Best 23 What Overall Idea Is Fitzgerald Criticizing With This Quote

Title: Best 23: What Overall Idea Is Fitzgerald Criticizing With This Quote?


F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, is widely known for his keen observations and criticism of the society he lived in. Through his timeless novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald delves into the intricacies of the American Dream and its corrupting influence on individuals. In this article, we will explore a particular quote from the novel and decipher the overarching concept that Fitzgerald is criticizing. Additionally, a FAQs section will address common queries surrounding Fitzgerald’s critique.

What Quote Are We Analyzing?

The quote in question is from Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby: “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.”

The Criticism Unveiled:

Fitzgerald’s quote encapsulates his critique of the careless and morally corrupt nature of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, two of the novel’s central characters. Through their actions and attitudes, Fitzgerald exposes the hollowness and emptiness of the rich and privileged class. Tom and Daisy’s wealth acts as a protective shield that allows them to escape the consequences of their reckless behavior. The author suggests that the pursuit of material wealth and social status leads to a disregard for human connections and ethical responsibilities.

The Critique of the American Dream:

Fitzgerald’s criticism extends beyond the characters of Tom and Daisy to encompass the entire notion of the American Dream. The quote highlights the idea that wealth and success can create a barrier between the elite and the rest of society, allowing them to remain indifferent to the consequences of their actions. By portraying the Buchanans as careless, Fitzgerald challenges the belief that material prosperity is the ultimate measure of happiness and fulfillment. He questions the values upon which the American Dream is built, suggesting that it often leads to moral decay and the erosion of genuine human relationships.

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Q: How does Fitzgerald use symbolism to reinforce his critique?

A: Fitzgerald employs various symbols throughout the novel to reinforce his critique. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock represents the elusive and unattainable nature of the American Dream. The Valley of Ashes symbolizes the moral and social decay caused by the pursuit of wealth. These symbols contribute to Fitzgerald’s overall criticism of the corrupting influence of materialism.

Q: Does Fitzgerald offer any alternative to his critique?

A: While Fitzgerald does not explicitly provide a solution, he presents Nick Carraway, the novel’s narrator, as a moral compass and a voice of reason. Nick’s disillusionment with the wealthy class and his eventual rejection of their lifestyle suggest that genuine human connections and integrity are the antidote to the moral decay associated with the American Dream.

Q: Is Fitzgerald’s critique still relevant today?

A: Absolutely. The themes explored in The Great Gatsby resonate with contemporary society. The pursuit of wealth, the superficiality of social status, and the erosion of moral values are still prevalent issues. Fitzgerald’s critique serves as a reminder to reassess our priorities and question the destructive consequences of the relentless pursuit of material success.


Through his piercing critique in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald unveils the flaws and dangers of the American Dream, highlighting the moral decay and indifference that can accompany wealth and privilege. His quote about Tom and Daisy Buchanan serves as a powerful indictment of the careless and morally bankrupt nature of the upper class. By critically analyzing Fitzgerald’s work, we gain valuable insights into the corrosive effects of materialism and the importance of genuine human connections and ethical responsibility in our pursuit of happiness.

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