Three Words that Lead to Failure

The Failure of Two Societies and their Causes

The Cause of Failure

The older generations talk negatively about the upcoming generation while they are together; It may be at a dinner party, or even at their child’s soccer games. Parents and adults constantly huddle around in circles and discuss problems in the modern day society in their hush and complaining attitudes. Most of these accusations tend to be negative. Have you ever heard parents or elders talking about how your generation just isn’t “good enough”? Is it because high school students are selfish and irresponsible or is it driven by jealousy? Why do they say these things? As a fellow high school student I understand your point of view. From the perspective of the older generations, the high school students just aren’t as respectful or motivated as they were. Similar to the high school society is the society in The Great Gatsby. Unlike these two societies, other societies can prosper and grow miraculously. What is the difference between these two types of societies? Teenagers and characters in The Great Gatsby are all consumed by self-interest and greed. They don’t see anything outside their “bubble”, nor do they contribute to their surroundings. A community needs the time and effort of everyone in order to succeed. The societies of The Great Gatsby and High School are bound to fail because of the overpowering presence of greed, self-interest, and neglect. With all of these characteristics put in one place, failure is impossible to prevent.

The Greed

In the eyes of a teenager, getting the new iPhone is more important than donating service hours to a soup kitchen. I mean who wouldn’t want a new Xbox game or an awesome new phone? Myrtle would rather be married to a rich and spoiling husband then being truly in love. Of course there are exceptions to this; there are some really good things that are done by teenagers and in The Great Gatsby. For example, Gatsby was driven by pure love to protect and take care of Daisy. Some teenagers spend their free time volunteering at powerful organizations and charities. Though we would like to believe this is true for all teenagers, it isn’t. Lets be honest, usually the reason for us teenagers to doing community service is for service hour requirements. Teenagers would rather be greedy and spend their time at the movies or hanging out with their friends. In The Great Gatsby similar greed takes place. Myrtle doesn’t even feel affection towards Tom. She says, “He had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him…” The first thing she notices was his expensive clothes. Myrtle Wilson would not care if she breaks her husband’s heart; she just seeks the material items such as a new puppy with bedazzled accessories. This is ruining society because people would rather spend money on worthless material items, instead of areas of need in their society.

The Oblivious Teenager

Teenagers always neglect their surroundings. Also, Daisy and Tom neglect the mess they leave behind when they move away from their problems. Nick explains, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made...” Whenever their marriage is experiencing difficulty, usually the cause of Tom’s lack of loyalty, they move on and leave the city. Have you noticed how much other people help you to succeed in life, such as your parents? I know I take this for granite. Daisy neglects Gatsby's actions and feelings. Gatsby has done everything in his power to get Daisy to notice him. When Daisy eventually meets Gatsby and realizes all the amazing things Jay Gatsby did for her, what does she do? She neglects his feelings completely and plays him, while shattering his life’s dream. This is just one of many examples of neglect, another one is all of Gatsby’s party guests neglect the respect for his belongings in his house. Us teenagers think we can get away with anything and come out of the situation untouched. Well contrary to popular belief, it is impossible. Eventually consequences catch up, and teenagers don’t realize it until it is right at the front door. This ruins society because without being aware of areas outside your own problems, then it would be impossible to improve the society. A key reason for the failure of a society is a simple concept called neglect.

The Obsession of One's Self

The ultimate and final reason for the failure of the Gatsby and High school society is the amount of self-interest that people contain. Teenagers either contain the two extreme amount of self-esteem than any other age, but mostly they have a strong ego. The increased self-interest causes everyone to do things for themselves and not for the good of the whole. Therefore instead of everyone being well off, there are few overly successful people and many more people struggling. The same idea is demonstrated in the character Daisy, in The Great Gatsby. Daisy committed a murder, but refused to take blame for it.” Yes,” Gatsby says, “but of course i'll say I was.” Gatsby takes complete responsibility for driving the car even though Daisy should have because she actually was driving. As a result, Wilson murdered Gatsby since he was falsely accused. She would rather live with the guilt than to take responsibility of her actions. She only sees the consequences of her life, nothing else. This increased self-interest makes societies, large or small, fail throughout history due to the fact that people will only help themselves.

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The Rich keep getting Richer and the Poor keep getting Poorer

As demonstrated from the graph above, the gap between the rich and poor is continually getting larger. This is caused by selfish people that are more worried about what is in their pocket and not caring about the people around them. This can apply to teenagers because they can create better habitats of being less self-conceited at an earlier age. This will decrease the size of the gap in the future.

The Future

One of the most common causes of the failure of societies is the characteristics of the people inside the community. Three characteristics that are notorious are greed, self-interest, and neglect. These are all present in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and the high school society. Even though these characteristics are negative, they are not permanent. There is still hope for these societies and in the future these societies can become successful. So, if you are a high school student go out of your way to be less greedy, neglectful, and self-conceded and the view point of the older generations may be reversed.


"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."

-Robert Kennedy


If the new generation lets go of neglect, greed, and self interest then the society will be bound to succeed. If we work together than we can change the events that lead to failure.