How Post World War I Euphoria Was Displayed in The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is an intriguing novel which was first published in the year 1925, the First World War was fought between 1914 to 1918 and the novel reflects the happenings of the First World War in more ways than one. The Americans were well ahead of all their counterparts once the war came to an end, they were economically very sound and also had better infrastructure than most other countries, the same gave them an air of invincibility and they walked with their noses in the air.
The Americans also believed that everything could be purchased because it was boom time for the economy, the booming economy also instilled a lot of confidence in the Americans and they started purchasing goods on credit. On the other hand the war had also taken a toll on the Americans, the country had just started to recover from a major setback and everything was in real chaos.
During the First World War the Americans helped each other by several ways but all this changed once the war was over, the author has tried to portray greed, cynicism and indifference towards other people through his novel the Great Gatsby, it is not about just one man loving a woman, the novel has much more to it than just that.
“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1) These lines were spoken by Daisy in chapter 1, she is talking to Nick and Jordan and this is what she hopes to do for her infant daughter. This goes to show that intelligence in women was not valued at all back then. The older generation wanted women to be docile and the younger generation wanted to derive physical pleasure out of females back then.
Empty pursuit of pleasure is perhaps the highlight of this novel, the American dream becomes corrupt beyond imagination because of the parties thrown by Gatsby every Saturday. The Americans who had fought the war became very disillusioned and money-minded, they started believing that money could buy anything and everything and this also marked the start of something which would prevail for several years and the same is also prevalent, there are many people who firmly believe that money would buy them happiness but the truth is much different from this.
The Stock market started recovering and this resulted in people having access to a lot of money which they would blindly blowup on unnecessary things, the spending power had increased but the same also caused numerous problems.Nick and Gatsby both fought the war and after fighting the war their mindset completely changed, their way of living also changed, this cosmopolitan behavior led to several problems in their lives.
There were many regulars who would attend Gatsby’s parties which again goes to show greed and desire to earn more money, this yet again goes to show that the war actually impacted the people.
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (The Great Gatsby) These are the concluding lines of the novel, how human beings consistently struggle to turn their dreams into reality has been well presented in these lines.
Easy money was something that people in the novel wanted so that they could fulfill their desires and be well of materialistically, to conclude it is fair to say that the novel has a heavy influence of the First World War, the main characters display greed and want easy money, their lifestyle completely changes after the war and this causes numerous problems.
Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (ed.) (2000). F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-0996-0