The Character of Our Society

What will be the result of America's many flaws?

Two Imperfect Societies

We are headed for a downfall. Our country is selfish. Our country is superficial. Our people are fake. Our government is corrupt. This society we live in is disturbingly similar to the one Gatsby lived in. In the end, that society failed miserably. It failed because of all the lies, fakeness, and selfishness of the people. The parallels are clear. If we do not make serious changes to the way we think, I am afraid we will experience some sort of catastrophe, just as the people in Gatsby’s society did. If we act like the fake, selfish, superficial people of Gatsby’s community, we will meet the same fate. As a society, we must change in order to prevent our destruction.

We are headed in a downward spiral because of the way we are wired. The individuals in our society are flawed as well as our society as a whole. This environment will be the cause of America's downfall. Our country’s history is filled with examples of how selfish we are. One example is the Trail of Tears. In the early 18th century, our government forcibly removed the Cherokee Indians from their native land. In the process, 4,000 Native Americans lost their lives. They never committed any crimes. They only happened to be living on land that was valuable to our country, and for this they were forced to suffer a long, grueling journey to far away lands. The only reason we did this to them was because we wanted the resources this land had to offer. This was extremely selfish, and it’s things like these that have characterized us as a nation. An example of selfishness in The Great Gatsby was Daisy's reaction to Gatsby's unfortunate death. Nick says, "And I could only remember, without resentment,that Daisy hadn't sent a message or a flower." (Fitzgerald 174) This is a perfect example of how selfish Daisy was. Gatsby risked everything for her. He acquired all his wealth just to win her over, and she didn't even seem to care when he was murdered. She simply went on with her life, not even bothering to show up to Gatsby’s funeral. The thought of risking her social status for that was simply unheard of. Sadly, our nation is becoming increasingly similar to this community. Our country must not become any more like the society in The Great Gatsby. Our fate depends on it.

A Superficial Nation

One negative trait our country possesses is superficiality. This is ruining our society because it causes people to think that outward appearances and possessions are more important than inward morals. An example of this in The Great Gatsby was how Daisy chose Tom over Gatsby. She came from a rich background, and Gatsby did not. When Gatsby left for the war, Daisy met Tom, who had all the money in the world. She chose him because he had money and Gatsby didn't. This decision was a major cause of the downfall in this story. If she would have chosen Gatsby, neither Myrtle Wilson nor Gatsby himself would have been killed. They would never have had anything to do with each other. Our society today is also very superficial. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to look perfect. For example, you turn on your TV. Those beautiful, sculpted models on the commercials reflect how incredibly superficial our country is. We place impossibly high standards on people because of how highly we value outward appearances. This causes many problems in our society. In fact, about 8 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. The following quote is from Leslie Lipton, author of the newly released book Unwell, which was inspired by her own five-year struggle with anorexia: “There is so much discussion about models being too skinny that it is so important to realize how much these models influence how teenagers and grown women, even senior citizens, perceive themselves, and how this can play a role in this particular mental illness. Anorexia nervosa is a disorder that affects 2.5 million Americans and has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.” This quote shows the effect of this superficial pressure on millions of women, young and old. This is a serious problem for our country. We can't continue with this mindset; the mindset that says if you don't have superior looks, money, or social standing, you will never find love. This is incredibly superficial, and as a nation, we must stop this idea before it ruins us.

A Self- Centered Mindset

Another huge problem with our country is how self centered we are. That sort of attitude will be a contributing factor in our downfall if it is not fixed. This was also the case with the society in The Great Gatsby, and the self centered mindset of those people was a cause of that whole catastrophe. In our society, we see examples of this in every stage of life, especially during high school. You can see it as soon as you walk in the doors. A group of friends giggling at some insensitive joke. A couple of people copying homework. Another group posing for a Facebook picture. It seems to me that many people seem to act like reality TV show contestants. If this is how the high school society is, then that is what the society will look like in the future. Obsessed with power, greedy, and always in it for themselves, these people don't care about anyone else. We all know or remember people like that. Maybe you were one of those people or are one of those people. Whatever the case is, the society we live in is much too self centered. In a very similar way, the people in the Great Gatsby were extremely self centered, and that contributed to the downfall of that society. An example of this would be Tom Buchanan's affair with Myrtle Wilson. Tom selfishly cheated on his wife because of his lack of commitment and respect for her. He also Did this because he simply wanted more pleasure in his life. He didn't care about what it would do to anyone else, which was very selfish of him. In the end, this got myrtle and George Wilson involved, who both died and contributed heavily to this society's failure. Selfishness is an ugly thing, and our society can not succeed while it is so prevalent in our culture.


We need to change. As individuals, and as a society, we need to change. If we do not correct our country's many flaws, we will fall, just like the society in The Great Gatsby. Our country's future depends on the morals and character of this next generation of Americans, and right now that character in general is very flawed. The problems we have can be fixed. As individuals, we can change our selfish, superficial ways. We must. The future of our country depends on it.