“The Great Gatsby”: A Marxist View Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Fitzgerald’s characters represent Marxist ideas, through his representation of the different classes, and his interpretation of how their class defines their life. As mentioned before that this story was written according to the post-World War I, where Fitzgerald, Carraway and Gatsby all fought in. Nevertheless, it doesn’t signify the ongoing capitalist society it represents but unveils the hidden side of culture at the time. It brings out how the chase of property weakens individual excellence, as seen with Gatsby when he failed all the things he had, because of the goal he had to ‘reach the top of the ‘heap’’ (LITTLE 14).

The richest characters, like Tom and Daisy, as well as the people who attend Gatsby’s parties are really the most unpleasant and shallow ones, making an imitation of the ‘American Dream’ which was the height of American ambition in the ‘Roaring 20’s’. Fitzgerald’s stance would appear to be significant of the upper class, as conclusively the rich characters come to unhappy demises, yet, accidentally or not, he reinforces stereotypes of the different classes and portrays poor people in a fairly negative standing.

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The class that The Great Gatsby represents in the most positive light is the narrator himself, Nick Carraway, who comes from a middle-class family and seems to be the only one content with his lot in life. Nick’s experience of society is very similar to Fitzgerald’s, as although Nick comes from a richer family than Fitzgerald, the author was basically raised as if he were rich, so would be used to being around people like Nick, and would know how they view things.

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His social status allows him to see things objectively. There are Tom and Daisy who both come from wealthy families who have been ‘in the money’ for generations. Then there’s Myrtle and her husband George, who both represent the lower working class, and finally Gatsby – who started life as low class, and moved up in the world with his questionably acquired wealth.

Throughout the novel, poor people are represented in a very negative way. While the rich people are the ones who have all the fun, attend parties and have frivolous romances, the less well-off citizens live in a ‘valley of ashes,’ where men move ‘dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air’ (Fitzgerald 23). It would seem that Fitzgerald is indicating that money makes you an interesting and happy citizen, while lack of this inevitably leads to a boring, ‘grey’ life in the valley of ashes. Marxism would dispute this, as Marx wants classes to be overthrown, implying that everyone is capable of living in the same standards as each other, and are therefore all equal.


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