What was F. Scott Fitzgerald's purpose for writing The Great Gatsby?

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According to the foreword to the novel written by Charles Scribner III, Fitzgerald wanted to write a book that was "consciously artistic" and "beautiful and simple and intricately patterned."

Having had commercial success with This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald hoped, in other words, to write a literary masterpiece. Fitzgerald started to write this novel as a satire called Trimalchio, based on the Roman satire the Satyricon, but the novel transcended that form. Gatsby was modeled on Trimalchio, a nouveau riche former slave who gave lavish parties, but Gatsby transformed in Fitzgerald's hands into a figure of tragic romance.

Fitzgerald also wanted to explore the American Dream, as the novel does through Gatsby's desire to start anew and wipe away the past, which is part of the larger American dream of coming to a new continent and creating a new and improved society. In Gatsby's case, the dream means regaining Daisy and acting as if the years they were apart never happened.

Fitzgerald succeeded in writing a novel that was lyrical, short, and "intricately patterned"—there is an enormous attention to detail in this work. Though not a success on its first release, the novel is now solidly in the canon of great American literature.

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Despite its slim size, The Great Gatsby encompasses a diverse array of important themes, commenting on everything from the state of capitalism to gender relations. As such, it's very difficult to pinpoint a major purpose. That said, if there is a major purpose in the novel, it is most likely Fitzgerald's critique of the classical American Dream.

Simply put, the American Dream is the widespread notion that any American citizen can achieve happiness and fulfillment by simply working as hard as possible. Fitzgerald deconstructs this idea by showing that, though Gatsby works hard and acquires a vast store of riches, he does not ever achieve true happiness or fulfillment. For Gatsby, true happiness involves earning the lasting love of Daisy. However, though Daisy loves him in her own way, she is not able to love him as fully as he would prefer, and in the end Daisy abandons Gatsby. Thus, no matter how hard Gatsby works to gain material wealth, he ultimately dies alone, and so much of the novel's major purpose is to ultimately critique the mythology of the American Dream.    

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

The central themes of The Great Gatsby, to me, have to do with identity. How do we become the real version of ourselves? Are we born or shaped into our final identities? 

I don't know that there is a definitive answer to this question provided in the novel, but Gatsby's example seems to suggest that there is something in each of us that is present when we are young and stays with us through our lives.

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

Perhaps the Great Gatsby is both a satire of the "nouveau riche" and as well as an almost poetic complaint of Fitzgerald's own life similar to T.S. Eliot's lines,

We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless
In this sense it is tragic portrayal of hollow lives that have been wasted upon false values.
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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

Ms-charleston-yawp beat me to my point.  While this novel is not exactly or completely biographical, Fitzgerald is awfully close to Jay Gatsby.  He didn't get the girl because he was too poor; he had to work hard to make it big enough to get her; he finally got her but their life together was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows; he died too young, an unhappy and unsatisfied man.  Sound familiar?  His disillusionment with having money, with a society which valued money over people, and with a world which seemed concerned only with consoling itself for its war wounds by excessiveness in all things was reflected in this work, as well.  This novel is a picture of Fitzgerald's life.

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

Just to take a little bit different view on this awesome question, I focused on the "primary motivation" aspect for Fitzgerald himself.  That part of it is pretty easy.  F. Scott Fitzgerald desired to become famous in the literary world for one reason:  to obtain Zelda Sayre.  In fact, it is incredibly ironic that this reason directly mirrors the one desire of Gatsby:  to obtain Daisy Buchanan.  Once Fitzgerald obtained Zelda (and furthermore became his wife), he desired to continue in that famous vein in order to keep her favor. 

I suppose another minor motivation was to keep up his lavish, spendthrift, and indulgent lifestyle.  Fitzgerald was pretty famous for both throwing and attending lavish parties, again, (the former being) very similar to Gatsby. 

Finally, I believe (and this is literally my own opinion) there is an underlying motivation that Fitzgerald is calling out for help psychologically.  Gatsby has an incredibly skewed personality.  Fitzgerald is the living equivalent to Gatsby.  Both were destined for a short and fairly devastating life.  I have always found it strange that absolutely NO ONE in Fitzgerald's life called attention to this.  But again, this is simply my own opinion.

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

I think that you can find many particular claims in Fitzgerald’s work.  One dominant claim is to raise a sense of understanding about the sadness and fragility of the Jazz Age.   I cannot find a better metaphor about the study of the 1920s than what Fitzgerald depicted in the lives of characters in West and East Egg.  The fundamental claim that seems to be made is that the image of wealth, happiness, and social acceptance was a veneer, a cover, that masked the pain and hollowness that eventually ripped through the illusion in a stunningly brutal way leading into the Great Depression.  When we see Gatsby’s futile pursuits at Daisy and, in a sense, happiness, the reader fully grasps the extent to which the 1920s was a beautiful monument built upon a firmament of sand with the tide waiting to crash in quite a dramatic fashion.  The denouncing of superficiality in both emotional relationships and social expectations comes out as a dominant claim in Fitzgerald’s work.

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

F. Scott Fitzgerald was considered the spokesman for the Jazz Age, which was a time of excess.

The reaction to the horrors of WW I seemed to be an over reaction. The 20s roared.  Society changed.  We went from a Victorian mindset to an eat drink and be merry attitude.  The waltz gave way to the Charleston.  Women's fashion went from austerity to the flapper.  All this and more is reflected in The Great Gatsby.

He shows us a self made man, Gatsby, who desperately wants to fit into with the uber rich.  Gatsby has idealized Daisy as the 20s idealized their false perspective of the world.  There was a superficiality in the world of both East and West Egg.  Relationships were superficial.

In the end, Nick chooses to return to his Midwestern roots, realizing what really matters and that the worlds of both the Buchanans and Gatsby are doomed to fall

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What is F. Scott Fitzgerald's claim or primary motivation in The Great Gatsby?

You should read the "themes" section of the analysis of this novel here on eNotes (see the link below). This will give you an idea of what Fitzgerald was trying to accomplish in this novel. It was written in the 1920s and shows how disillusioned people were after the end of World War I, the Great War, the "war to end all wars." So many people were killed in this first modern war, and much of Europe was destroyed. Many writers of this time period were disillusioned, even American writers like Fitzgerald. In this novel, Fitzgerald showed the negative results of blind ambition -- despair, and disillusionment. Behind the glitz and glamour of the upper class, was a hollow emptiness in the souls of people that nothing could fulfill, even if one DID achieve the so-called American dream. Gatsby is an example of this. He is "nouveau riche" - newly rich, but he does not have class. He believes he can win the girl if he has enough money, but this proves not to be true. In spite of the trappings of wealth, he does not have family money, and cannot ever hope to compete in Daisy's world.

Read more about the other themes - class, the nature of reality, and the clash of cultures at the link below - I will not repeat what is already there.

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