Satire in Ch 5 of Great Gatsby
In the novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald satirizes how newly wealthy Americans acted during the 1920’s through Jay Gatsby. The 1920’s was nicknamed the ‘Roaring Twenties’, and during this time period, many people were much more wealthy and were only interested in big, extravagant things.
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Jay Gatsby is an example of this. He was born poor, gained his wealth, and now he throws big parties at his mansion to impress hundreds of people. In the beginning of Chapter 5, Nick arrives at West Egg to find Gatsby’s mansion lighting up the night sky.
Nick said to Gatsby, “Your place looks like the World’s Fair” (81). The significance of Nick’s statement shows how Gatsby tries to be “old money”, when really he is “new money”. Gatsby tries to show off his wealth by turning on every single light in his mansion, but he lacks the class of those who really are “old money”. This satirizes how wealthy people were during the 1920s; they were obnoxious and did not have the same class as those who were wealthy before that time period. Another example of this is when Fitzgerald tells the reader what Gatsby is wearing for when Daisy comes over Nick’s house.
Fitzgerald wrote, “Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in” (84). Daisy knows Gatsby as a poor man that she used to love, but couldn’t be with because her family didn’t approve. Gatsby still loves Daisy, and he dresses like this because he wants to impress her. Newly wealthy people during the 1920’s always wore expensive clothing. Gatsby dressing like this just satirizes those people, and shows he truly isn’t “old money”, no matter how hard he tries to be. Later in the chapter, Gatsby invited Daisy and Nick over to his house because he wants to show off his mansion to Daisy.
Gatsby said, “ I want you and Daisy to come over to my house” (89). Gatsby brought Daisy to his house, and even though she was impressed with what he has become, even Daisy realized that everything he owned is inelegant, and doesn’t have the same type of possessions that “old money” people have. This satirizes how people during the 1920’s tried to show off their flashy possessions, but they don’t truly have as much worth. Fitzgerald’s use of satire of newly wealthy people during the 1920’s are truly expressed through Gatsby’s actions and belongings.