‘The Great Gatsby’ Social Class Divisions and their Influence on Character

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‘The Great Gatsby’ Social Class Divisions and their Influence on Character

This essay will examine the theme of social class divisions in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” It will discuss how class differences affect the characters’ relationships, aspirations, and the unfolding of the narrative. The piece will analyze how Fitzgerald critiques the American Dream and societal values of the 1920s. At PapersOwl too, you can discover numerous free essay illustrations related to Social Issues.

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Chris Arnade said, “The wealthy ‘make mistakes,’ and the poor go to jail.” There are a lot of hidden themes in the book, but the most defining is social class, “a division between a society is based on a social and economic status”. Social classes un-level the playing field for other people. In The Great Gatsby, the theme of social class is shown through defining parts that have a big impact on everyone’s life, giving some advantages and others disadvantages, and affecting how the story plays out.

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Tom and Daisy’s Recklessness: The Emblem of Upper Class

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and . . . then retreated back into their money . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made”. I feel as if Tom and Daisy acted like careless people with their reckless behaviors. They smashed Gatsby’s car, Gatsby’s life, Myrtle Wilson, and Nick’s innocence when it came to the world around him. Tom and Daisy had no regard for other people’s belongings. If they ruined something, they would probably just pay someone to come and fix it. Tom and Daisy did not care if they ruined somebody’s life either. They just felt that their life was the only one that mattered. The class made people with a higher standing judgemental and superficial. “I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.” Nick and his father believed that some people are better than others despite their wealth. Everybody is born equal, no matter the social class they are born into. People cannot choose what class they are born into, but they can choose what they do with their lives when they are older.

Nick’s Perspective: A Balanced View of Wealth

When Nick’s father tells him that he has had more advantages than most, it is as though he realizes that there is class inequality. Nick had a very wealthy upbringing; therefore, he is comfortable with his wealth, unlike Gatsby. Although Gatsby was a part of the upper class, he was low on the social totem pole. He did not like to mingle. Rather his parties were just for the guests, not for himself. Gatsby seemed very uncomfortable with his “new money.” “In my younger… years my father gave me some advice . . .” “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”. I feel like we should all take Nick’s father’s advice and not criticize people because you’ve probably had it better than they have. Nick did come from a bit of wealth, but he does not have as nearly as much as Tom or Gatsby. Nick shows what it means to be a gentleman and have wealth. He balances the different aspects of his life very well compared to the others in the higher class. He shows what it means to be a principled, respectful man.

The Unfolding of Tragedy: Implications of Social Class

I believe that social class affected how the story played out. For example, in the book, Daisy hits Myrtle with Gatsby’s car and continues to drive off. Daisy was a part of the upper class. Thus, she never realized how much Myrtle’s death would affect people in the lower class. Daisy was not brought to justice for Myrtle’s death. Daisy feels no remorse for Myrtle, especially after Gatsby offers to take the blame for her, and she allows him to. Also, in Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship, Gatsby wants to want to recreate the past with Daisy, and she just wants to continue living the life she is accustomed to now.

The Persistent Impact of Social Class

Social class is a defining part of the characters in the novel. I feel that class separation has a big impact on everyone’s life, gives some people advantages and others disadvantages, and affects how the story plays out. I feel like, nowadays, social class still has a big impact on everyone’s lives. Things that are affected by social class are the overall health of individuals, education, crime and criminal justice, politics, religion, and social exclusion. In the 1920s, social class was an important thing, and it separated a lot of people, which still happens today. It should not matter what class a person is in. People should not be judged based on their social class. They should be judged by their character and who they are as a person.

Works Cited

  1. Fitzgerald, F. S. (1925). “The Great Gatsby”. Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  2. Tilly, Charles. “Durable Inequality”. University of California Press, 1998.
  3. Grusky, David B., and Szonja Szelenyi. “The Inequality Reader: Contemporary and Foundational Readings in Race, Class, and Gender”. Westview Press, 2011.
  4. Piketty, Thomas. “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. Harvard University Press, 2014.
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'The Great Gatsby' Social Class Divisions and Their Influence on Character. (2023, Jun 15). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-great-gatsby-social-class-divisions-and-their-influence-on-character/