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Corruption In The Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper

The dream of wealth has been a mutual theme for many Americans all through history. The prospect to become high society by money has blinded many Americans to the underlying consequence that is corruption. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In this case, too much of that thing is money. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a literary classic idealizing the American dream, and ultimately the corruption of people as well as society as a whole. Fitzgerald uses his theme of corruption through the characters Myrtle Wilson, Jay Gatsby, and Tom Buchanan.

Myrtle Wilson represents the opposite of everything Tom Buchanan stands for. She wants to be high class but it is unveiled throughout the novel that she will never grasp that status. Myrtle is Tom s mistress. She has an expanding need for notoriety and her desire to become significant. She believes that by being with Tom she may rise beyond her present home in the Valley of Ashes and live a blissful life in the east egg. Myrtle is indirectly corrupted by her compulsion for money, which ironically follows her until her tragic death.

Tom Buchanan was born corrupt. His life had constantly been filled with money and a very reputable social class. He feels as though he is superior than everyone not only because he is wealthy, but also in view of his beautiful wife named Daisy. Tom, controlled by his own money, constructs a wall of high society with Daisy. When Tom, Daisy, and their money are together there is no stopping them. Throughout the novel Tom is subtly depicted as an ignorant man. He is a white supremacist. He has no sympathy for people of a lower class. Tom s conceded nature does not entitle him to do so. Tom does not get corrupted in the novel; rather Tom has been corrupted since the day he was born.

Jay Gatsby s character is layered with complex values and an uncertain morality. Gatsby s consistent desire for Daisy is the root of his degradation. Gatsby s dream of marrying Daisy is so powerful that Gatsby s entire life revolves around her. Although the novel does not directly state how Gatsby became rich, it is frequently said that he became rich through gambling and selling booze. He knows that Daisy would never descend to a man from a lower class so he forms his dream into a life long ambition to attain Daisy s love. He hosts countless parties in the hope that Daisy would attend his party so he may be with her. The green light at the end of the dock symbolizes Gatsby s desire for Daisy. On another level the green light symbolizes the American Dream. Gatsby slowly corrupts his entire life by conforming to his fantasy of Daisy. His corruption ends up taking his life in the ending of the novel.

Fitzgerald uses these three main characters to fabricate his theme of corruption. In the end, Myrtle and Gatsby both lose their lives to corruption, and Tom remains a callous character to the cause. Corruption is made from a false lifestyle constructed by money, lies and ultimately the consequences that follow.


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