What was the main theme of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

I need help interpreting the main message of "The Great Gatsby." Was it:

1) A love story

2) A social commentary on life in the 1920s

Or something else?

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  • Favorite Answer

    The main theme of "Gatsby" is close to your No. 2. It can be labelled as "Moral Emptiness"

    In this theme, people have no deep or meaningful thoughts, emotions, or beliefs. The act is replaced by the gesture, and genuine emotion gives way to whatever appearance of emotion is most convenient at the time. Nick captures the essence of this superficial world by describing Gatsby's life as an unbroken series of succesful gestures. Daisy Buchanan is like a "silver ballloon", pretty to look at but empty inside. She has no commitments or loyalties, and changes roles according to the moment. Jordan Baker drifts from party to party in search of meaning, but can never find it because she is to hollow. Fitzgerald's characters live in a world of social and personal insecurity, undefined goals, and preoccupation with status. In Gatsby's world, there is no distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, true and false.. Potential is squandered and power is misguided...energy dissipated. Love does not exist in the Wasteland; there are no roots or spiritual ideals, no intelligence or questioning of values, only false sentiment and the relentless pursuit of money...

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What was the main theme of "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

    I need help interpreting the main message of "The Great Gatsby." Was it:

    1) A love story

    2) A social commentary on life in the 1920s

    Or something else?

    Source(s): main theme quot great gatsby quot scott fitzgerald: https://shortly.im/2kFbb
  • 10 years ago

    It was a critique of 1920s high society based in a love story.

    Daisy Buchanan is torn between her arrogant, old money husband, Tom Buchanan, and the new money millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Each of the characters reflects the theme of the time period. Tom Buchanan is a millionaire concerned with his social status. Jay Gatsby has a very questionable past. Daisy Buchanan is shallow and can't decide between true love with Gatsby or maintaining appearances with her husband. The whole story is set in the backdrop of the 1920s, which is portrayed as an aimless era of juvenile partying, flamboyance, and socialising.

  • If I had to go for either of those I'd say it was a social commentary of life in the 1920s, but really it was more of a critique of the superficial money based life of people like Daisy.

    Gatsby has become rich so he can love Daisy and is rich to such an extreme that it borders on satire (think of the scene where he is showing Daisy round his house and is thowing handfuls of shirts out of his closet and Daisy says something about how she has 'never seen so many nice shirts before), but all that money can't buy happiness.

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  • 10 years ago

    Only on the surface is "The Great Gatsby" a love story in the traditional sense, as between Gatsby and Daisy; it is more of a love story between people of the 1920s and money, as well as all the material possessions and appearance of social status that could be obtained by wealth. On a deeper level, Fitzgerald's best known novel is about post-World War I decadence, loss of innocence and moral values, greed and corruption that resulted in the death of the original American dream which is supplanted by the pursuit of so-called happiness in the name of the kind of wild parties thrown every Saturday night by Gatsby. Still deeper is the darkness in Man's heart and soul that leads him to need material happiness, as Daisy does to such a strong degree, and the lust to obtain power and the impression of something more than superficial wealth exhibited by Gatsby's hopeless monetary pursuit of Daisy. No amount of money could buy Daisy's love, if only because of the differences in their social status: that of old money, and that of new money.

  • 10 years ago

    It is the second with the love theme interwoven.

    The whole story is about a snob society who have nothing to do and have made their money the easy way or have inherited it and despise people who actually do work.

    Gatsby though very talented and with big money,which he acquired in a rather dubious way,tries everything to win back the girl he lost because of his social position. She also loves him but in her own way,when it comes to the point where she has to choose between the man who loves her and her social position,she prefers to go back to her unhappy relationship than to give up her social position.

    The whole story is about fitting in.

    Source(s): 45 years of constant reading
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It was basically a description of life in 1920s America based in a love story. It contains certain themes of the time. Prohibition and bootlegging, "Old Money" vs. "New Money," the Bohemian atmosphere of the era, the aftermath of WWI, and the corruption of the American dream.

    Basically, it showed life back then as a pointless display of class and partying.

  • ?
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Mostly A social commentary on like in the 1920's.

    Direct yourself to sparknotes and Wikipedia, that should help:

    http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Gatsby

  • 10 years ago

    The need to redefine your life to become what you want.

    Gatsby made himself into what he wanted to be, to woo Daisy, but he loved the notion of her love with the lifestyle.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    the main theme was money

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