, Research Paper
The Great Gatsby as a Satire
Satire is an implement used by authors to point out a flaw of society or group of people in general. There are different levels of satire that the author can use. For example, the author may employ a type a formal satire known as Juvenalian satire. Here, the writer points out a subject with anger and contempt for it in a bitter fashion. There is also the contrasting form of Juvenalian satire called Horatian satire. Here, the writer points out a subject with a gentleness and jovial tenderness. The second main type of satire is informal. This is the type of satire used in The Great Gatsby. Here, Fitzgerald uses Nick to point out the character s flaws and makes each person the butt of the witticism by what they themselves do.
The supposed guests at all of Gatsby s parties are prime examples of
satire in The Great Gatsby. Many people who attended the parties were never even invited. This disregard for propriety illustrates the crassness and thoughtlessness that seemed to run rampant among the rich and famous during the twenties. An example of carelessness is when a large group of people at one of the huge soirees, decides to continue the party in the massive, expensive fountain in Gatsby s lawn. They just jump right in and begin to dance without concern for their health, much less concern for the well being of the fountain. After the galas had died down, most of the participants went home, leaving a monstrous mess and sometimes even their clothes or shoes.
Although Gatsby himself did not seem as dissolute as his guests, he did have flaws. On outward appearance, Jay Gatsby seemed to be a rich, well-rounded man who was always very poised and eloquent. But when turned inward, this confident man seemed very self-conscious and scared. He was scared that people would find out about his past and realize that he was not always the rich and graceful man that he now is. Throughout the novel, Gatsby informed all of his acquaintances that he was an Oxford man and that he came from a well-to-do family. However, this was not the case. Gatsby did not attend Oxford and was not from a well-to-do family. He was poor as a child and obtained most of his money from illicit business ventures. This is why Gatsby was rarely seen at his own parties and why he never liked to talk about his past or where he earned his living.
Prohibition was passed in the early nineteen hundreds to try to eliminate the use of alcohol. But it is clearly obvious that at all of Gatsby s parties and throughout the entire novel, intoxicating beverages are abundant. At all of Gatsby s parties, cases of champagne and liquor are consumed by the dozens. Tom even brings a bottle of liquor along as he Daisy, Jordan, Gatsby and Nick prepare to go for a drive. Fitzgerald employs the use of alcohol to show that no matter what the law states, people will find a way to break it and do what they please.
Fitzgerald uses each character and action in The Great Gatsby to point out different flaw in society during the nineteen-twenties. The guests at the parties satirize carelessness in the commonwealth. Gatsby satirizes the self-consciousness of the rich. And prohibition satirizes the unwillingness of society to abide by the law. Although this novel was written in 1925, it still has great meaning today and will probably continue to have great meaning for years to come.