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AbstractAmerican novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald deeply caught the main theme of the times, which novel the Great Gatsby vivid reflection of out feelings of individual modernization process in the United States, to us vividly the 1920s in the transition period of American society a panoramic picture. At that time in pursuit of hustle and bustle, fame, money is the mainstream and dissolute behavior, fraud and other unethical behavior become "tumultuous times" pronoun, the author also because its a vivid record of the flashy world like mask serious empty of people's life of corruption, decadence and spirit, and was known as the spokesman of the "Jazz Age". Through the analysis of the influence of the social environment on Gatsby, this paper obtains the inevitability of Gatsby's tragedy.

Key words: great Gatsby; tragedy; social environment



Scott. Fitzgerald is a twentieth Century American literary novelist, known as the spokesman of the "Jazz Age" and the title of poet laureate. The Great Gatsby no matter from the ideological content and artistic characteristics is worthy of the title is successful masterpiece of F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel was published in 1925 and immediately get a lot of critics affirmation and praise, is recognized as one of the most outstanding works of American Literature in the twentieth Century. The famous poet and critic Eliot Henry called it ". James, American fiction has a big step. ; author in the novel in a concise and deep tone vividly depicts the caused by the American dream of a tragedy, and succeeded in shaping the Gatsby the victim's image.

Gatsby is the most favorite characters for Fitzgerald, because he is in many ways and the extremely similar experience and spiritual temperament, with understanding and pursuit of the out of the ordinary life in the United states. Gatsby's dream of extraordinary talent, his romantic will very strong and he to his ideal of the faithful won the highly appreciated by the author. Works of Gatsby's tragedy has placed the deep sympathy, on the other hand shows that under the social conditions of the time sought in vain and dangers of the American dream, because it is the pursuit and fundamentally leads to the generation of Gatsby's tragedy. Let us from the essence of Gatsby's dream, Gatsby's character in the self destructive and social history and other aspects of the inevitable cause of their tragedy.

2.the ideal incarnation more in name than in reality

However, sadly, Daisy is far better than his dream so beautiful. Gatsby at all costs to pursue ideal incarnation, but is a beautiful, spiritual emptiness of secular. And warm, contrary to the unreasoning passion and romantic Gatsby, Daisy has neither Gatsby as the romantic ideal, but do not have the sacrifice for the ideal and the reality of courage. Although she loves the Gatsby, but more for the sake of luxury life of ease and therefore disingenuously married a millionaire Tom, when see Gatsby's wealth than Tom, but again and be reconciled to him. The climax of the novel is arranged in a hotel, Gatsby asked Daisy and her husband showdown, confession of his love, but Daisy attitude warm be ignorant of. When she learned that Gatsby's wealth is ill, immediately retreat back. More outrageous, Daisy later car killed Tom's mistress, has collaborated with her husband put the blame on Gatsby, with her husband fled into thin air, has not the courage to admit that he is the real perpetrators. Gatsby's tragedy is to fall in love with a cowardly, loss of personality and sincere woman, and such a person as their highest ideal, for her commitment and sacrifice everything. Gatsby's death is innocent, because of Daisy's betrayal. Abandoned by their own ideal incarnation, to empty dreams and pay too much price, this is the tragedy of Gatsby.

3. the tragic factors in Gatsby's personality

The inevitability of Gatsby's tragedy is not separated from the tragic factors in his personal character.

First of all, Gatsby is a matter of the supremacy of the American dream believer and seeker, believe that the capitalist society, the so-called equal opportunity". Gatsby has always refused to admit that he is a descendant of peasants, fantasy, one day they will be like Daisy's upper class society. However, with Tom (Daisy's husband) as the representative of the society is in any case can not tolerate Gatsby. Tom proud selfish and cruel, no morals. In his view, like his noble privilege is as unalterable principles, will not tolerate other forces to share. There is an insurmountable gap between Gatsby and their world, no matter the people dare to talk about equality, and he will be put to death. Therefore, although Gatsby with illegal money builds up a ladder, he can not hold society equal status to share "magic and milk". No matter how he ostentation, how to change the name and car, he is from the little people in the bottom of society, which are always subject to attack and exclusion. So the collapse of Gatsby's American dream is inevitable.

Secondly, Gatsby fantasy for a pure love, a secular beauty as symbol of ideal. Gatsby is in the ideal of love, from the bottom up struggling society, will own all daisy. He naively believe that as long as money can redeem the lost love, you can. The difference between Gatsby and the jazz age is that he is a pure romantic. Although Daisy was back to his side, but he doesn't feel satisfied. He is not with her love affair (although which is commonplace at the time), but she to her husband said she never loved him, then thoroughly obliterated them five years of life, Gatsby and start again. Daisy and the nature of the inevitable burst Gatsby pure love dreams.

Again, the nature of the innocent Gatsby of the United States is the lack of a clear understanding of the nature. Daisy's family background and the social circle to Gatsby real in formed an ideal symbol, a higher than the reality and in conformity with the myth condition of Gatsby's dream. As an unknown poor boy origin Gatsby, which is naturally expected to be not and. He put his energies to weave his dream and to strive for, that he could not see Tom and Daisy and his ilk represent the capitalist society's hypocrisy and cunning, not to hide the in beautiful, luxurious after dirty and evil. Gatsby alive we held a grand banquet, crowds of people "as a moth like in back and forth in the middle of the laughter the champagne and the stars often" however Gatsby's death, funeral on the desolate, former guest did not make an appearance, Daisy to accompany her husband far away, even telephone greeting beat a. This is the so-called society as it is only a pity that Gatsby died not disabuse.

4.Social Causes

Apart from personal causes, the misleading American social values and the intrinsic unfairness in the society also contributes greatly to Gatsby's tragedy. More than that, Gatsby is too innocent to understand those differences between the American East and the American West. Even though he gets rich, there lies an essential difference between his wealth and the old money.

4.1 Misleading American Social Values

People's behavior is deeply influenced by the culture they live in. The social and economical conditions help shape people's consciousness and beliefs. It is also true in Gatsby's case. His actions are greatly influenced by the society in which he gets his education and his moral values.

Money tallcs in such a capital society. People who are wealthy possess everything and control everything. The rich become richer and the poor become poorer. This bourgeois ideology works effectively to sustain the system upon which it is founded. The ruling class irons their values and norms into the working class.

This ideology justifies whatever they do to others. The oppressed have no alternatives except to accept them. The United States is advocated as a promising land with opportunities and miracles, so a swarm of immigrants go there with their American Dreams.

Any cultural practice that is not coherent with such social values will hinder people's success and endanger their harmony with the rest of the community.Material wealth becomes the most widely accepted form of self-improvement in America. It is a highly valued measure of social status.

America is believed to be a country which worships money. Americans firmly believe in the maxim that money makes mare go. They think money will give them whatever they want. Gatsby, who has a strong desire of being wealthy, is of no exception. Misled by such ideology in a capital society, Gatsby is doomed to fail and to be ruined. The way through which Gatsby gets his fortune is illegal. His blind belief in the power of money turns out to be ineffective. His death is the result of uncompromising social conflicts. In the whole process of his pursuit of his dream, what he is familiar with becomes unfamiliar to him; what he redeems true proves to be untrue; what he thinks he can manage is out of control. All he pursues is contrary to what he tries to get. American belief assumes that people could have the right to pursue his fortune, his love, and his happiness. Gatsby does it accordingly, but the result is beyond his expectation. On a lager scaleit is the corrupting influence of American society that preys on its dreamers. Compared to his grip of powerful illusions Gatsby is apparently too powerless to realize his dream and even to survive in such social surroundings.

4.2 Difference between the East and the West

The geographic symbols are applied skillfully in this novel. An obvious and profound one should be the separation between the East Egg and the West Egg, where most events take place. Although "identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay," the two Eggs bear "dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size" (5). The established rich live on the East Egg who are better bred and far more refined while those self-made men who are materialistically rich without social background live on the West Egg. Gatsby, the protagonist, lives on the West Egg. Daisy lives on the East Egg with her husband Tom. The social barrier keeps people of the two worlds apart from one another as embodied by the "courtesy bay" between the two Eggs.

The East-West conflict is primarily about different social values. Gatsby is usually regarded as an integrated embodiment of traditional American values and the material-orientated and pleasure-seeking conception which is popular in the East. In the East, people are accustomed to an aimless and careless way of life. What they are concerned about is material wealth and entertainment. After settling down there, Gatsby is quickly assimilated by the values in the East and the Middle West seems like the raged edge of the universe for him. The difference between the American East and the American West is exactly the discrepancy between materialistic concerns and spiritual promises of life. "Instead of bringing a kind of Jeffersonian idealism East, he (Gatsby] brings with him the last vestiges of frontier rowdyism. Instead of challenging the open land in the name of self, Gatsby challenges the city in the name of self' (I,ehan 47). It is this difference that gives Gatsby a fatal blow.

