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Th Great Gatsby - The most important texts are those that criticise the present. Can someone please give me feedback

The most important texts are those that criticise the present.

Texts that have insightful critiques of the present are always the most valuable to society. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ features several critiques of 1920s society which remain relevant in the present often have the most to teach us, and therefore are the most important. In ‘The Great Gatsby’, Fitzgerald establishes two main criticisms which this essay will explore; society’s concern for appearances above anything else, and materialism. Fitzgerald’s critiques teach the reader valuable lessons about themselves as well as others.

Appearance vs reality is a central theme Fitzgerald uses to critique society’s concern for appearances. In ‘The Great Gatsby’, characters who appear to be one thing are really another. The best example of this theme is Jay Gatsby, who’s real name is James Gatz. Gatsby was originally a poor boy from North Dakota, but in pursuit of his American Dream, he created the persona of Jay Gatsby - an Oxford man of class and sophistication. The creation of the Jay Gatsby persona stemmed from Gatz’ shame surrounding his poor background. Gatz refused to accept his parents to be his, and so he became Gatsby to escape his reality. Gatsby understands that society cares about appearances, so he makes sure that everyone is aware of his wealth, through elaborate parties, and his vibrant pink suit. All of which are used to hide who Gatsby truly is. In a conversation with Nick Carraway, Gatsby tells him, “I didn’t want you to think I was some nobody.” This reveals how deeply he cares about keeping up his wealthy facade. Being a nobody in ‘The Great Gatsby’s’ environment equates with being poor, this is confirmed when Tom Buchanan discovers the truth about Gatsby’s humble beginnings, calling him a “nobody from nowhere”. Fitzgerald is criticising society’s obsession with being wealthy, and how those who do not come from wealth are perceived as less valuable. This is an important lesson from the text because the reader is encouraged to re-evaluate what is most important to them. Instead of pursuing materialistic things, we must understand that material things do not fulfil us. Furthermore, through the character of Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald makes the point that for us to truly live a fulfilling life we must face reality and embrace the present.

The relationship between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby further highlights the theme of appearance vs reality. Gatsby decides to make Daisy the centre of his American Dream - Daisy represents the Old Money aristocracy that is missing from his fantasy. Gatsby believes that if he can attain Daisy his problems will be fixed, Gatsby doesn’t realise that Daisy is extremely flawed and is not as perfect as she appears to be. The colour white is closely associated with the character Daisy, it symbolises purity and innocence. Fitzgerald ironically does this because underneath her innocent appearance and act, Daisy is selfish and careless, she also has affairs just as Tom does. Gatsby remains unaware of Daisy’s true colours, while Nick Carraway sees both the Buchanans for who they truly are. Following the death of Gatsby, Daisy simply ran away, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness…and let other people clean up the mess they had made…” The Buchanan’s are indifferent to the destruction they cause, and they are able to be indifferent because of their wealth that allows them to avoid responsibility.

Through the theme appearance vs reality, Fitzgerald makes critiques of present society, specifically the importance of being true to yourself. This is shown through the character of Jay Gatsby; he can never be happy because he is not honest with himself. Fitzgerald shows us that if we seek happiness through illusions, we will always be disappointed because reality will never match a fantasy. In Chapter five, Nick describes that, “No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” Meaning that reality cannot match fantasy. Fitzgerald further uses appearance vs reality to criticise society’s obsession with being rich and looking down on those who are less wealthy. Fitzgerald is teaching the reader that money cannot buy happiness, society has lost sight of what is truly valuable to us as human beings; things such as family and human connections.

Furthermore, the theme of appearance vs reality and materialism is illustrated through the character of Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle is used by Fitzgerald to warn the reader of the consequences of not being true to yourself. Myrtle is a similar character to Jay Gatsby, she is poor but pretends to be rich and classy. Myrtle abandons her poor husband who loves her, for a shallow affair with Tom Buchanan. Fitzgerald describes that “with the influence of the dress her personality had undergone a change.” Myrtle uses material things as a way for her to act superior to others. Myrtle is desperate to be accepted into the upper class, and as a result of her involvement with Tom Buchanan, she ends up dead. Fitzgerald uses the character of Myrtle to highlight the theme appearance vs reality, and to criticise how society - then and now - remains obsessed with appearance and indifferent to who people truly are.

Through the characters of Myrtle and Gatsby, Fitzgerald is making the point that society’s desire to be rich is pointless and shallow. ‘The Great Gatsby’ shows the reader that money can corrupt peoples morals, the pursuit for wealth and material things is an empty pursuit that only leads to destruction and disappointment. Materialism is one of the main criticisms Fitzgerald makes in ‘The Great Gatsby’, and is one of the reasons why the text remains so significant today.

In ‘The Great Gatsby’, Fitzgerald criticises society’s concern for appearances and the issue of materialism. With these issues remaining to this day, Fitzgerald’s critiques are still relevant and have much to teach us. ‘The Great Gatsby’ teaches us to always be true to ourselves despite societal pressures, Fitzgerald also teaches about the dangers of being driven by materialistic pursuits. I therefore agree with the statement, the most important texts are those that criticise the present.

Kiā ora and welcome to Studyit.
With the Level Three responses you need to establish an argument. You set up " Texts that have insightful critiques of the present are always the most valuable to society. " Why are they the most valuable? Do they teach us things we need to know? Why do we need to know them? and so on.
It is really important at this level to set up what you are going to look at and why - a thesis of sorts, an argument, Why is it important that texts criticise the present? What will happen if they don’t? What is the role of texts? Oh so many questions and you need to establish what you are going to be covering in the introduction.
A good idea is to take some of the statements in papers and write just the introduction - see what you can tease out of the question and then you can relate it to the text.
Great knowledge of the novel and examples well chosen but you need to keep the question in mind.
You say " This is an important lesson from the text because the reader is encouraged to re-evaluate what is most important to them. " The question asks why this is criticising the present and why it is important we do so. So - do we not evaluate things ? why should we ? what is actually really important to us ? and so on.
How about having another go at the question?
Hope this helps.
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