A Crumbling Society
Fictional stories becoming real problems
September 11, 2001. A day that will never be forgotten by Americans. A day that almost 3,000 Americans died. A day that 19 terrorists hijacked and crashed two passenger jets into the World Trade Center, one passenger jet into the Pentagon, and a fourth into Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the passengers attempted to regain control. These 19 terrorists were all part of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda.
Okay, that was pretty deep. Let’s research some history about Islam. Trust me, it is pretty interesting.
In 622 A.D, a man and a few of his followers, to escape persecution, fled to Medina (back then it was called as Yathrib). This is known as the Hijra and the man was named Muhammad.
Following that great feat, he managed to set up the second most populated religion, but whatever, who cares, right? Well, the whole world should. The overwhelming majority of the Middle East worships the Islamic Faith. What is in the news everyday? The Middle East. It seems like now the media would prefer a story about the Middle East, rather than something here in the States. When the Prophet Muhammad was doing what Prophets do, he meant for Islam to be peaceful (considering Islam literally translates to "Surrender"). How come we hear about all these treacherous and perilous stories about the Middle East, then? I know what you are thinking, and no, I am not saying that all 1.2 billion Muslims are evil, but there still is that small amount that is radical. In fact, between 2001 and 2007 Gallup conducted a face-to-face poll with tens of thousands of residents from more than 35 predominantly Muslim countries. They found that 90 percent of respondents condemned the terrorist activities.
With everything happening in the Middle East and here in the America, it is clear that the society of today is similar to that of The Great Gatsby. Their society was ruined because everybody would gossip behind each other’s backs. Thus, ruining the relationships they had and the relationships they would have had. The second reason they crumbled is because they were all so superficial. No one cared about another person. This is what present day society is moving towards.
Throughout the book, characters often gossiped. It was very frequent that characters would speak of Gatsby saying lies they thought to be real. They would say, “ . . . he was a German spy during the war.” (Fitzgerald, 44). Yes, gossiping is interesting and fun to do and we all do it, but these characters take it too far and let it control their lives and it seems like it is the only way they can live. That is what our media is moving towards as well. Stories with substance are often overlooked. People would rather watch “Jersey Shore” than the History Channel. We are all prone to wanting to see the juiciest and most exciting content even if it is not true! This is ruining our society because we are not being real and we cannot function as one if we do not trust each other. We are slowly turning into the blind sheep that ruled The Great Gatsby.
A second major flaw is that everyone is so superficial and cruel to each other. If any of the characters are in a relationship of any kind, whether it is Daisy being married to Tom, or Myrtle and Tom cheating, it was superficial. Daisy and Tom being married was superficial because they had no love for each other at all. They married because they were supposed to be married because they are both East Egg and have old money. In the book, when Jordan is telling Nick her story of Daisy’s wedding, Jordan says, “She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up into a wet ball . . .” (Fitzgerald, 76). The “wet ball” she was referring to was a note Daisy received from Gatsby. Daisy was drunk during this, which means that she had let down her guard and her true emotions of loving Gatsby were coming out. The next day she was her normal, superficial self and she married Tom, which was the socially acceptable thing to do.
Myrtle’s relationship with Tom shows this society’s superficiality too. Since she grew up in the Valley of Ashes, Myrtle was always poor. She did not want this life and was desperate to rid herself of it. She thought if her and Tom could get married, then she would make it out of the Valley. It seems like a fairly decent plan; but no, she got destroyed because in this society, that is not allowed. Aside from her getting hit by a car, she could not even mention Daisy’s name. In the book it says, “ ‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs. Wilson . . . Making a short, deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.” Breaking the rules of society only broke Myrtle.
This is similar to that of the culture in India and the Middle East. In 1950, article 15 of the Indian Constitution prohibited any discrimination based on Caste. There still is that discrimination, however. In the Caste System, there is a level of society called the “Untouchables”. No, it is not a group of people that prevent bootleggers from distributing alcohol. That was Kevin Costner. The Indian type of Untouchable is the lowest part of the society and they must endure the worst discrimination. They are also known as Dalits and these people are deemed impure and less than human from birth. Quotes from mainstream Indian newspapers give examples of how terrible it is. “Dalit boy beaten to death for plucking flowers.” “7 Dalits burnt alive in Caste clash.” “Police egged on mob to lynch Dalits.” This is literally what is written in newspapers! It is disgusting to think that some people view this as civilized and okay to continue doing. These people did nothing wrong; but by being born in a superficial society they were seen as evil.
In the Middle East women have very little rights. Women are basically covered from head to toe and they are not even allowed to drive cars! In Lebanon, 54 percent of students in universities are women, but women make up only 26 percent of the labor force. Women are not getting hired just because they are women! They may even be a better choice than a man, but he will end up be hired just because he is a man. If we all woke up tomorrow and this was how strict rules were in America, people would freak out; and rightly so, but this is just the way of life in the Middle East and it is normal for them.
Three women wearing what most women in The Middle East are required to wear.
Whether it is Gatsby’s broken society, or our society; it cannot function with superficiality and gossip decaying it. All the death and destruction brought to the fictional characters of The Great Gatsby will soon make a jump to reality if we do not right our wrongs and mend our society.