The Great Gatsby Interpretation

The Great Gatsby Interpretation

Interpreting The Great Gatsby, in other words the Great Gatsby Interpretation is almost like studying a primary record of the 1920’s. Not only is the text set in the period; it was written in the period by an author whose life has parables to a number of characters in the text, some of whom are based on figures in Fitzgerald’s life.

Wealth of the Great Gatsby Interpretation

Wealth and Materialism are two ideas represented throughout the text, and are told with a nihilistic quality. Gatsby’s wealth and status is a destructive force, as is the wealth of the Buchanan’s. Wealth is destructive as their decadent ways give them a sense of freedom they cannot manage in a beneficial way. The Buchanan’s life for instance, is ruled by the fact that they have everything, and even their daughter Pammy is affected by this sense of corruption of wealth and decadence.

Society and Status

Wealth also reflects status, and the upper class who have ‘attained’ the American Dream are undermined by their need to ‘keep up appearances’. It also enables them to exploit their status in order to stretch the confines of law and decency. Their privilege also comes with a sense of boredom and discontent, and a lack of trust for others. This is best represented by Gatsby’s funeral, where only three people attend. That is Society and Status of the Great Gatsby Interpretation.

Pursuit of Happiness

Gatsby’s pursuit of happiness a perspective of the Great Gatsby Interpretation, as with all the other characters, is a driving force of the text. The characters all leave ‘the west’ to pursue a happier life where prosperity will fulfill their hopes and dreams. Gatsby’s pursuit of Daisy too, is almost bordering on obsession, highlighting the lengths one’s wealth can go to pursue desire. It also represents the futility of such an exercise.


Ignorance of the Great Gatsby Interpretation is a key idea of Gatsby, as it reflects a brand of society which neglects politics and the needs of others. The natures of the characters in Gatsby are those who live in their own estranged community, essentially cut off from the outside world. It is this opulent community that Fitzgerald, through Carraway’s persona, carries a deal of cynicism. The irony is that despite their ‘high’ education, many of the characters refuse to pay attention to the world around them.


The integrity of the characters in Gatsby is in constant question. Gatsby’s connection with Wolfsheim, a New York gangster, indicates his wealth is probably generated from criminal activity. Similarly the integrity of Tom, whose brutish and dominant nature is a destructive element of his marriage and life, is questioned by his affair and his self-centredness. Carraway is in many ways revolted by their lack of integrity, driving his desire to leave New York at the conclusion of the text.

The 1920’s of the Great Gatsby Interpretation

Viewing The Great Gatsby through the decade of the 1920’s reveals a number of insights about the culture and people. Both Carraway and Gatsby are disenchanted WW1 veterans, as are many.  Many (called the Lost Generation) are disillusioned with civilian life and many turn to criminal activity, as is the case with Gatsby. Similarly, an age of young people who wish to cast off traditions, with Jazz Music and new technology offering new possibilities for youth.