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Leaving Cert English Poetry FAQ

The Great Gatsby: Idealism and Corruption #625Lab

"It is possible to be attracted to the idealism and repelled by the corruption evident in the Great Gatsby."

To what extent do you agree or disagree? (2015)

This was very interesting for me to read as I've read essays from this author in the past. The previous examples she sent me were great, whereas this time I've found a lot I could pick at. Moral of the story: I've gotten meaner even if you're great at certain types of essays, it doesn't always mean you're great at all of them. Keep practicing bits from every part of the two papers to avoid a nasty surprise.

F. Scott Fitzgerald presents conflicted view of the characters and their actions. Nothing is quite black and white in the novel. The lives and views of the characters are complex, regardless of their social standing. Fitzgerald seriously questions the integrity of the ‘American Dream’, how true these idealistic romantic relationships (there was only one idealistic romantic relationship) are and shows us the role of social statuses in which moral values are decaying (moral values are decaying society, not in social statuses. Err on the side of shorter sentences as it can be hard to get three concepts to agree to be in one). Therefore, I fully agree that the narrative in "The Great Gatsby" provokes strong feelings, both admiration and repulsion, as Fitzgerald explores the characters’ high idealism and ruthless corruption.

The Great Gatsby: Idealism and Corruption

We, as readers, are attracted to the busy and lush lives the characters are living. However, taking a closer look, there is a decaying moral integrity to the characters’ lives and to the world that they are living in. Nick, our narrator, throughout the novel is "within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life." (Excellent choice of quotation. It feels almost as thought the SEC set the question with this quote it mind.) Gatsby, a man who has ultimately recreated himself (recreated would make sense if he was rich, then bankrupt, then rich. He is self-made, not recreated), is admired for his wealth and considered successful, despite the corrupt means through which he attainted it. As a reader, I am personally repelled by the corruption in the society in which the characters are living in (this was already stated at the start of the paragraph. This kind of repetition takes away from your work.) Gatsby is going to all of these efforts to attain the woman of his dreams, and to live in a typically rich lavish lifestyle. Gatsby is ultimately trying to create an image to people that he is this wonderful character. He is obsessed with his role in the corrupt society of 1920’s America. The truth was that ‘Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, [who] sprang from the platonic conception of himself’ thought of himself as a ‘Son of God’ which shows us that Gatsby had huge ambitions to be wealthy and be part of the ‘Old Money’ society. Gatsby seeing himself as a ‘son of God’ makes us believe that he thinks he truly can social climb the social ladder and become somebody important. By Gatsby following by example of Dan Cody’s corrupt path into the rich and glamorous world, Gatsby is introduced into the ‘vulgar’ and ‘meretricious beauty’ of the corrupt 1920’s New Yorkers. This shows the corrupt social climbing and corrupt social status of the Roaring Twenties. (The author tends to "over-summarise". No need.) Once Gatsby enters the wealthy lifestyle, there is no return, literally. Gatsby is living in an idealistic world as he tries to pursue love and perfection. Fitzgerald portrays the harsh reality of the American Dream through our main character Jay Gatsby. (After reading this paragraph, I am not really sure what it was about. About Gatsby, the character? About corruption? About Gatsby being corrupt? There were no strong facts and quotations about these specific issues. It's too high level.)

The Great Gatsby Leaving Cert

Fitzgerald presents his readers with many idealistic romantic relationships, which all unfortunately underneath clearly show the corruption of moral values and social statuses (I am trying hard to understand what the author means by corruption of social statuses. That the rich are corrupt? But it's not just the rich who are corrupt in Gatsby. Remember that clarity is the main thing in Leaving Cert English. The marking scheme doesn't let examiners reward your coherent delivery or efficient language to the full if clarity isn't there). Tom and Daisy’s relationship is the perfect example for corrupt relationship found in the Roaring Twenties. Daisy and Tom marry each other for all the wrong reasons. They marry each due to the attractiveness of idealistic values (not money and convenience?) Without Tom, Daisy, a woman, was nothing. Tom often speaks down or over her and Fitzgerald hints at the possibility of emotional, verbal and physical abuse with ‘Bruised knuckles’ not to mention his active affair with Myrtle. Beneath this seemingly ‘have it all marriage’ and elite lifestyle, there is domestic issues that no amount of money or alcohol could ever solve (alcohol isn't known for it's problem-solving qualities. It's better to err on the side of clarity rather than sounding good.) Daisy and Tom’s marriage was purely for the idealistic image of a ‘happy, wealthy family’ however, how ‘happy’ must a family be to be able to undermine their daughter just because of her sexuality, comparing the infant to ‘a fool’ saying that ‘that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’ It shows just how corrupt society really was if Daisy even views herself as the ‘second sex’ in the American society. Tom and Daisy are ‘careless characters [who] smashed up things and creatures and then retreat[ed] back into their money and vast carelessness.’ Daisy and Tom are both living in a world where neither character truly loves another but are attracted by the idealistic values in one another (I think the author is trying to say idealised visions of each other. Tom and Daisy don't suffer from idealism, at all). Daisy and Tom’s relationship really shows the reader the corruption of their marriage and we as a result are repelled by the corruption in the society in which they are living in.

