close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Big American Dream in The Great Gatsby and Babylon Revisited

downloadDownload printPrint

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay. We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

blank-ico
score This essay is graded. Score 14/20
Download PDF

The Great Gatsby and “Babylon Revisited,” both by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are stories about the emptiness and recklessness of the 1920s. Each story has its distinctions, but Fitzgerald’s condemnation of the decade reverberates through both. Fitzgerald explores and displays insufficiencies of the vacuous period, and does so with sharp clarity and depth, leaving no crude, barbarous habit to imagination. Fitzgerald had a deep and personal affliction with the 1920s (most notably in the Eastern United States), and in both The Great Gatsby and “Babylon Revisited,” he hones his conflicts into a furious condemnation. The 1920s were a period of sloth, habitual sin, exhausted illustriousness, and moral despondency; the black mark of a society and world usually tilted more toward attempted civility. Fitzgerald conveys this theme through the use of character, symbolism, and wasteland imagery.

First, Fitzgerald uses characters to personify the vast recklessness of the generation. The characters in both are incomprehensibly selfish and carefree, though more noticeably in The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan, for instance, is almost flippant in acknowledging his affair with Jordan Baker, a local miscreant golf pro. Tom leaves Nick, Daisy, and Jordan at the dinner table to take a call from her. An exchange between Nick Carraway and Jordan while Tom is gone illuminates the situation. “‘Is something happening’ (Fitzgerald, Gatsby 19), says Nick. To which Jordan Baker replies, ‘I thought everybody knew…. Why-… Tom’s got some woman in New York'” (Fitzgerald, Gatsby 19). Tom Buchanan has an acknowledged mistress in New York, and he politely and confidently leaves the dinner table to speak with her. He is the absolute personification of the reckless actions and attitudes that characterize the era. Duncan Shchaeffer and Lorraine Qualles, appearing briefly in “Babylon Revisited,” also represent reckless and selfish behavior. They burst in to a private meeting at the Peters residence just as Charlie is coercing Lincoln and Marion in to granting him custody of his child. Fitzgerald describes their behavior: “They were gay, they were hilarious, they were roaring with laughter…. They slid down another cascade of laughter” (Fitzgerald, Babylon 385). This after bursting in to the house of a stranger. They are drunk, juvenile, reprehensible in behavior, and acting more like children than adults. Fitzgerald asserts, however, that their actions characterize the generation of lost souls, and these characters are only used to articulate his condemnation of it.

Secondly, Fitzgerald uses symbolism to convey a feeling of futility and hopelessness throughout the novel and short story. Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, especially, symbolizes the distorted perceptions and priorities of the decade. Eckleburg watches over the gray ash-heap near Mr. Wilson’s garage with what Wilson thinks an all-knowing eye. Wilson has an unusual reverence to Dr. Eckleburg: he considers him God. In a conversation between Wilson and Michaelis, Wilson discusses a conversation he had previously with Mrs. Wilson just before she died:

‘I spoke to her [about her affair with Tom Buchanan]…. I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window—‘ With and effort he got up and walked the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it, ‘–and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me but you can’t fool God.’ Standing behind him Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at they eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. (Fitzgerald, Gatsby 167)Wilson is hopeless and disillusioned, and his connection to Dr. Eckleburg exemplifies the widespread futility of the era.

Lastly, Fitzgerald uses wasteland imagery to show how society circa 1920 was dysfunctional and reckless. The apartment of Myrtle Wilson’s relation, where Tom and Myrtle usually conduct their affair, is the perfect example of this. Fitzgerald describes the scene at the apartment:

The apartment was on the top floor—a small living room, a small diningroom, a small bedroom and a bath. The living room was crowded to the doors with a set of tapestried furniture entirely too large for it so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles…. Several old copies of “Town Tattle” lay on the table together with a copy of “Simon Called Peter” and some of the small scandal magazines of Broadway. (Fitzgerald, Gatsby 33)The apartment’s amenities are showy and overdone, and somehow seem more representative of conformity than affluence. The whole generation is caught up in the times, an unthinking, unknowing mob of followers, riding the unenviable wave of recklessness2E The apartment is empty, devoid of any substance at all, a perfect example of the wasteland image. It is where forbidden lovers meet to flirt and cackle, and where people get drunk for only the second time in their life, where people smoke, drink, and live recklessly together, and the only place where none of it matters: the wasteland.

The 1920s were an era of lost personality. The people were caught up in the teaming exuberance, riding the inertia or recklessness further in to itself. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and “Babylon Revisited” are fitting and definitive condemnations of the irrational time, and critics are right in deeming them so. Fitzgerald, too, is right: The 1920s were wasted years, and fit for condemnation.

Essay Score 14/20
Focus
3/4
Organization
3/4
Voice
3/4
Sentence Structure
3/4
Evidence and Details
2/4
More about grading

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Big American Dream in the Great Gatsby and Babylon Revisited. (2018, May 23). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-great-american-dream/
“Big American Dream in the Great Gatsby and Babylon Revisited.” GradesFixer, 23 May 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-great-american-dream/
Big American Dream in the Great Gatsby and Babylon Revisited. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-great-american-dream/> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2022].
Big American Dream in the Great Gatsby and Babylon Revisited [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 May 23 [cited 2022 Jan 27]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-great-american-dream/
copy to clipboard
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

    close

    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample
    close

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

    close

    Thanks!

    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now
    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer
    exit-popup-close

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!

    exit-popup-print

    Professional writers and researchers

    exit-popup-quotes

    Sources and citation are provided

    exit-popup-clock

    3 hour delivery

    exit-popup-persone