In Class EssayTo what extent is The Great Gatsby a moral novel. Discuss.The society our nation lives in today has developed morals and principles through the lessons experienced from the past.
The Roaring Twenties was a time of change and a chance to pave a path for the person you wanted to become. Morals and principles served as guidelines rather than rules and were merely preached that practiced. Thus, the severity of the immoral actions taking place created opportunities for lessons to be learned. In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrated various moral lessons through the downfall and corruption of various characters based on their immoral actions. The narrator, Nick Carraway is a young man who throughout the novel observes his friends and their attempts to achieve their deepest desires, and in turn learns from their mistakes. The novel provides us with an opportunity to discover right from wrong and although it illustrates corruption, morality shines through.
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The novel The Great Gatsby is predominantly a moral novel because from it, it can be learned to not let emotions cloud our judgment, to form your own path and not follow others and most importantly that the indulgence of money is corrupting and cannot buy happiness. Firstly, the novel teaches us not to let our emotions cloud our judgment. For example, following Myrtle’s death Wilson lets his current feelings of pain and anger push him to commit murder and then his suicide. “…so Wilson was reduced to a man deranged by grief.”(155) The aftermath of his wife’s death was too much for Wilson to handle and his anguish clouded his once peaceful nature. Thus, Wilson’s impaired judgment and its consequences demonstrate a moral lesson to be learned.
Moreover, Gatsby’s strong love for Daisy causes him to dedicate his whole life to trying to create a lifestyle suitable for her. He fails to acknowledge her selfish and uncaring nature, but rather is blinded by his past love for her. “He spoke as if Daisy’s reaction was the only thing that mattered.”(136) Although Daisy had just committed a murder, all Gatsby was worried about was her well-being and he overlooked his moral judgment by not worrying about the consequences of her actions.
This shows that one should never let love for another blind them from reality. Finally, after killing Myrtle, while feeling worried and guilty Daisy allows herself to let Gatsby blame the entire incident upon himself. She is aware of the consequences of committing a murder and yet she flees the area leaving those around her to clean up her mess.
Although she may have escaped the outcome of her actions, Daisy would not be able to escape her guilty conscience. The Great Gatsby illustrates the consequences of allowing your judgment to be affected by emotions and so is definitely a moral novel. Not only does the novel teach us to keep our judgment clear of distractions, it also demonstrates that one should follow their own path and not others. Firstly, because Myrtle is bored with her own life she chooses to improve her situation by dating Tom attempting to fit into his wealthy lifestyle. “With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change.”(33) Myrtle flaunts the dress as if it were something of her everyday life pretending to fit into the temporary life of material wealth. However her efforts to step onto Tom’s path of riches and social class prove hopeless as Tom treats her as merely an object of his desire.
Furthermore, in order to win back the love of his life, Gatsby dedicates most of his life to developing a lifestyle fit for Daisy. “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy.”(106) He bases his future goals entirely upon her trying to follow the path that she was used to instead of creating a life for himself. Finally, Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel proves to be the only character to follow his own path and refrain from being influenced by others. Throughout the novel, Nick is exposed to the immoral actions of those around him and instead of conforming to their behaviour, he learns from their mistakes. “After Gatsby’s death the east was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction.”(167) Nick realized that the East and its people were deceiving and that by experiencing.