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Fitzgerald’s Satirical Portrait of Modern Society

The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, depicts life in the 1920s. The Roaring Twenties, a nickname given to the decade laden with flippancy, is a time where the rich people in society have little to do, and a lot of money to spend in many ways. Jay Gatsby, one of the newly rich people, chooses to spend his money throwing wild parties every weekend in the summer. Fitzgerald paints a picture of modern society by writing about the lavish parties thrown by Gatsby and the behavior of the guests who attend them.

When Nick Carraway describes the scene at Gatsbys mansion while preparing for a party, At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down…. On the buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors d oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs… In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail…. By seven oclock the orchestra has arrived (44), he tells of the luxuries provided by Gatsby in order to impress his guests. Fitzgerald is mocking the way people in society try, at great extents, to impress each other.

Gatsbys careless spending of his money parallels the decadent spending of people in modern society. One of the twins tells Nick about how Gatsby bought her an expensive gown, When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me for my name and address- inside a week I got a package from Croiriers with a new evening gown in it, (47). This shows that Gatsby spends his money in an exorbitant manner, much like the way modern society spends money. The people at Gatsbys parties often stay for days and are uninvited. Most of the guests ont know Gatsby, let alone care about him.

The loss of manners and self-centeredness of modern society are exemplified by the way the guests treat Gatsby, and how they gossip about their host. They impose upon his hospitality and outstay their welcome, A man named Klipspringer was there so often and so long that he became known as the boarder- I doubt if he had any other home, (67). When Gatsby is not around, the guests often fabricate stories about his life. Hes a bootlegger. One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to on Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil, (65).

Rumors of his personal life circulate his parties and grow as his guests embellish on them. Modern societys disregard for other people is shown in this way. Modern society lacks morality. I like to come, I never care what I do, so I always have a good time, (47). Drinking, gambling and fighting occurs at Gatsbys parties at all hours of the night. Almost all of the guests are intoxicated. The man Nick encounters in the library casually mentions, Ive been drunk for about a week now, (50). Almost as if he doesnt care what he is doing to himself, the man seemed to be amused with his situation.

Clearly demonstrating the loss of morality in modern society, Gatsbys parties are filled with fun, games and sin. The parties thrown by Gatsby lasted almost two days each weekend, and most of the guests were the same each time (45). The laziness of the society is shown in this way. The rich people have nothing productive to accomplish, so they can go every weekend for two days at a time to get drunk and dance. They dont have enough work time, but they have too much laytime. The people who frequently attend Gatsbys parties show that the society is lazy and nonproductive.

Modern society is described through the lavish parties thrown by Gatsby and the actions of the guests who attend them. Jay Gatsby spends excessive amounts of money every weekend on parties to entertain people he hardly knows (45). The time and money spent by Gatsby in order to impress other people shows how modern society will go to any length to show off to their peers. Strangers who attend Gatsbys parties and stay for long amounts of time, taking dvantage of Gatsbys hospitality are examples of how people in modern society lack consideration for others.

How the guests gossip Gatsbys private life exemplifies people in societys disregard for anyone but themselves. Peoples drunkenness, singing and dancing all night long, fighting and carelessness describe the loss of morals in modern society. The way people can neglect their obligations at home each week for two days to party demonstrates the slatternly behavior of modern society. Fitzgerald uses Gatsbys parties to mock modern society and how the people behave destructively.

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