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Consequences of Social Injustices in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby (2)

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Consequences of Social Injustices in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby

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Published in 1925, Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel, The Great Gatsby, follows the catastrophic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his chase of Daisy, a wealthy and young woman whom he has been in love with since his youth. The novel revolves around social, class, and the American dream. The author points out the difference between new and old money and compares wealthy characters with the less wealthy ones. The story is told from Nick Carraway’s point of view who is the narrator. Fitzgerald had strong feelings about wealthy people seeing that he was brought up in poverty, and these feelings reflect in the text. This essay explores the consequences of social injustices meted upon the characters in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, including Gatsby, Nick and Myrtle Wilson.

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One of the social injustices that are mentioned in the Great Gatsby has to do with the poor treatment of poor people compared to wealthy individuals. Jay Gatsby is one of the individuals that encounter this mistreatment in the book. These actions have dire consequences as they contribute to this death, something that could otherwise be avoided. Wealthy people take advantage of individuals from the lower class. Although Gatsby was wealthy, he was still considered a member of the lower class as his money was not inherited. He was looked down upon as he accumulated wealth through social climbing. This is the same reason why Tom refused to accept Gatsby in his circle. Gatsby’s wealth made him vulnerable to the members of the high social classes that took advantage and benefited from the lavish parties that he threw. When he threw parties, people who were not even invited would show up, but none of them came for his burials when Gatsby died. This is a clear indication that they were taking advantage of Gatsby. Additionally, Gatsby did not have genuine friends since none of them showed up at his wedding. Gatsby’s death is uncertain as it remains unclear about who caused his death. Gatsby is entrapped in his own dream world up until his death. He is in love with Daisy and he makes it his life mission to pursue her. Gatsby is trapped in a non-existent relationship that he once had with Daisy. Daisy is only interested in the material possessions that Gatsby can give her. Every night, he dreams of Daisy and wishes he would get a chance to relive his past with her. Tom has a negative perspective towards Gatsby, too and he also contributes to Gatsby’s demise. Both Tom and Daisy are to blame for Gatsby’s death. When Gatsby shows Daisy his mansion for the first time, she stares in awe as “she admired…the gardens, the sparkling odor of jonquils… and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate (Fitzgerald, 97). Growing up, Daisy enjoyed the wealth of old money that she was brought up in. Daisy had grown selfish to the point that she had materialistic and expensive desires. As such, it is evident that her feelings for Gatsby were not genuine. All along she did not care about Gatsby but his expensive possessions and money. She reveals her true self during Gatsby and Tom’s argument. Daisy is not grateful for Gatsby’s act of chivalry. When Daisy kills Wilson, Gatsby takes the blame to protect her. When they are in Gatsby’s mansion, Daisy breaks down because she has killed Myrtle Wilson and meanwhile she is not grateful about Gatsby taking the blame to protect her.

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Gatsby’s desire to live the perfect American dream pushes him into making up false stories about his upbringing. Scott Fitzgerald writes. “Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,’ I thought; ‘anything at all….’ Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder. The author writes this as Nick and Gatsby are driving for lunch in New York. Gatsby is just from revealing the most false story about his life. He tells Nick that he is the son of a wealthy man from the Midwest. He poses as a young and wealthy man of European descent, but Nick has a hard time believing him. In Nick’s eyes, Gatsby’s capacity to achieve his dreams is limitless, particularly in the liberated and huge city of New York. This quote suggests that New York City and America, in general, are critical for Gatsby’s success. Nick tries to pass it across that becoming successful in New York without a proper connection to wealthy people is not an option in the United States. Because of the differential treatment of people with new money, Gatsby is forced to lie about his background to be accepted. This is an example of injustice because had there not been discrimination between old money and new money, Gatsby would not see the need to lie to Nick.

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Fitzgerald writes, “I married him because I thought he was a gentleman,” she said finally. ‘I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe. These are the words of Myrtle Wilson, and she is referring to her husband. The events occur in Myrtle’s apartment in New York City. Myrtle insinuates that her husband George, tricked her into marrying him by posing as a wealthy man. George pretended to have wealthier than he actually did. Myrtle’s friends, however, believe that Myrtle was in love with George. This scene reveals Tom’s hot temper to the readers when he hits Myrtle. This is the perfect indication of the entanglement between money and love. This specific quote is both sad and satirical, seeing that Wilson and George are poorer than everybody else in the entire novel.

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Fitzgerald also writes, “We drew in deep breaths, as we walked…through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour, before we melted indistinguishably into it again.” The quote comes towards the end of the novel as Nick reminisces about his college days when he and his fellow classmates would catch a train home to Midwest. After the train starts the journey from Chicago and heading west, Nick and his friends remain aware of their true identity as Westerners. To Nick, the experience of being a Westerner is different from that of an Easterner. He says that novel is more about the West, where most primary characters including himself, hail from. He goes as far as blaming them for their lack of capacity to adapt to life in the East. This goes to show that identity played a critical role in the behaviors and the kind of life that Westerners lived. Nick remained aware of himself because they were not as wealthy as other people, and hence they had to stay alert to stay clear of class discrimination, which was rife at the time.

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In closing, there are various occurrences where social injustice is perpetuated in Scotts Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. The majority of the injustices have a lot to do with the wealth classification of the characters. There is a clear divide between the rich and the poor, particularly between old and new money. Gatsby, Nick, and Myrtle Wilson go through notable encounters that indicate unjust treatment. Daisy is only interested in Gatsby because of the wealth that he has. Gatsby is also forced to tell Nick that he comes from a wealthy family in Europe. Myrtle Wilson feels that her husband George tricked her into marrying him. Nick and his friends have to remain aware of themselves when traveling via train from Chicago to the West because they are aware they are different. These are all circumstances that could have been avoided had there been a culture of treating every person justly irrespective of whether they have wealth.

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Works Cited

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Fitzgerald, Francis Scott. The Great Gatsby (1925). na, 1991.

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