Please help me revise this essay!! We have been given another chance to write it and I have an 88% in English class and I really want an A!!! These are just my body paragraphs.Thesis statement: Fitzgerald emphasizes the decay of social and moral values throughout the novel.
Jay Gatsby is a character that represents strong and intentional break with tradition involving the decline of the American dream. Gatsby's actions represent this modernist trait. An example of this is when he changes his name. During the start of chapter six, the novel reveals that Gatsby "invented the sort of Jay Gatsby" (105) from his real name James Gatz. He changes his name because he did not want people to discover that his family was unsuccessful farm people. This shows a decline in the American dream because he cares deeply about his image, to a point where he is willing to change his name for it. There is decay in family values because Gatsby did not want to keep his poor family's surname. Another example is the way in which Gatsby becomes wealthy. Mid-way through chapter seven, Tom "picked [Gatsby] for a bootlegger" (143). Tom reveals that Gatsby is a bootlegger, which means that Gatsby participated in illegal activities to gain his riches. The American dream is a symbol for how people work hard and put in a great amount of effort to be able to gain success. Gatsby does the opposite and gains his riches through illegal activity and very little work. Fitzgerald shows the decline in value of hard work through the way Gatsby earns his wealth. A decline in the American dream is the way Gatsby tries to use his money and possessions to win over Daisy. An example of how he does this is through his house. Towards the end of chapter four, Jordan tells Nick that "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay" (85). He uses his wealth to his advantage to buy a house to be near Daisy. His social values are corrupt because Gatsby believes that he can swoon over a girl through material possessions. Another way that Gatsby tries to win Daisy over is through his extravagant parties. Chapter three starts off by describing Gatsby's parties. His parties were huge and described as "amusement parts" (45). Gatsby was very popular for the types of parties he threw, famous people and wealthy people attended them. From Daisy's house, she is able to see the lights shining from his party. Gatsby has no moral standard for Daisy because he believes that he can slowly win her over by trying to grasp her attention. Gatsby tries to become a likeable person just because of his new money and materials.
Tom's personality reflects the modernist trait of strong and intentional breaks with tradition. This modernist trait can be seen through his actions toward women. One example of his poor actions is how Tom frequently cheats on his wife. Mid-way through chapter one, Jordan Baker tells Nick that Tom has "some other woman in New York" (18). Jordan knows that Tom is having an affair with another woman in New York. Traditionally, men are believed to stay faithful to the woman that they marry; Tom breaks the tradition of marriage and sees other women while he's with his wife. Fitzgerald shows Tom as a character of having little to no value for his wife. Another example is how Tom violently punches Myrtle. Towards the end of chapter two, Tom "broke her nose with his open hand" (41). Myrtle was intentionally trying to make Tom upset, to the point where Tom did not take it lightly and broke her nose. Tom is breaking a tradition by laying a hand on a woman. Fitzgerald uses Tom's violence to show the break of social values in which a man is not suppose to hit a woman. The modernist trait of breaking away with tradition can also be seen through the way Tom reacts to certain situations. The first example is the way Tom reacts to Daisy and Gatsby's "affair." After finding out about the affair Daisy is having with Gatsby, he tells the two of them to go to the city together in the same car (129). He acts unusually calm for someone who had just discovered that his wife is cheating on him. In American customs, it is common for a person to become furious when finding out that their spouse is cheating on them. Fitzgerald does this in the novel to show the corrupt social values by Tom's strange reaction to a conflict in their marriage. The second example is the way he reacts when discovering that Myrtle had been murdered. When Tom finds out Myrtle had been hit by a car and died, he immediately tells Wilson that the "the yellow car I was driving wasn't mine" (150). Tom does whatever he can to prevent making himself look like the bad guy. Rather than trying to resolve the conflict, Tom has no interest in saving anyone but himself. Fitzgerald does this to show that Tom is a character of bad intent and does not have the ethical morals. Tom is a man that believes since he is wealthy and comes from old money, he has power in the way he controls people and his surroundings.
Daisy is another person with qualities that represent strong and intentional breaks with tradition. The actions that she takes are an example of this modernist trait. Daisy chooses to marry Tom over Gatsby. Midway through chapter eight, the novel explains that Daisy chose Tom because he was more stable and had much more money than Gatsby (162). Daisy did not want to be with Gatsby because he was poor, and could not provide a stable life for her. Daisy breaks away from tradition by marrying someone for money rather than for love. There is decay in Daisy's values because she values money over love. Another poor action by Daisy was when she ran over Myrtle. When leaving the city, she drives to get her mind off of things and she "drove on toward death through the cooling wind" (145). She never told anyone that she was driving the car because Gatsby was willing to take the blame for her. Daisy has poor values over other humans because she wanted to save herself. A different example of this modernist trait from Daisy is her feelings. First, Daisy is miserable in her relationship with Tom. She is unhappy because Tom is constantly cheating on her with other women. Tom and Daisy had to leave Chicago because he cheated on her multiple times (84). Daisy is disappointed because she had to leave places such as Santa Barbara or Chicago all because of Tom. Daisy does not have self value because she stays with a man who does not treat her like a wife. Next, Daisy has poor feelings towards her daughter. After Nick asks about her daughter, Daisy's tells him that she hopes her daughter grows up to be "a beautiful little fool" (20). Daisy's minutely cares for her daughter because she hardly talks about her. Daisy has very minimal family values because she shows little to no attention to her daughter. Daisy is a self-centered and shallow person who lets money and looks control everything around her.