“A morally bankrupt and frivolous society” – how far is this sentiment explored in pages 31 to 33 of The Great Gatsby

Topics: Morality, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ethics Pages: 4 (1130 words) Published: October 30, 2014
The term ‘morally bankrupt’ suggests a complete disregard for any principles of right and wrong and a ‘frivolous society’ can be defined as one which is centralized on hedonism rather than practical values. Pages 31 to 33 of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby convey the illicit nature of Tom and Myrtle’s affair as well as displaying their materialism. We are initially introduced to the apartment, the centre of Mr Buchanan and Mrs Wilson’s extra-marital liaison after which the social gathering commences. As the extract continues, Fitzgerald exposes to the reader the activities of an intimate gathering during the 1920s, thus revealing the “morally bankrupt and frivolous society” that the characters live in. Nick’s narration further moulds our view of the society through his personal judgements and consequently reaffirms the immorality as well as the characters’ shallow mentalities. Nick’s constant references and elevation of material possessions reinforce this throughout the extract hence informing the reader of the significant absence of morality. The open nature and blunt frankness of Tom and Myrtle’s affair clearly conveys to the reader the deficient morality within the society. We are primarily familiarized with the couple’s home together in the centre of Manhattan. Manhattan is generally associated with corruption and dishonesty, parallel to the illicit relationship the lovers share. Furthermore, at their arrival Myrtle is found ‘throwing a regal homecoming glance around the neighbourhood’. Fitzgerald’s use of the verb ‘throwing’ implies her flippant attitude and parading of another home solely for the purpose of an affair. Fitzgerald reinforces this through the use of the phrase ‘regal homecoming glance’ as it suggests Myrtle presumes she is entitled to this apartment which she considers her ‘home’. This is ironic as Myrtle is the wife of a mechanic and subsequently highlights her affectations and thus social falsity. The interior supports this as the living room...
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