Get help from the best in academic writing.

Biblical Allusions in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of a world lost to superficiality and greed. Falsehood and deception are the currency which fuels the characters in the novel. Dwelling in this fallen world, Fitzgerald has placed a fallen god. Gatsby is bathed in descriptions that identify him as the Son of God. Fitzgerald makes a conscious effort to clothe this character with imagery and actions to make him the patron deity of this fallen world, but Gatsby is too much enveloped by his surroundings to save them and is consumed in the attempt. Despite the biblical allusions, strong images and explicit statements identifying Gatsby with Christ, the prevailing tone of the novel prevents him from being a Christ-figure.

A strong pattern of biblical allusions establishes an image of Gatsby as Jesus. The very first description of Gatsby conjures biblical images. Gatsby is described as having “a heightened sensitivity to the promises of life” and “an extraordinary gift for hope” (6). Jesus “came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, identifies hope as the second of the three theological virtues (13:13). Furthermore, Nick describes Gatsby’s handwriting as “majestic,” suggesting the kingship of Christ (46). Gatsby’s kingdom, like Jesus’ is “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36). When Gatsby stands in his yard, surveying the stars, Nick describes him as laying claim to a section of the “heavens” (25). Gatsby’s parties are even reminiscent of biblical themes. Nick observes that “people were not invited; they went there” (45). This recalls the parable of the wedding feast, in which, lacking invited guests, the king sends his soldiers out to the highways to gather …

… middle of paper …

…Marius. “Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of America.” Modern Critical Interpretations: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Ed. Harold Bloom.

New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 11-27.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. England: Penguin, 1990.

Hack, Robert and Libby Stockstill. “Colour in The Great Gatsby.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as Criticism of American Society

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes American society in the 1920?s for its tendencies to waste, advertise, form superficial relationships, and obsess over appearances. The work has been praised for both its brutal realism and its keen depiction of the age that The New York Times referred to as the era when, ‘gin was the national drink and sex was the national obsession'(Fitzgerald vii). ‘ . . . indifference is presented as a moral failure – a failure of society, particularly the society of the American east to recognize the imperatives of truth and honesty and justice? (Gallo 35).

F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes the wasteful tendencies of American society. He uses the valley of ashes to refer to this ugly aspect of American society. The valley of ashes is a bleak area situated between the West Egg and New York City, ‘where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air'(Fitzgerald 23). This unpleasant wasteland is located right along the roadway and train route between the eggs, home of the lofty aristocrats, and New York City, the exciting and fashionable metropolis where many of the nations wealthiest people live, work, and entertain themselves. ‘There is no essential difference between the moneyed wastelands of New York City and Long Island and the valley of ashes,’ (Gallo 49) Referring to an eye doctor’s billboard in the valley of ashes, Nick, our narrator comments:

Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But …

… middle of paper …

… Moment: The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1970.

Whitley, John S. F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The Great Gatsby.” London: Edward Arnold, 1976.


Thesis statement: In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes American society in the 1920?s for its tendency to waste, advertise, form superficial relationships, and obsess over appearances.

I. Introduction

A. Literary Classic

B. Societal Criticism

1. wasteful tendency

2. advertising obsession

3. superficial relationships

4. appearances fixation

II. Wasteful Tendency

A. Valley of Ashes

B. Gatsby

C. Tom and Daisy

III. Advertising Obsession

A. Billboard

B. McKees

C. Tom

D. Daisy

E. Gatsby

III. Appearances Fixation

A. Myrtle

B. Catherine

C. Gatsby

IV. Superficial Relationships

A. Billboard

B. Myrtle?s Party

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.