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Larger than Life

Technology is shown to be a relevant part of one’s day to day life, as we do not know a life without it.  The time period of which F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby takes place is during the summer of 1922 in Long Island, New York.  Though there is a sense of wealth and prosperity amongst the lives of the characters of Fitzgerald’s work, there is also an underlying portrayal of decay in the social and moral values of the characters of the story, and the crumbling of the American Dream in the process of such reckless living.

There is a clear separation between the lifestyle of the East Eggers and the West Eggers, as the East is portrayed to be a ‘fast paced lifestyle, with decadent parties, crumbling moral values, and the pursuit of wealth.’  It is a lifestyle associated with an upper class way of living, with extravagant lights, music, fancy cars, and all sorts of technological aspects that calls for a larger than life sort of vibe from the society.

The lifestyle of the West and the Midwest however, are of ones that are associated with more ‘traditional moral values.’  This is what leads Gatsby to strive in living an East Eggers’ lifestyle of parties and higher class living, in order to impress Daisy, as this was his American Dream. In chapter 6, Nick gives a description of Gatsby’s past and concludes: “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.”  Gatsby had taken a technological approach on himself, as he transforms himself to meet the lifestyle of his beloved, despite the obstacles that society reveals to the fulfillment of his dreams.  This desire for change was a genuine desire of Gatsby’s for it was only for a the sole purpose of winning his beloved’s attention and consideration; however the lifestyle of the East, being consumed by money and worldly possessions leaves no room for an innocent heart like Gatsby’s to survive in such immoral conditions.

Gatsby however was not meant for this high-tech, upper class lifestyle of the East Eggers, for his heart was meant to be a West Egger.  Nick realizes this in himself in chapter 9, as he states: “That’s my middle-west—not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling, returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow” (184).  The simple appreciation for life and the simplicity of technology in itself isn’t appreciated in the same manner with the East Eggers.

As the fast paced, New York City lifestyle took over them, they seem to lose their sense of humanity, their sense of social and moral values.  Nick arrives at a great understanding of such loss of values as he makes his decision to leave the East Cost and return to Minnesota, as the infeasibility of Nick’s Midwestern values in New York society mirrors the impracticality of Gatsby’s dream to fit another lifestyle in order to be with his beloved Daisy.

The destruction of the American Dream is clearly revealed throughout the plot of The Great Gatsby.  Fitzgerald implies the death of the American Dream, in the death of Gatsby and his genuine desire to make his dream a reality.  His re-invention of himself to fit the technological realm of the East Eggers, shows the power technology holds on one’s lifestyle within the society we live in today, which makes technology larger than life.

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~ by renyvarughese on November 10, 2010.

One Response to “Larger than Life”

  1. ONXFCJ im a serial reader

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