Discuss if The Great Gatsby is a sordid tale of adultery, deception and murder.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I certainly think that this could be a read of the novel.  Fitzgerald's work does involve adultery, plenty of deception, and murder on many levels.  These elements are present.  Yet, I think that all of these elements fit into a larger schematic in terms of what Fitzgerald is seeking to articulate.  Fitzgerald is writing about the Jazz Age of the 1920s.  He is seeking to bring out a vivid picture of how individuals acted in this time period.  The shallow nature of social pursuits in a context where people used one another as means to ends as opposed to ends in ofthemselves are both conditions that Fitzgerald sees as part of the time period.  In creating the worlds of East and West Egg, Fitzgerald seeks to make a statement about this time period in American History.  In what Eliot would call the "objective correlative" (defining image), the murder, deception, and adultery that Fitzgerald displays is more reflective of the time period than in anything salacious.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question