The Great Gatsby, immorality and today's societyI need to compare The Great Gatsby's theme of immorality to today's society. Basically, immorality is my chosen contemporary issue. However, I'm...

The Great Gatsby, immorality and today's society

I need to compare The Great Gatsby's theme of immorality to today's society. Basically, immorality is my chosen contemporary issue. However, I'm having trouble thinking of examples I can link from the immorality in The Great Gatsby to today's society. What are a few examples I could compare them to?

Asked on by ambeers

5 Answers

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

American politician John Edwards may be a good example from the news in recent years. He was the clean-shaved, family-man candidate running for the Democratic party's nomination to run for president then one day news arose that he was not such a perfect family-man but was cheating on his wife with a campaign aide while his wife battled against cancer.

This connects with Gatsby as a character and Gatsby as a novel in the story's emphasis on an immorality tied to a specifically and carefully crafted image.



ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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As pohnpei mentioned, the parties Gatsby throws are outlandishly lavish. An interesting comparison might be to compare the Gatsby's lavish parties with those that politicians throw to celebrate their inaugurations. Imagine throwing million dollar parties when unemployment is at an all-time high. Imagine the outlandish and exorbitant cost of these celebrations when the poverty level is constantly growing. This would be interesting.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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There is also immorality surrounding the various deaths in the book. Daisy hit Myrtle with Gatsby's car but didn't stop. There are still many hit and run accidents today. You could compare this section of the book with an event from recent news. There is another death as well. George kills Gatsby because he think Gatsby killed his wife. Of course, there are still many murders today. You could easily find a case where someone was killed in similar circumstances.
lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There is immorality in the illegal activities that Gatsby and his associates such as Wolfsheim engage in.  The suggestion is that these men are in the Mob, and it is rumored that Gatsby is a bootlegger importing or transport illegal alcohol in a time of Prohibition.  You could easily do some research about current Mob related crimes as they pertain to illegal drugs.

There is also the immorality of Jordan Baker's alleged cheating during a golf tournament.  You could compare that to some of the steroid allegations made against professional athletes in today's sports world.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are at least a couple of kinds of immorality in the book.  There is adultery and there are these parties that seem to be symbols (to Fitzgerald) of the lack of a moral center in the people who attend them.  Both of these can easily be tied to today since we have lots of examples of both.

For adultery, you could talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger, who just admitted to having a child with his housekeeper while he was married.  For the parties, you can talk about the kinds of lavish parties that you read about today.  There are lots of stories out there about the kinds of parties that celebrities go to.  Both of these things could be examples of immorality that happens today and is similar to what was going on in the book.