What does it mean to "characterize the lifestyle of the upper class" in The Great Gatsby?I am trying to write an essay on The Great Gatsby, and I an having enormous difficulties deciphering the...

What does it mean to "characterize the lifestyle of the upper class" in The Great Gatsby?

I am trying to write an essay on The Great Gatsby, and I an having enormous difficulties deciphering the exact meaning of my prompt. It reads as follows:

"How does Fitzgerald characterize the lifestyles of the upper class? (use only chapter 3 as evidence)"

 

Asked on by apu99992

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

With trying to decipher the exact meaning of any prompt, I think that opening a dialogue with your instructor would be the best course of action.  I am confident that there are insights there which could be meaningful to you in your study.  Overall, it seems that the prompt is fairly direct in trying to get you to examine how Fitzgerald depicts the upper class.  In particular, I would pay attention to how Tom and Daisy are shown along with others of the "flapper" era such as Jordan Baker.  Of particular mention would be the description of Gatsby's parties, the people that are there, and the way in which Fitzgerald, through Nick and his own narrative voice, is able to highlight how "the rich live."  The focus on materialism, as well as how the books in the library do not appear to be what they are, and other elements that bring out the inauthentic and false nature of the wealthy might be particular examples that can be used to highlight how Fitzgerald characterizes the lifestyle of the rich.

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