The Great Gatsby Analysis
One of the predominant themes in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is the shallowness and internal divisions of the wealthy, seen in many of the leading characters. Tom and Daisy Buchanan, for example, represent the aristocracy rooted in generations of wealth. Daisy and Tom both dress well, have an ornate, yet tasteful, mansion, and generally demonstrate grace, class, and decorum. In contrast, Jay Gatsby represents the nouveau riche, or the individuals that only recently came into great wealth. He is incredibly ostentatious in every part of his life, from his vast array of shirts to his lavish, over-the-top parties, to his Rolls Royce. He is markedly different from the wealthy lifestyle that Daisy is accustomed to, and this is likely part of the reason she is drawn to him.
Fitzgerald also does an excellent job presenting the pedestal that many of the wealthy see themselves on, and how that leaves them shallow and, at times, heartless. Individuals who come to Gatsby’s party, likely bordering on or struggling to be part of the nouveau riche, do not even know who their host is; they could not care less about the great Jay Gatsby, as long as his wonderful parties continue.
However, this vapidity is not limited to the newly rich; in fact, Tom Buchanan sees himself as leagues above George Wilson, an impoverished garage owner who lives in the stretch of land between East Egg and Manhattan. Tom is not, however, too high on his perch to have an affair with George’s wife, Myrtle. Tom’s only concern is with himself, though, and he feeds George the necessary information to prompt the widower to seek revenge on Gatsby before taking his own life. Ultimately, the wealthy throughout the novel are so self-absorbed that they do not see the ramifications their actions have upon others, a scathing commentary on the social trends of the 1920s.