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Which social groups are marginalized, excluded or silenced within

the text?
by Dmitry Karabutov
In his novel, The Great Gatsby, published in 1926, F. Scott
Fitzgerald has discussed various social issues of the Jazz-Age
American society, providing commentary on such themes as the
lack of justice, the abuse of power, the decadence of the rich and so
on. Fitzgerald has depicted a society in which the working class,
represented by Myrtle and George Wilson, is either silenced, or
excluded by the rich.
Early on in the novel, the reader gets introduced to the Valley
of Ashes, which is the area populated by the representatives of the
working class, who are described as ash-grey men, who move
dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. (p. 26) In
this scene, Nick Carraway first meets both Myrtle and George
Wilson. In this scene, Fitzgerald describes how the rich, represented
by Tom Buchanan, abuse the working class, represented by George
Wilson. This is shown immediately during the first dialogue between
Tom and George, where Tom, after being asked about selling one of
his cars, switches from jovially slapping George on the shoulder,
to a rather cold and blunt response, almost causing George to
stutter. Later on in the passage, when Nick covertly asks Tom,
whether or not George knows about his wife having an affair, Tom
says that George is so dumb he doesnt know hes alive.

Throughout the entire novel, George Wilson is portrayed as a


hard-working, honest, yet personality-less person, who is being
taken advantage of by Tom in every way possible. This, together
with Nick describing him as anemic looking and barely alive,
establishes the effect of exclusion of the working class. Fitzgerald
depicted the abuse of the poor by the rich, discussed above, by
presenting Tom Buchanan as egocentric and opprobrious. The
reader is shown how, not only does Tom constantly keep Wilson
dependent on him by promising to sell him his car, but also he is
engaged in adultery with his wife.
Fitzgerald shows the silencing of the working class during the
scene, where Tom Buchanan breaks his mistresses nose. Myrtles
periodic shouting of the name Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! reverberates
minor attempts of the working class to rebel against the rich across
the planet during the 1920s, which were violently oppressed. The
phrase Ill say whatever it whenever I want it to! signifies the
beginning of the fight of the working class for the freedom of speech
and the equality of opinion.
Myrtles death in chapter 9, shows how any attempt of the
working class members to move up the social ladder whether it be
out of greed, or out of any other reason, was not in fact welcome,
and therefore oppressed. The large use of personal pronouns such
as she and her, in lieu Myrtles name, represents the lower
working class as a whole, rather than Myrtle Wilson personally.

Through the novels narrator, Nick Carraway, F. Scott


Fitzgerald has depicted a society, that had just began its transition
from the classic social order, where the rich abuse the power in
their hands in order to both silence, and exclude the working class,
to a newer society, where the equality of opinions becomes a more
underlying social issue.

Word Count: 540