The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
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Other than the affairs, how do the characters in The Great Gatsby show themselves to be immoral?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At some point, I think that what makes Fitzgerald such a profound writer in The Great Gatsby is that he is able to bring out the condition that helped give the 1920s such a stark definition.  In doing so, none of the characters of the drama are "morally pure" and there are few who represent moral purity.  On some levels, all of the characters in the narrative demonstrate a level of moral culpability for what happens and for what happens in the "Jazz Age."  The lack of a moral stature, a transcendent fiber that goes beyond the contingent, dooms everyone in the novel.  Fitzgerald was acutely aware that the vision of the ongoing party is one where individuals are more obsessed with their own self interest.  Due to this, there is a lack of moral structure or guidance where individuals are unable to assert their own voice as to what is right or what is morally acceptable.  Instead, individuals swallowed this voice and with it, absorbed much in way of personal unhappiness in order to live in accordance to a social standard that did more harm than good.  The adulterous relationships, the lifestyle of debauchery, the moral and spiritual corruption infected everyone, ensuring that Fitzgerald left no one unscathed.

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