Appearances and Reality
- Those in the Midwest were fair, relatively innocent, unsophisticated, while those who lived in the East for some time were unfair, corrupt, and materialistic.
- The Westerners who moved East, furthermore, brought the violence of the Old West days to their new lives.
- A romanticized Midwest
- Going home to a moral existence rooted in basic, conservative values.
- The West as the green breast of a new world, a reflection of a man's dream, an America subsumed in this image.
- The materialism of the East creates the tragedy of destruction, dishonesty, and fear. No values exist in such an environment.
- American dream of self-made wealth and happiness, the spirit of youth and resourcefulness, and the ability to make something of one's self despite one's origins. He achieved more than his parents.
- Gatsby's mentor, Dan Cody, was the ultimate self-made man who influenced Gatsby in his tender, impressionable youth.
- Giving in to temptation and to corrupt get-rich-quick schemes like bootlegging and gambling.
- Disillusionment of America in the 1920s: its ideals lost behind the trappings of class and material success.
- On the flip side of the American Dream, then, is a naivete and a susceptibility to evil and poor-intentioned people.
Appearances and Reality
- There is no real love
- Behind the expensive parties, Gatsby is a lonely man.
- Gatsby's greatness lies in his capacity for illusion.
- Inability to separate the ideal from the real.
- The wealthy class is morally corrupt
- There are no spiritual values in a place where money reigns: the traditional ideas of God and Religion are dead here, and the American dream is direly corrupted.
- West and East are two opposing poles of values: one is pure and idealistic, and the other is corrupt and materialistic.
- The Western states, including the Midwest, represent decency and the basic ethical principles of honesty, while the East is full of deceit.
- Simplicity and naivete indicates an idealism that has not been lost.
- Satire, a criticism of society's foibles through humor. The elements of satire in the book include the depiction of the nouveau riche ("newly rich"), the sense of vulgarity of the people, the parties intended to draw Daisy over, the grotesque quality of the name "Great" Gatsby in the title.
- Satire originated in the Roman times, and similarly criticized the rich thugs with no values, tapped into cultural pessimism, and gave readers a glimpse into chaos.
- The Great Gatsby is the tale of the irresponsible rich.
- Light imagery to point out idealism and illusion.
- Between the frequent mention of moonlight, twilight, and the women's white gowns, Fitzgerald alludes to the dreamlike qualities of Gatsby's world, and indirectly, to Nick's romantic vision.
- On the other hand, Meyer Wolfsheim, the gambler, is seen in a restaurant hidden in a dark cellar when Gatsby first introduces him to Nick. "Blinking away the brightness of the street, my eyes picked him out obscurely in the anteroom," says Nick.