Just social ladder leads her toward the ashes.

    Just like ornaments bring a new light into beauty in a materialistic world, literary elements highlight the underlying meaning of an author’s work in a literary world. Literary devices work as a guide for the readers to comprehend a deeper meaning of the work as a whole. For the very reason, authors have to be mindful of the elements that they implement in their word to get their message across. In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald explores how social ladder plays an active role in defining human actions. The roller coaster of wealth, dream, hope, and misery has made it one of the greatest novel of all time. However, his chosen narrative keeps shifting the overall framework of the novel.

Even though Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism explicitly illustrates how social hierarchy can develop as well as destroy human ambitions, his use of first person point of view from Nick Carraway calls into question the reliability in narrative.           Fitzgerald uses different symbols to explicate the character’s desires to climb up the social ladder in order to chase their dreams. Through this challenging journey, wealthy characters manage to keep an unswerving hold onto hope. For instance, the green light on Daisy’s dock symbolizes Gatsby’s longing to pursuit a dream which “seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it” (Fitzgerald 180). The longing survives for so long because it has been traveling on the boat of wealthiness.

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Being on top of the social ladder helps Gatsby to carry out his desire for the love of his life, Daisy. In spite of knowing that she’s married to another man, he still keeps nurturing the ambition. However, when he wasn’t rich, he didn’t have the courage to ask Daisy’s parents for her hands in marriage. Therefore, social status determines an individual’s persistency to follow his dreams.

It also brings different phases into one’s life. For example, George Wilson’s tendency to move up the ladder eventually leads him toward his downfall. He tries to improve his marriage life, but fails due to his status in society. Fitzgerald depicts the poor status through symbol of “a valley of ashes” (Fitzgerald 23). In addition, Myrtle, Wilson’s wife, gets into an affair with Tom, Daisy’s husband.

She wants to be with Tom because of his wealth. Subsequently, she dies in a car accident, which implies that she ends up being a waste of the rich. Her desire to climb up the social ladder leads her toward the ashes. The incident of getting hit by Gatsby’s car highlights the idea of how poor people get smashed by the rich in the competition of pursuing dreams. So, in Wilson and Myrtle’s case, their ambitions get shattered into pieces because of their positions on the social hierarchy pyramid. Despite these arguments, some people might say that Gatsby and Wilson both end up being a victim at the end. However, Gatsby dies with endless hope, while Wilson dies with endless despair. As an illustration, Gatsby keeps waiting for a call from Daisy until his last breath, which shows the intensity of his unbreakable hope.

On the contrary, Wilson shoots himself after murdering Gatsby, which shows his feelings of complete hopelessness. Therefore, Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism demonstrates how social hierarchy can not only build but also break the pillar of hope for achieving “unattainable dreams” in life (Fitzgerald 15).           In any story, narrators play the role of a watchdog for the overall flow because every single pieces are presented through their own lenses. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses first person narrative to explain the details about each character. The use of first person point of view from a character himself challenges the accuracy of the details. In spite of being “inclined to reserve all judgements,” Nick’s character descriptions about Gatsby, Daisy and Tom highlight his biased attitude (Fitzgerald 1). For instance, Nick’s depiction of Gatsby presents him as if he has won a moral victory.

In other words, even though he can’t win Daisy, he has won the crown for being the king of morality. Nick highlights Gatsby’s selfless nature in every possible way, while he only reflects the darker side of Tom. For instance, he mentions how Gatsby takes the blame on himself for the accident to save Daisy. On the other hand, he portrays Tom as the villain by stating how he provokes Wilson to take a brutal action against Gatsby. How can all these informations be trusted when he is not even aware of his own actions? For instance, after getting drunk at night, Nick finds himself “half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station” in the morning (Fitzgerald 38).

The evidence highlights his unconscious nature because he doesn’t even have control over himself. By using first person point of view from Nick, Fitzgerald leads the readers to question his work because the narrator is definitely not reliable if he has lack of willpower. Some might believe that he’s a virtuous narrator since he’s trying to bring two lovers together.

However, he’s is not being truthful to Tom because he’s helping his wife to deceive him. He’s is showing different faces to each character, which portrays him as a deceitful narrator. Therefore, the use of first person narrative limits the reader’s visions within Nick’s deceptive boundary.          Even though Fitzgerald fails to implement an effective narration frame, his specific structuralist framework makes the novel a product of a larger culture. His use of different symbols help to highlight the overall structure and classify it in terms of a specific time period. For instance, fabulous parties and automobiles make it crystal clear that the novel’s context is referring to the Jazz Age. By highly valuing materialism, Fitzgerald reflects on how people were all about glamour and wealth during this era. Also, Daisy’s bob hairstyle explains women’s fashion sense during the roaring twenties.

Therefore, Fitzgerald uses symbolism as a weapon to build a relationship between the text and the culture from which the test emerged. Furthermore, setting is also one of the vital element of a narrative structure. In the novel, Fitzgerald’s emphasis on Gatsby’s lavish mansion and Wilson’s garage, which is “a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land,” helps to identify the existing social stratum during the twenties (Fitzgerald 24).

           The Great Gatsby teaches how to put oneself into other person’s shoes in order to better comprehend their actions. When reading the book, it’s really easy to judge the characters. However, to be a part of the character’s world, readers must try to find the “why” behind their actions. It will lead the readers to explore the unexpressed emotions of the characters.

This thinking also applies to the real world because no one should hold biased viewpoints toward other people based on just what they see. It should always be remembered that even own eyes can deceive a person. Another important lesson of this novel is that no one should consider wealth as the base of their love because wealth is nothing but a fantasy. Even though it’s true that money is essential to survive, at the end of the day, it’s the inner connection, the relationships that matter for individual and money can not build these bonds.           


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