Satire in the Great Gatsby

Category: The Great Gatsby
Last Updated: 10 Mar 2020
Pages: 3 Views: 447

Is Fitzgerald writing a love story that shows the American ideals, or is it a satire that comments on the American society in the roaring twenties? The novel The Great Gatsby is a satire type novel that comments on the American society during the roaring twenties.

This is shown through the contrast of The Valley of Ashes and Gatsby’s parties, Gatsby himself, and Myrtle and George Wilson. Through these characters and places, Fitzgerald shows through satire, how the American dream isn’t real anymore and how it is now replaced with immoral activities and actions.

The American dream has been replaced with greed and the pursuit of money rather than happiness. The valley of Ashes represents poverty and hopelessness. This location shows how the American dream has been perverted into something very dark and sinister.

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This is the desire of wealth at any cost and the ideal that money will make you happy. “This is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke…” (Pg. 26). this quote shows the affects of the modern materialistic society of New York.

Everyone wants to be the rich but the poor suffer a lot due to the by-product of the capitalistic society. The by-product in this novel is the ashes. This shows how people throw out regard for other humans for the pursuit to be rich (This is very immoral).

This is believed to be the American dream. On the other hand you have McArthur 2 Extravagant parties at the Gatsby house just to impress a girl. This is a sharp contradiction which fits into Fitzgerald’s attempt to use satire to prove the point that the American Dream is gone. Gatsby himself is the bets example of the pervetd new American dream. Gatsby gets his money through bootlegging.

He does what every he can to get rich and what got him rich was illegal and immoral activities. “You’re one of the bunch that hangs around with Mayor Wolfshiem- that much I happen to know. I’ve mad a little investigation into your affairs and carry it further tomorrow” (Pg. 104).

This quote shows Tom accusing Gatsby of being a bootlegger. Gatsby gets rich just to get Daisy. The satire shown is that no matter how much money Gatsby has he is never happy and all he needs is Daisy but Daisy will not like him unless he is rich. This shows how the only thing Americans care about is money and how the American dream is no longer.

Myrtle and George Wilson are the poorer characters in the book but both want the dream of being really rich. Myrtle tries to achieve this by having an affair with Tom who is rich. She cheats on George and she ends up getting hit by a car driven by Daisy.

This event shows that there is no way of escaping the Valley of Ashes. George is a hardworking man and just wants to get some money and seem rich. He tries to buy Tom’s car just so he can have a really nice car. George symbolizes that in modern America, you will not succeed in getting rich and achieving the false American dream of being rich and happy.

George ends up committing suicide which furthers the ideal that you will not get out the valley of ashes. This is another form of satire trying to urge people to not go with moral decay and rather live a happy non-immoral life.

McArthur 3 The novel The Great Gatsby uses Satire to show that the American dream is dead during the roaring twenties. Fitzgerald does this through the Valley of Ashes, Gatsby’s parties, Gatsby himself, Myrtle and George Wilson. The American dream has been replaced with greed and the pursuit of money rather than happiness.

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Satire in the Great Gatsby. (2016, Aug 31). Retrieved from

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