Furthermore, Myrtle's desire of the idealistic luxurious life of Daisy and Tom, is what ultimately lures her into having an affair with Tom. Tom is quite the opposite of Myrtle’s husband George Wilson. Myrtle even admits that she ‘knew right away [she] had made a mistake’, when she realises ‘he borrowed someone else’s suit best suit to get married in.’ This shows even though she knew she made a mistake, she didn’t try and fix it, she just went around it in corrupt ways by having an active affair with Tom Buchanan. It shows how the American Dream has led her into a society that is corrupt and only thinks about appearance and money.

The Great Gatsby Sample Answer

Daisy also actively cheats on Tom with Gatsby and their affair is another clear example of the attractiveness of idealism yet the corruption of society. Gatsby holds huge intentions that he can slide into a higher society, get the woman of his dreams, fall in love again get her to fall in love with him again and marry her. However, Gatsby’s corrupt way of thinking never makes anything work out well. It seems Gatsby has created this ideal world for himself and perhaps now he feels he needs a women with a ‘voice full of money’ to finish off his unattainable dream. Gatsby immorally acts upon the situation, thinking he can just come back and repeat the past. This is both corrupt and immoral. (Excellent point, well made.) Gatsby doesn’t see this however and thinks it’s ridiculous when Nick tries to place him back into reality, ‘Can’t repeat the past?... Why of course you can.’ Gatsby doesn’t think, or quite frankly care about the inevitable consequences of what repeating the past will bring. Gatsby is not the only one attracted by idealism, Daisy’s idealism with Gatsby is based on his newfound social status, wealth and possessions. (needs to be rephrased, e.g. Gatsby isn't the only one pursuing idealised visions. Daisy is attracted to the idea of Gatsby's wealth and possessions.) This is shown in chapter five when Daisy weeps at the ‘such, such beautiful shirts.’ Neither character truly loves another, nor do they see the reality in each other. Instead they are engrossed and attracted by the idealism and idealised fantasy of one another. This shows how the corrupt relationships and social decay of moral values can get caught up follow from the idealistic attractiveness of a significant other due to the corrupt and unattainable American Dream.

The American Dream is an ideal which preserves the sense of wonder and limitless possibility at the heart of what America means. Jay Gatsby is a man whose life is comparable to the American Dream. His house has ‘a tower on one side, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.’ Gatsby’s house, a ‘colossal affair,’ shows how he places idealistic values on his material wealth which is corrupt. His materialistic belongings paint a picture of idealistic beauty, however, in reality they bring a life of stress, unhappiness and danger which shows us the repulsive corruption in the time of the 1920’s. It is very evident that the symbol of the Green Light represents is a symbol of Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates the Green Light with Daisy, how it ‘must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.’ (Excellent quote.) The desire for something more in an ideal world never worked out well for our overall corrupt characters. Money from the American Dream cannot buy one's happiness which is what few characters in the novel failed to realise.

The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American Dream as it exists in a corrupt period of history. Fitzgerald conveys idealism and corruption through aspects such as relationships, power, and social status. The characters in the novel are blinded by luxurious possessions and social statuses. Gatsby’s desire to win over Daisy’s love is a symbol of his very own version of the American Dream. Even Nick and Jordan’s moral values weren’t there which shows a corrupt relationship. Nick even admits that he ‘wasn’t actually in love’ and that he only ‘felt a sort of tender curiosity’ towards Jordan. By the end of the novel there is no true hope left for the American Dream. The shallow corrupt people living in the fake idealistic world show the destruction of a corrupt society in 1920’s America.

See the marking scheme for indicative material.

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