When Gatsby is about to win his love of Daisy, he is confronted by Tom Buchanan in the Plaza Hotel. The conflict between Gatsby and Buchanan is seemingly a romantic one. But to a larger extent, it is the social conflict between the West and the East. Gatsby loses this game in the end. Tom is the representative of the East Eggers in the novel. Born in a socially solid wealthy family, he despises the newly rich people like Gatsby Tom embodies everything that Gatsby does not. Tom and his wealth are from a world of power. He is a selfish hypocritical bully. He takes it for granted that others should follow the moral values which he himself can ignore as he likes. Compared with Tom, Gatsby is powerless. No matter what vicious deficiencies Tom has, he understands and uses power well.

Daisy's charm lies in the lifetime wealth she enjoys and it carrot be simply duplicated by Gatsby's new wealth. What's worse, it reinforces her habit of retreating with Tom whenever she should take her own responsibilities. Daisy and Tom belong to a distinguished corrupted society which gives their life a mysterious and charming air for outsiders like Gatsby.

Although both havuig Midwestern origins and romantic affairs iti the East, Nick comes to understand the difference between the West and the East which Gatsby Gatsby never does. So they do not have the same fate. What distinguishes reasonably Nick from is the fact that Nick is capable of judging Gatsby despite his deeply-rooted self-identification with him. He obviously has two advantages over Gatsby. The first is the traditional moral values he has learned from his father. He has the "habit of reserving all judgments" which allows him to value his neighbor's romantic idealism, and he has the "sense of the fimdamcntal decencies of life" which makes it possible for him to see the shabby limitations of Gatsby's dreams. The second is his ever-present awareness of man's mortality (Piper 97).

For Nick, the fact of death stands relentlessly between man's dreams and the chances to realize them. "The death of his neighbor rouses the hitherto passive onlooker to one of the few positive actions of his career" (Piper 99). So, after having soberly realized how much brutality and carelessness exist under that rotten crowd, Nick returns to the "thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and the sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that..." (Fitzgerald 212). The East becomes a nightmare from EI Greco's eyes for him.

So The Great Gatsby,,to some extent, is a tragic pastoral of the West and the East. The former symbolizes the simple virtues of "bored, sprawling swollen towns beyond the Ohio" (212) and the latter represents the complex American value of the city life.

Gatsby is great since he has his dream and stick to it all the way through till he dies. But he is wrong from the very beginning. He sets materialized and emotionless Daisy as his ideal object and idealizes her. But Daisy fails to constitute her role as Gatsby expects. In order to get back his love, Gatsby is involved in underground activities but he does not know it is immoral. Daisy is so shocked when the source of his wealth is revealed to her. He does not know there is difference between the East and the West and feel free about the American social values that are profitable to the old rich like Tom Buchanan. It is his destiny to sacrifice for the society at that time. Personal causes and social causes together bring about Gatsby's tragedy .


In summary, Gatsby lives in a class society. He is a poor farmer's son, suffering from poverty and rich bullying, want to squeeze into the upper class. So, to a certain extent, this society has made his dream. But it is the society that is not accepting of him, causing his dream shattered. Challenge the rich, Gatsby is doomed to failure. No matter how rich he is, he can only be regarded as an outbreak of the family. The social status of the rich such as Tom, they to upstarts have a kind of jealousy, envy, fear of psychological, they always leave no stone unturned to stop others get their interests, even at the expense of the murder to achieve their goals. These are the external causes of the tragedy of Gatsby. And the intrinsic reason is that Gatsby's dream is too idealistic and divorced from reality, it is impossible to achieve. In short, in such a decadent era, there is an unrealistic ideal of Gatsby, whose tragic fate is inevitable.


[1] Anderson Richard.Gatsby’s Long Shadow:Influence and Indur-ance. New Essays on The Great Gatsby . 1986

[2] Fitzgerald F.S.The Great Gatsby. Journal of Women s Health . 1992

[3] Piper,Henry Dan.F.Scott Fitzgerald:a Critical Portrait. . 1965

[4] Mark Schorer.Sinclair Lewis:An American Life. . 1961 

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