her article “What Makes The Great Gatsby Great?” that Fitzgerald recognised society’s obsession with youth early, “writing in 1934 of Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night: ‘she was enough ridden by the current youth worship, the moving pictures with their myriad faces of girl-children, blandly represented as carrying on the work and wisdom of the world, to feel a jealousy of youth.’” Fitzgerald presents the theme of youth in The Great Gatsby through the characters’ reckless and careless actions devoid of any responsibility and constant battle against the progression of time. People are careless during their youth, and the novel highlights this corruption through its portrayal of the Buchanans, the old money representatives. The consumerist society that was prevalent during the Roaring 20’s has led to an extended youth through their money and toys, free to do anything they fantasized about and never settle down. They became “careless people [who] smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (Fitzgerald, pg#). Society is obsessed with youth to the point where people don’t grow up and remain careless and uninvolved. They are constantly seeking, blindly partying their way through their youth until the novel shows a stark change during the climax of the novel when Nick remembers that it is his 30th birthday. His thirtieth birthday signifies a separation between his youth and adulthood, play and work, freedom and responsibility. After he turns thirty, we see a clear change in Nick. The novel is split into two; the first which glorifies the glamorous parties and lifestyles of the rich in New York, which then transitions to the second in which Nick’s sight is cleared and he
Open Document