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'the Great Gatsby' in Contemporary Australia

Autor:   •  August 25, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,322 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,176 Views

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After almost a century after being written, ‘The Great Gatsby’ continues to be taught in classrooms all over the world and even been made into a 2013 Box Office smash hit! Set in America in the 1920’s, Gatsby deals with a lot of social issues including: drinking, reckless behaviour, dreams verse reality and social classes. Even in another country, in a totally different time period, these issues are still highly relevant to adolescent members of society. This is Ashleigh Walker talking to you today about the relevance of the Great Gatsby in a segment we here at Triple J like to call ‘School Matters’, where year 12’s from all across Australia get to put in their two cents about hot topics. Over the last week we have been inundated by opinions, facts, questions, queries and statements, I have spent hours going through all of them and have the best points outlined here for you today.

So why are year twelve students of the 21st century studying a book written in the 1920’s? Surely the contexts, both historical and social, have changed dramatically from that time? Not as much as you would think. Society is still obsessed with fame, and by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, individuals have no boundaries to obtain that fame. Society is still being tempted by the illegal acts which are deemed ‘cool’ by our peers; recreational drugs are the new bootleg alcohol and unfaithfulness in relationships is still a major issue influencing us teens. All of these themes are just as relevant today as they were almost 100 years ago. So instead of asking why are we studying it, shouldn’t the real question be: why are some schools not studying it?

Ask any teenager how they imagine their life in 15 years and the majority of those teens would say something to do with immortality. Fame, invention, being a CEO, all of our dreams require some degree of ‘making it’. How to get there though, seems to take a backseat. We, as a youth culture, do not imagine the hard work and integrity that go with all people in positions. Gatsby was obsessed with becoming rich and famous, so he used illegal activity to create the funds he needed to establish his fantasy life to gain Daisy. The method that Gatsby used was dependant on him not getting caught, instead of using the honest, hardworking and legal method, he opted for one which questioned his morals and values. In a book, this creates another dimension to a character, in real life, it does not work quite that well. ‘The Great Gatsby’ teaches us that the easy way out is not the best option. Gatsby acquired the money he thought he needed, but didn’t get what he actually wanted: Daisy.

Adolescents today are exposed to many different images of perfection. What to look like, how to act, what to eat, every aspect of life is set out for us to follow. We are expected to conform to societies ideas of what we should be like,


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