The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are the values and goals of the world described in The Great Gatsby? What kind of person survives in this world?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write10,884 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

On the surface, wealth seems to be the most important value and goal in this world, and to a great extent that is true. Tom Buchanan's wealth, for example, brings him power. He impresses people with his huge house and string of polo ponies, and he is able to use his wealth to bully the little people, like George Wilson, and keep a mistress in Wilson's wife.

Gatsby understands the ethic of the world he lives in: he knows that if he wants to regain Daisy, he needs money and lots of it. He is willing to engage in a life of crime to earn the wealth he needs to attract her, and he is also willing to spend it freely.

As the contrast between Tom and Gatsby shows, however, it takes more than mere money to be a top dog in this culture. Gatsby has a vast amount of money, but he lacks Tom's pedigree: he hasn't inherited his wealth, he doesn't have the right connections, he doesn't horseback ride, he hasn't been to an Ivy League college, and his clothes and demeanor are just not quite right. He is...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 549 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

janeyb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write400 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial