What are the themes of The Great Gatsby?

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is a set in New York City during the 1920s: a time of youth, wealth, and prohibition. There are several timeless themes such as love, wealth, and death. Other themes are more specific to the era like the materialism of the Roaring Twenties and social class.

The Great Gatsby is about the American dream

All of The Great Gatsby's characters are chasing their ideal version of the American Dream.

The Great Gatsby is about The Roaring Twenties

The Roaring Twenties was a time of wealth, glamour, and having a high social status.

The Great Gatsby is about materialism

The American dream is about buying items that display wealth.

The Great Gatsby is about wealth

The characters are only focused on being rich.

The Great Gatsby is about old money vs. new money

Characters are defined by having old money or new money, even dividing what neighborhood they live in: East Egg or West Egg.

The Great Gatsby is about love

At its core, the novel is a tragic love story.

The Great Gatsby is about Jay Gatsby's love for Daisy Buchanan

Jay Gatsby is only motivated by his love for Daisy Buchanan.

The Great Gatsby is about Nick Carraway exploring his sexuality

Throughout the novel, Nick was involved in suggestive scenes with both men and women but did not have a lasting romantic relationship with anyone. This serves as a nod to his journey in exploring his sexuality.

The Great Gatsby is about death

Death affects every character in the novel.

Jay Gatsby’s death is symbolic of the demise of the great American dream.

The American dream expounds that through hard-work anyone can find success and happiness. However, when Gatsby died, he eliminated this possibility for all the characters. Nick lost his ties with the elite, Daisy lost her opportunity to find true love, and ultimately Gatsby’s death ushered the death of the American dream.

Myrtle Wilson's death is one of the main themes of the Great Gatsby

The death of Myrtle Wilson triggered other tragic events.

The Great Gatsby is about social class

The characters are concerned about their position in society and how others perceive them.

Jay Gatsby's rise to wealth and popularity shows that social class is the theme of the Great Gatsby

Gatsby started as a "penniless young man" then grew in wealth and society.

Jay Gatsby's parties symbolize the shallowness of the upper class in The Great Gatsby

Gatsby's parties were the hub for upper-class society. He throws huge weekly parties with many upper-class attendees, but has next-to-no friends; no one knows anything about him or how he came by his money and he does not seem inclined to share this information with anyone. It shows the shallowness of the upper-class and the fact that they are obsessed with wealth.
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This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 11:10 UTC