F. Scott Fitzgerald Psychic?
The Great Gatsby foretells the downfall of modern society.
End of society?
Nineteen men hijack four planes; one man creeps into the home of a wealthy bootlegger. The clock strikes, the gun fires and the planes crash. Jay Gatsby gun down in his own home. New York City, The Pentagon, and a small town in Pennsylvania littered with the debris of destroyed planes. The murder of Jay Gatsby happened in a fictional book; the devastation of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened in real life. Are they different? Look deeper. Gatsby an iconic symbol of the wealth and prosperity during the 20’s gun down. The World Trade Center an iconic symbol of wealth and prosperity completely destroyed. After Gatsby was murdered his society turned to hell and collapsed. Now think, if Gatsby and the World Trade Center symbolize the same thing, and his society fell, and the spark of Gatsby’s societal collapse was the murder of Gatsby himself, is our spark for societal collapse the events of September 11th, 2001?
The spark for today's societal collapse.
Actions caused by the people creating a societal collapse.
Death of Gatsby
The Spark for societal collapse in the Great Gatsby.
The key to find out if our society is on the verge of collapse are the elements in which it may take for a society to collapse. These elements can be found by looking back at previous societal collapses, very much so like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel The Great Gatsby. Although The Great Gatsby may have been a fictional book, it is an undoubtedly a perfect reference of societal collapse. This is because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote based on his life experiences. Now you may be thinking that, “the book was written so long ago, things have obviously changed.” That is where you are wrong. The characters in the book are very much so like the people today. You have probably met or know of someone who is very self-centered and superficial. Just look at politicians for goodness sakes. Those people are like Daisy Buchanan. The time may have changed, but the people are the same. The down fall of society is brought upon by the people, the people who exercise poor character, the people who neglect their own mistakes, and the people who disguise their true selves by morphing their personalities into something over the top and outrageous.
An element for societal collapse that is created by people, and shown throughout The Great Gatsby and our society is neglect. Society is brought down by the people who do not take responsibility for their own actions. In The Great Gatsby Jordan Baker gives insight to the element of neglect when she is diving with Nick. Jordan states, “They’ll keep out of my way. It takes two to make and accident” (58). Jordan claims that her reckless driving will not be the primary cause of an accident, yet it will be other persons fault for not getting out of her way. Jordan neglects her own mistakes and passes the blame to others. This kind of mentality can be seen today. We as a society today watch television shows about people not owning up to their mistakes then getting caught in the act and then place the blame on others. That is what Jordan Baker does, she blames the other person and that is how society fell in The Great Gatsby. An example, Daisy and Tom blamed Gatsby so Wilson blamed Gatsby, causing Wilson to kill Gatsby, destroying the Gatsby society. We as a society love to place blame today, thus our society may just as well collapse like the society in the Great Gatsby.
Changing who you are.
Another crucial element that may link the downfall of our society with the downfall of the Gatsby society is, constant personality change. In The Great Gatsby this was a very prominent problem because there were multiple characters undergoing these personality changes. A character that underwent a gigantic personality change Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle was Tom Buchanan’s mistress and would constantly change from poor valley of ashes women, to party going east/west egg citizen. Nick was a witness to Myrtles transformation, Nick says, “Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before, and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream-colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room; with the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change” (30). When Myrtle changes her personality she becomes a liar, she has to lie to keep up her fake image. And it is the lies brought upon by the personality change that bring down society because it creates anarchy. Allow me to elaborate, government is about trust. We as people in the United States have to trust our government to do the right thing. If everyone lies the trust it broken and people start to only help themselves, thus society fails because the people who created society separate. Destroying society as we know it
Will we collapse...?
Society is created by people. People have to function as a unit, not pass blame and not lie to each other. We as a society have to work together to make sure we don’t collapse. Society is full of people; it is when the flawed people outnumber the unflawed. It is our job as members of society today to stop the flawed and not repeat past mistakes.