When luxuriant lifestyles of the 1920s, commonly labeled the Roaring ‘20s, come about, morality and individual ethics go instantaneously out of style. Along with these poor morals, crass materialism becomes widespread among the fortunate, transforming noblesse oblige into an unpopular belief, and furthermore leaving those incapable of tremendous success back in the dust. The inevitable alterations in morality repeatedly occur as America continues to progress, and several traits similar to those of the 1920s are visible today. Fitzgerald’s use of The Great Gatsby for social commentary is parallel to today’s social atmosphere.Despite their numerous connections, there is great conflict between the different economic classes in The Great Gatsby, those being old money, new money, and the scarcely discussed, no money. Separated by the lake, West Egg and East Egg never cease to oppose one another. Fitzgerald shows the effect excessive capital has on people, emphasizing that money is power. Since Tom Buchanan comes from old money, his family fortune has simply been passed onto him; he doesn’t have to work to achieve his social status. Conversely, Jay Gatsby is required to put in the hard work and go to the extremes to get where he is. Tom Buchanan can easily be compared to the well-known Paris Hilton. What great successes is she truly known for? Solely being related to the founder of Hilton Hotels, she has never truly had to make a name for herself. When it comes to Gatsby, if one is capable of overlooking his illegal means of doing so, he is forced to work for his fortune. Steve Jobs, in comparison, also worked for his money, having originally begun his billion dollar company in his garage.“Tom Buchanan’s brutal amorality overshad…
…rprise, surprise — is correlated with having less materialistic values,” (Gregoire 1). As these unethical reoccurrences remain in society, the world will continue to be a hopeless place as people search for success and happiness, just as Fitzgerald demonstrated through his social commentary.
Bloom, Harold. F Scott Fiztgerald’s The Great Gatsby. New York: Inforbase, 2010. Book.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Book.
Gabel, Aja. “The Marriage Crisis.” University of Virginia Magazine: 2014. U.Va. Alumni Association. Online Magazine.
Gregoire, Carolyn. “The Psychology Of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy.” Huff Post The Third Metric: 15 December 2013. The Huffington Post. Online Newspaper.
Moyers, Bill. “A New American Dream?” Bill Moyers Journal: 3 August 2007. Public Affairs Television.Online Magazine.