ESCIO, Fhaiza G.
KIMAN, Sitti Anija T.
Hum101a (A)
21 March 2014

A Reflection-Reaction Paper

A Midwestern veteran finds himself drowned to the past and lavish lifestyle of his
neighbor in the film titled “The Great Gatsby”, drawn from a novel which was written by F.
Scott Fitzgerald and published in the year 1925. The story primarily concerns a mysterious
nouveau riche young man questing for the love of a beautiful young lady Daisy Buchanan. It
was brought to life again in 2013 through a film which was directed by Baz Luhrmann,
accompanying a theme of drama, romance, lie and deceit. Moreover, it exemplifies the life in the
1920’s justifying the social malady as a problem during the Industrial Age.
The film exemplifies a place of uninhibited wealth and opulence where Wall Street was
booming, and bootleggers were in business due to the alcohol ban. The setting of the film depict
the various features of the 1920s American society in which is portrayed as an era of decayed
social and moral values, indication in its overarching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of
gratification. The spirit of the 1920’s was brought to life which could be seen in the theme of
parties evident in the use of music, “Jazz was such a revolution in that era” says the Australian-
born filmmaker, in infrastructures, like mansions, in which designs for the residence were based
on the great early-20th-century houses of Long Island’s North Shore and as well the life style of
people. Those ambitious speculators and diverse social climbers who attend Gatsby’s parties
evidence the greedy scuttle for affluence. Social divisions was also mirrored in the film, the clash
between “old money” and “new money” evident itself in the film’s setting: “East Egg represents
the old aristocracy, West Egg the newly rich, the valley of ashes the moral and social decay of

America” (SparkNotes Editors, 2002) in which its inhabitants were a picture of the low social
class in the 1920’s, and New York City the unrestrained, unscrupulous quest for wealth and bliss.
Moreover, the East is connected to the ethical crumble and societal cynicism of New York, while
the West (including Midwestern and northern areas such as Minnesota) is connected to more
traditional social standards and ideals.
In the story, Nick Carraway, a Yale student and a Midwestern boy who came from a
prominent family is one of the interesting characters in the film. He was the one who narrated
every piece of information in order for the viewers to grasp the whole thought of the movie. Nick
Carraway as a narrator epitomizes a creative literary artist because of creatively relating the story
in terms of its scenically engrossed setting. Though he can be considered as a creative literary
artist, in my opinion, he was more of an objective historian since his personality in the film and
the manner of how he narrated the story tells it all. He is a plain, straightforward, and morally
upright narrator giving us an undaunted look of the consequences of unrestrained wealth. A
narrator which embodies an objective historian since he related the story without any injected
thoughts and opinions providing evidence based information.
The film made us realize that in 1920’s there was no such thing as the American Dream
or the up-from-the-bootstraps self-made man. That a person is distinguished from what he is
born and attempting to change social classes would just lead to tragedy. Through the film which
brought us to take a peek into the 1920’s life made us recognize how the extent of social malady
was during the Industrial age. That during that time, society and class divisions were evident and
that the manifestations of lies and treachery was mainstream just to survive the battle for
affluence even if it takes to engage in unscrupulous activities.


Goldfarb, B. (2013). The Lavish Sets of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby : Architectural
Digest. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from http://www.architecturaldigest.com/ad/set-
Shmoop Editorial Team (2008, November 11). The Great Gatsby Themes. Retrieved March 21,
2014, from http://www.shmoop.com/great-gatsby/themes.html
SparkNotes Editors (2002). SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from

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