What determines the meaning of God? In religion, God is viewed as the originator and ruler of the universe. The origin of all life is believed to have begun from God. The Great Gatsby, by Francis Key Scott Fitzgerald, includes many themes, images and characters comparable to a God figure. The time period in which the novel is set, is a time of instability where the United States have just come out of the largest war to date. The “roaring 1920’s” as they were known, was the start of prohibition, the post-war times, a time of racism and a time of confusion.
The world of media and popular culture, the world of wealth and power, and the world of romantic love, all seem to be substitutes for God. The nineteen-twenties were a time where Americans were very dependant on religion and culture because of the violence around the world. After World War one, the countries involved entered into a depression because of the war. In the novel, the reader is introduced to the symbol Dr. T. J. Eckleberg. “… brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
Eckleberg is a symbol in the novel that is recognized as a worshiped figure in The Valley of Ashes and throughout the story. … the eyes in spite of everything they survey, perhaps even because of it, serve both as a focus and an undeviating base, a single point of reference in the midst of monstrous disorder. The appearance of Eckleberg on the billboard originated as a media advertisement and has been portrayed in a manner that suggests power and respect. Fitzgerald suggests that Eckleberg is a symbol in the story which substitutes for God.
This is also suggested through popular culture in the 1920’s. Pop culture included fashion, dance, music and other representations of the culture in the era. In The Great Gatsby, there are examples of the culture and how it relates and substitutes for God. Looking at modern times, the media and popular culture are even more like substitutes for God. Music artists such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are like a God to the youth of the twenty-first century. The media and popular culture are so influential and have been for decades that they appear as substitutes for God.
This fictional area of New York, East and West Egg, are home to many wealthy families and individuals. Nick Carraway, the narrator, first introduces West Egg to the reader when he mentions that he had moved there from the mid-west United States. Carraway moved to a large house beside Jay Gatsby’s gothic mansion. West egg is known as the side of the “new rich” where all residences have recently become wealthy. The contrasting side, East Egg, is a place of sophisticated social connections.
The wealth and power of the townspeople in the fictional New York town creates so much envy towards other people in East and West Egg that they are looked upon as role models. In current times, there are wealthy people in society such as Bill Gates who has such endless amounts of money and power that he is looked upon as a God from the public’s perspective. The wealth and power of individuals in the world is so influential to a social standing, that the individual is looked upon as a God to the society.
There are many relationships in the novel which greatly contribute to the story. The romantic love expressed as the story progresses is of great importance to the book. The most influential relationship that Fitzgerald includes is that of Gatsby and Daisy. Although these two characters are apart more than they are together, it is a main focus of the plot. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. ” The green light at the end of the dock, acts as a symbol for Gatsby’s love towards Daisy.
The other major relationship that Daisy is involved with is her marriage with Tom Buchanan. Buchanan is an extremely wealthy man who provides for his wife Daisy. The love between characters is so strong in many relationships that it convinces the reader to compare it to the strength of God. The many themes, images and characters expressed in The Great Gatsby act as substitutes for God. The world of media and popular culture, the world of wealth and power, and the world of romantic love are all, to some degree, substitutes for God, especially in the eyes of Fitzgerald.
These three topics all appear throughout the novel and help the story become such a high caliber book. Some of the examples of how God is substituted in novel are clear; however other relationships between these topics and God are only recognizable when analyzing examples in the story. It is very difficult to analyze a topic that can have so many definitions such as God. But by making these comparisons through The Great Gatsby, one certainly gains not only a better understanding of what God means to them, but certainly a better understanding of the novel as a whole.