Books and Movies Reviews

the great gatsby

Texts are a product of the cultural context in which they are produced, therefore they often present a critique of that society’s moral and social values. Texts of a certain era will frequently reflect the moral and social values of the time. The Great Gatsby was penned in America in the Jazz Age, a period of great hedonism that reflects people’s determination to forget the suffering and losses of the First World War.
In America the Jazz Age was a period of great economic expansion (there was a population shift to the cities, the emergence of modern industry, high wages and lavish spending) which gave people unprecedented wealth; materialism was rife, and people struggled to capture the promise of the American Dream – that individuals can achieve whatever they set their minds to, with effort and determination. However, this mood of superficial optimism masked a pervasive sense of disillusionment and moral confusion. Consumerism was proving an inadequate substitute for the old moral certainties. Daisy’s lamenting cry, ;What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon…and the day after that, and the next thirty years?" expresses the restlessness and spiritual penury of the generation.
The story of The Great Gatsby is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, who promises, in the opening of the novel, that he will be an honest, reliable, objective narrator. Nick views himself as a person of integrity and moral fiber (he "wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever") who is capable of reserving judgment. In spite of this, we see that Nick is certainly quite judgmental by character (he refused to shake Tom’s hand [page 169], because he suspected him of misinforming Wilson that Gatsby was Myrtle’s killer). Nick’s assurance that he is honest and reliable as a narrator is undermined later in the story as we discover that, for one, Nick’s infatuation with Daisy makes him less cynical of he…

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