The Great Gatsby is not Great

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 556 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Words: 556|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 25, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Counterarguments
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is often hailed as a classic of American literature, a novel that encapsulates the spirit and disillusionment of the Jazz Age. However, despite its widespread acclaim, there are valid arguments to be made that The Great Gatsby may not be as 'great' as it is often perceived. This essay will critically examine the novel, focusing on its character development, narrative structure, and thematic depth, to argue that while The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly significant, its perceived greatness may be overstated.

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Body Paragraphs

One of the main criticisms of The Great Gatsby is its lack of fully developed characters. While Jay Gatsby is an iconic figure, he is also a largely one-dimensional character, defined almost entirely by his love for Daisy and his pursuit of wealth. The other characters, including Daisy, Tom, and Nick, are similarly underdeveloped, serving more as symbols or plot devices than as fully realized individuals. For instance, Daisy is primarily a symbol of Gatsby's unattainable dream, while Tom represents the brutal reality of the wealthy class.

Literary critic Harold Bloom, in his book "F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby," argues that the characters in the novel are "more symbolic than real" (Bloom, 2000). This lack of character development can make it difficult for readers to fully engage with the novel, undermining its emotional impact and narrative depth.

Another aspect of The Great Gatsby that has been criticized is its narrative structure. The novel's non-linear narrative, while innovative, can also be confusing and disorienting, disrupting the flow of the story and making it difficult for readers to follow. For example, the novel begins in the middle of the story, then jumps back in time to establish the backstory, before returning to the present.

While The Great Gatsby explores important themes such as the American Dream, class, and disillusionment, it does so in a way that can feel superficial. The novel's critique of the American Dream, for instance, is largely limited to the experiences of its wealthy characters, ignoring the experiences of those in lower social classes.


Despite these criticisms, there are valid arguments to be made for The Great Gatsby's greatness. The novel's exploration of themes such as the American Dream, class, and disillusionment continue to resonate with readers, and its evocative prose and vivid imagery are undeniably impressive.

One of the strongest aspects of The Great Gatsby is its literary style and prose. Fitzgerald's writing is often poetic and evocative, creating a vivid and immersive world that captures the spirit of the Jazz Age. This aspect of the novel has been widely praised, with many critics considering it to be one of the novel's greatest strengths.

Another argument for The Great Gatsby's greatness is its cultural impact. The novel has had a significant influence on American literature and culture, inspiring numerous adaptations and references in popular culture.


In conclusion, while The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly a significant work of American literature, its perceived greatness may be overstated. By critically examining the novel's character development, narrative structure, thematic depth, literary style, and cultural impact, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Future research could further explore the reasons behind the novel's enduring popularity, or examine its impact on American culture and literature.


Bloom, H. (2000). F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Chelsea House Publishers.

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Fitzgerald, F. S. (1925). The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons.

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Cite this Essay

The Great Gatsby Is Not Great. (2024, March 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“The Great Gatsby Is Not Great.” GradesFixer, 25 Mar. 2024,
The Great Gatsby Is Not Great. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
The Great Gatsby Is Not Great [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 25 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from:
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