The themes of the novel as well as its overall stylistic quality offer two explanations for the elevated status Fitzgerald's novel enjoys.
This novel deals with the growing gap between social classes and a crass materialism that became associated with the "glamorous" upper class.
[Fitzgerald's] works examine the results of the Jazz Age generation's adherence to false material values.
In a time of gossip columns and "swingers", this novel was both a timely indictment of a shallow value set and virtuoso performance of irony, commentary and artistry from a novelist belonging to the upper class he lampooned.
The novel is considered a masterpiece of fiction from the modern era, a high-water mark for American literature. Along with Hemingway and Faulkner, Fitzgerald's great work of fiction helped to define a period of literary achievement that has not been matched since.
Though Fitzgerald was not as accomplished as his contemporaries, he did achieve artistic success with this novel. Fitzgerald's career is not comparable to those of Eliot and Hemingway, his masterpiece stands alongside theirs.