Throughout The Great Gatsby there are many disturbing instances, events, and people. These disturbing things put a lot into perspective such as an individual person s character and the character of society at the time. The society of the 1920 s as described in the novel was a time of big spending and materialism. The characters in the novel all seemed to have dominantly bad traits except for Nick. F. Scott Fitzgerald had a reason for putting these things into the novel. The purpose of the disturbing instances in the Great Gatsby is to give the reader a realistic view of the culture of the 1920 s , and to allow the reader to decide how they feel about characters that seem to have no positive traits.
There were many instances in The Great Gatsby that helped defined the attitude and character of the 1920 s, a time of excess and desire for extravagance. A very good representation of this are the parties that Gatsby held. They were very lavish parties that attracted many people, some who didn t know Gatsby and some Gatsby didn t even know. The people there were the ones who were materialistic, into big spending, excess, and extravagance. This was very disturbing because people used these parties to boost their social standing and acceptance. As Nick said, Sometimes they came and went without ever having met Gatsby at all, they came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission (45)
Complete strangers would just show up uninvited to his parties, something that would most likely not happen in this day and age, but that was the attitude during the 1920 s. Another disturbing instance was Gatsby s funeral. Out of all the people that showed up at his party and claimed they knew him only a small group of people showed up, Gatsby s servants, his father, and Nick. This instance showed how the attitude of the 1920 s was very individualistic and self-absorbed. This instance in particular was disturbing by the fact that one invited guest called about his missing sneakers and did not mention anything about Gatsby s funeral, which just furthermore reinforces the attitude of the 1920 s.
The characters of The Great Gatsby were disturbing in the fact that they were described throughout the novel as people with many faults ranging from drinking, brutality, materialism, and racism. Fitzgerald introduced these characters in this disturbing manner to allow the reader to decide how they would feel about characters with an enormous lack of ethics.
One character who was especially disturbing but persuaded the reader to think about them was Gatsby. By a brief summary of the novel you feel sorry for him because he was a rag to riches story, was very successful, held many parties, loved Daisy, was killed, and then no one attended his funeral. But in perspective he actually had a lot of faults. Gatsby s love for Daisy is mistaken. It is not just love but a disturbing obsession. One instance was when Gatsby had just been dropped off in the driveway and Nick told him to come to bed, Gatsby replied: I want to wait here until she goes to bed. (153)
He wanted Daisy all for himself. He went to great lengths to earn her love. For instance, he held the parties in hope that she would come to one. Gatsby was so obsessed over Daisy that he took the blame of a murder for her. Gatsby s rag to riches story is also disturbing because though the novel never particularly describes where he made his money, he did make it by unethical ways perhaps by bootlegging which gives more reason to change someone s opinion about him. I believe that Fitzgerald developed Gatsby in this way to allow the reader to decide for themselves rather or not they were to fell sorry for Gatsby or to reject him.
As the novel developed, the reader got a more detailed sense of the 1920 s culture and way of life. Fitzgerald presented it in way of materialism and excess, but through the eyes of the upper social and economical class. This leads to questioning of the true nature of the 1920 s but as far as this novel goes, the image of the 1920 s is disturbing. The characters, as relation to the point of view, were all high social and economical class. Their wealth and stature may have manipulated their judgment and ethics but as far as the novel goes, they were all presented in a disturbing way, except for Nick, in order to allow the reader to decide for themselves how they would feel about them. There were many disturbing instances in the novel and there are many disturbing instances in real life also. These instances in life can be examined and reflected in many ways, but the purpose of the disturbing moments in The Great Gatsby is to give the reader a realistic view of society and culture in the 1920 s, and to allow the reader how they would feel about characters that seem to have no positive traits. I believe this is the way Fitzgerald intended to describe the disturbing instances in his life through the novel.