The Societal Issue of The Great Gatsby

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Sometimes, people are so wrapped up in their own life that they forget to look at the world beyond themselves.

In my junior year of high school, we were required to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. It is one of the first books that made me think of the world outside my own.

The book is about Jay Gatsby living in a rich world because of his love for Daisy Buchanan, a woman he loved, but money–or his lack thereof–was a reason their relationship didn’t work out.

This book impacted me in terms of what it stood for. Fitzgerald challenged topics such as the rich vs. poor, rich vs. rich, and society in general. What I found interesting was that he wrote this novel during a time when most of society feared to address such issues in case they would be shunned or worse. It is also important to note that the issues Fitzgerald brings up are still relevant in society today. The disparity between the rich and the rest of society is still evident economically. 

What stood out to me the most in the novel is the status of rich not being enough. Gatsby becomes a wealthy person, part of the rich societal class, but that doesn’t mean that he is accepted into their society. Within the wealthy society, there is a difference between money that is inherited and money that is worked for. Inherited wealth is considered to be purer than money that is worked for. So in this case, Gatsby is rich but he is considered to be of lower status in the wealthy society because his money was not inherited. Because of this, Gatsby’s goal of reaching Daisy Buchanan is still unachievable, and she will forever be a light he can see but never obtain.

I look to modern society and think about similar issues that arise even today. The Great Gatsby has made me aware of modern issues socially and economically. The novel can serve as a gateway to providing an example of society’s issues that we have yet to fix.