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I'm writing a thesis paper on The Great Gatsby. My topics are based around the Jazz Era...

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user6508809 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 14, 2013 at 10:08 PM via web

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I'm writing a thesis paper on The Great Gatsby. My topics are based around the Jazz Era and the sense of immorality. I'm focusing on each character's weakness-- Tom's racism, Gatsby's inability to see reality, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions of what else i could do?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that your topic is something that Fitzgerald's work speaks to in quite a profound manner.  Certainly, the characters identified fit the thesis.  I might also suggest that discussion of Jordan Baker would help here.  Fitzgerald depicts Jordan as one without morality.  She shows no remorse in cheating at golf in order to gain what she wants and to what she feels entitled.  The way in which she carries herself with Nick is another example of her moral detachment.  The sense of immortality, proceeding without conscience, is an activity where she shows no morality.  This becomes essential in Fitzgerald's condition of the Jazz Age.

At the same time, I think that focusing on Daisy's lack of moral conviction might help your thesis.  Daisy is presented in a manner where she lacks moral fiber.  She possesses a "spiritual lightness," something that Fitzgerald describes as "the “well-forgotten dreams from age to age.”  For Daisy, her lack of moral weight is reflective of a time period that is obsessed with "now" and that which lacks moral or spiritual fiber, the hollowness underneath glittering things.

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