Exposing what happens between the champagne drinks and lavish after-parties, Fitzgerald presents the raw side of America during the so-called Roaring 20’s. It is clear what he thinks of the “American Dream”; his criticism leaks. But before solidifying the fact that this was an era of careless behavior and ignorance, we must first acknowledge that there was something satisfying and admiring about the 1920s: the way the young presented themselves, the lifestyle that could be achieved through arduous work, the ideology that hope was within anyone’s reach.
Because some fish out of the large and rather polluted pool were able to achieve a state of comfortable luxury, this established an invisible threshold to the rest of society, a dangling line that people hopelessly hoped to grasp onto. No one attempts to swing on this string of close opulence better than Myrtle Wilson; she is even willing to get her nose broken! From the wardrobe changes to drinking alongside top-tier individuals like Tom, she craves for wealthier fate, disillusioned from the criminality behind it.
The Great Gatsby would be incomplete if it was only Myrtle who possessed green hunger. Every character at one point expresses a rush of satisfaction and smugness when colliding with the rich; some voices are even full of money. But what is arguably sadder is that ultimately the American Dream does not function as a cause-and-effect. It is not a one-way street where hard work leads to prosperity. Gatsby, a man who has parties bombarded by all sorts of people, is left dead with no one –without Daisy to say the least. When we gain tangible pleasures, we are not exchanging cash but the intangible receipts of human affection, relationships, and genuine moments.
It should also be mentioned what parallelism is found between Gatsby and Fitzgerald. From rising to the peak of prosperity to slipping down the slope of social supremacy, Gatsby and Fitzgerald share more commonality than not. Then, is The Great Gatsby a love story, a tragedy, or a tragic love story?