This is the third and last level of inquiries (and the most difficult!) for WEM Project, following my first level and second level inquiry posts.
Do you sympathize with the characters? Which ones, and why?
The only one character I sympathize with is Jay Gatsby. As his father told Nick, Gatsby is a rare person; in his young age, he has been applying the very way of achieving success: focus and discipline. If only he did not attracted to Daisy, he might have paved his way to success more decently. If only he had not been obsessed to Daisy, he might have had a better life. I think Gatsby is genuinely an innocent and straight forward person, it’s so pity that he dreams of the wrong person, and be mastered by the wrong master.
What does the setting of the book tell you about the way human beings are shaped?
Emerging from World War I, America became the wealthiest country in the world in the 1920s, when people suddenly had money to spend, and stock market boomed. There’s also a revolution in the society when women take part in work force and started to feel the freedom. Then Jazz Age added in the euphoria; lavish parties like Gatsby’s and free sexuality became a new trend. After the depressing war, people wants to break free, they often do crazy things just to release the years of burden from the war. In times like that people pursue easy money and high pleasure; while morality and ethics are abandoned, let alone religious.
What exactly is the writer telling you?
Fitzgerald criticizes the wildness of the Jazz Age that led to moral decays. On the other hand, he also warns us to not falling into a false dream. Everything should be achieved with hard working, focus and discipline (like Gatsby did). Gatsby has done the later, but failed in the previous (false dream), and that’s how he ‘falls’. But above all, we must maintain our morality always in the right path; God never sleeps! (and in this aspect, Gatsby wins from the other).
In what sense is the book true?
All that Fitzgerald says in this book is the reflection of modern civilization. Where hedonistic begins to grow, there would be a moral decay. God, moral, conscience would be abandoned, and replaced by the new gods: money and pleasure; and these are very relevant in our today’s civilization.