In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the events that occur at the character Gatsby’s parties and at his funeral are used to expose many of the negative morals the characters have. This reveals the values of the characters as well as the society’s, contributing to the meaning of the work as a whole. These are symbolic to the morals that Fitzgerald thought the 1920’s held. Through these events, and by depicting specific actions and behaviors, Fitzgerald is able to show that the Roaring Twenties and the American Dream were shallow and self-centered, with a lack of a unified society.
Gatsby throws excessively extravagant parties as evidenced by the number of guests, the lights, the food and the entertainment. For example, the juice from two hundred oranges is extracted every week for his parties. The reason Gatsby throws these huge, flashy parties is all part of his attempt to catch Daisy’s attention; either hoping that she would catch a glimpse of the bright lights across the bay or through word of mouth. However even with the grand scale of his parties, none of his guests seem to know who Gatsby is, some even coming up with ludicrous stories to explain his mystery. Most of these guests are simply there to enjoy the glamour, which they believe to be the American Dream. Though when examined closely, corruption is easy to spot. At the party in which Tom, Daisy, Jordan, and Tom attend is when this dishonesty is shown the most. Jordan and Nick meet two women in yellow that are entirely self-involved. Jordan asks these women if they come to the party often.
The women said, “I never care what I do, so I always have a good time,”(Fitzgerald 54). Her entire motivation in her life is to enjoy herself. When all she was asked was if she came to the parties often she also felt the need to inform the rest of the guests of her nominal story. The reason that these women are indicative of the generation is because of their egotistical nature. Also at this party, Nick and Jordan encounter a man in Gatsby’s library “Owl Eyes.” The strange thing about this man is that he is surprised of the library that Gatsby has collected. This gives the reader and this party guest an idea that Gatsby is not a stupid, but intelligent. Gatsby did not even care about what went on at the parties; all he wanted was to see Daisy. Unfortunately, the people at the party did not care too much about Gatsby either. Furthermore, the guests at his parties only show up as a way to prove their social status and to enjoy what they perceive as the American Dream. No one at the party shows more than a superficial curiosity for Gatsby’s character. This is shown at the end of the novel when no more than a handful of people show up at his funeral where there could have easily been hundreds of people at his parties. This emphasizes the hollowness of the American Dream.
When Gatsby dies, none of his “guests” attend his funeral. Gatsby never actually had a true friend other than Nick in his life. Even his co-worker Meyer Wolfsheim, said “I can’t do it- I can’t get mixed up in it” (171). Wolfsheim had no intention of ever seeing Gatsby. Klipspringer, a man who was known as “the border”, was more interested in retrieving his lost shoes than attending the funeral of the man whom he practically lived with. The only men who attend Gatsby’s funeral are Nick and surprisingly “Owl Eyes,” who discovered that Gatsby’s book collection was actually real. The people who were dealt with Gatsby never loved Gatsby; they loved his money.
The partygoers used him for pleasure, and his co-workers used him for leverage and an advantage. Tom and Daisy are also unable to attend. Even after Daisy has an affair with Gatsby and tells him she would love him forever, she ran right back to Tom. Everybody ran away once something bad happened. They new that Gatsby was not the only rich guy in New York or Long Island. His guest will just find another house to party and Wolfsheim will find another worker. During this time, people lived to have fun. Fitzgerald was showing the coldness and hollowness of the relationships people had during this time.
In both the party and the funeral, no one is there for him. He had no friends, other than Nick, to rely on when he was vulnerable. Fitzgerald showed how the roaring twenties was a tough time for a rich helpless man like Gatsby, looking for love. The people of his time on the East Coast of America were heartless and unable of having a true relationship with anyone. One way or another people would attempt to use each other. To them Gatsby was just another tool in their toolbox. Fitzgerald message about the human condition is still true till this day. It may not be as prominent as it was, but many people in this world still think like that.