Sunday, December 11, 2011

American Doubt

The idea of the American Dream is defined in The Great Gatsby by the lack of ambition and determination as the 1920’s were based on the material gains that were accessible at this time. This in some ways is very relevant to the lack of belief in the American Dream in today society however for the alternative reason. Many have lost faith in the fact that their political leaders they feel are untrustworthy through the main issue that the economy has become so weak.

Both The Great Gatsby and this article talk about the large class divide in having much to do with the lack of faith in the American Dream. We immediately see the article as cynical from its first words “The American Dream was probably more of a political concoction to prove our way was better than the Soviet way, but when it worked, boy did it work well” this creates the idea that is seen in The Great Gatsby through the lack of belief in terms of Gatsby’s criminal activities for example. The theme of criminal activities likens with today's accusations that banks and governments had worked corruptly and therefore forced us into the economic situation of today.

The article portrays the realities of the lack of faith in the American Dream whereas The Great Gatsby even in its time of release could be questioned as many were not in the position portrayed by Fitzgerald although still in good circumstances. Therefore it is hard to relate to this rather than the fact stated in this article which many if not most would associate with.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

25 Symbols in The Great Gatsby: The American dream gone wrong

Through searching, I have found something quite interesting, it is called "The Twenty Five Symbols in the Great Gatsby"

It states various points of the story as a specific colour and what each colour symbolises, in reference to the story. It refers to symbolism of people and topics.

Color Symbolisms:

1) Gray is the color for dreariness. It symbolizes the lack of life and/or spirit. It is the place of no hope, no future. In the book this place is called the valley of ashes where everything is covered in gray dust-even the people. This would not be a place where you would want to be.

2) White is the color that has the deeper meaning of false purity or goodness. Daisy and Jordan are always seen in white. Also, Gatsby, when he wanted to meet Daisy again for the first time in 5 years, he wore a white suit as if to show that he was good and pure.

3) Green represents so many things in this novel. One thing is that it means is something to hope for, to reach out for, and a hope of new.Like the green light that is at the end of Daisy and Tom’s dock. In the first chapter Gatsby is reaching out for the light. He is reaching out for his hope of Daisy and a life with her It also represents wealth and prosperity. And both of these meanings correlate with each other because in the book, wealth is something to hope for and to reach out for.

4) Red represents blood and death, as in the bloody death of Myrtle.

5) Yellow is in many facets of the book. Yellow in general means corruptness and things that go bad. –Yellow leaves represent decay and corruptness. –The yellow of Gatsby’s car represents corrupt dishonesty and deception.

7) Gold represents wealth, but, more so, the show of wealth. Gatsby tried to win Daisy back by his parties and the show of wealth.

Symbolism of people

8) Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, epitomizes the idea of a shrub that supports life, vitality. Because she is full of life, and makes spontaneous descisions.

9) Daisy embodies a fragile flower, because she is a fragile person who can’t make up her own mind.

10) Tom represents power, but mostly the abuse of the power that he has been given.

11) Nick is someone who stands to the side. He has his own opinion, but he doesn’t always express it. However he was one of the main people who connected Gatsby to Daisy, which turned out to be a really bad thing. He was like the un-innocent bystander.

12) Gatsby represents the result of a dream deferred. He overestimated what it would be like with Daisy, so much that she could never in all her life live up to his expectations. The more that the hope did not come alive, the more he dreamed, and that made it all the worse for him and Daisy.

13) There is a character that we hardly ever see, and we do not even know his true name, however he is truly imperative to the book. He is called Owl-eyes. He is someone who appears to be all knowing and/or all seeing. And he is there for Gatsby when nearly no one else would be. He is like God in this book, or the twisted twenties version of him.

14) Also, There is a correlation between three people. These three people are Gatsby, Myrtle, and Wilson. They were the only people to ever have truly loved, and they were the only three people who died in that whole time of deception.

Miscellaneous Symbolisms

Besides the colors and people there are many things that add to the meaning and the depth of the book.

There is he billboard with T.J. Eckelburg. The billboard is right over the valley of ashes. The billboard consists of really big eyes and even bigger spectacles. There is a plethora of meanings behind this billboard:

15) There is the meaning that he watches over everything that goes on around in the valley.

16) Also, his glasses have yellow rims which symbolize corruptness in two different ways. (1) That all he sees is corruptness, and,(2) he sees through the eyes of someone who is corrupt.

17) The empty face represents the hollowness of people and their materialistic values.

18) The empty face also represents an empty, unresponding, and dead God.

19) The season of summer is hot, and it represents the heat and boiling point of the story and or conflict.

20) Cars are a status symbol and can also represent carelessness and/or recklessness.

21) Spring represents a new beginning, a clean slate to mess up all over again.

22) Another big symbol that is exemplified throughout the book is eggs. The East and West eggs are where they live, and there is always drama going on. An egg is white on the outside, and yellow on the inside. So on both sides of the spectrum there is deception everywhere. An egg symbolizes a false show of purity on the outside, but rotten and corrupt on the inside.

23) Also the east egg represents old money that has been passed down from generation to generation.

24) The west egg represents new money that the people who live inside there have earned.

25) There is always constant bickering between the eggs because the west eggers are rowdy and don’t know how to handle themselves amongst the continually wealthy people.

The reason why I chose to write about this is because I thought it would be interesting to break the story down and analyse each point in a different way. The colour symbolism is particularly interesting.

Great Gatsby's 'american dream'

The Great Gatsby has put doubt into the american dream, from this novel the 'dream' seems less achievable in a law abiding manner and more achievable through corruption. The 'american dream' has always based its priorities itself made success, however in the Great Gatsby, the success seen has all come from exterior help, for example; inheritance from family of friends. This novel promotes the only way a man/women can self make their own success or achieve this 'dream' is through crime, as did Jay Gatsby (although we are unsure of exact crime). Another reason for Jay's success is that he was given inheritance, this would start him on the road to riches.

This climb to riches only takes Gatsby a couple of years, which is seen as impossible nowadays without exterior help, the Great Gatsby gives a hard boiled version of the 'american dream' but not appropriate or saint like. This can be seen as the only way to achieve riches today, therefore showing how the american dream has changed through centuries. If we look at Ragged Dick, the rise to success is more righteous as Dick doesn't commit crime or offends anyone, however he does not reach the same riches as Jay Gatsby, showing that in order to accomplish high riches, you must do it through controversy.

“If Gatsby is the novel’s representation of the American dream, however, the dream must be a corrupt one, for Gatsby achieves it only through criminal activities, a fact that severely deflates the image of the honest, hardworking man that the dream is supposed to foster.” (Tyson, 2006)

Friday, December 9, 2011

'The Great Gatsby' in today's America

Fitzgerald writes about the times of The Jazz Age, an age of excess and indulgence. After WW1, America began to feel differently about how they should (and could) act. The 1920s brought with it a gaudiness that the upper middles class were more than willing to flaunt. The distribution of wealth at the time was staggering, with a rise in income for America as a whole at 9%, whereas the top 1% of the population saw a rise of 75%. This time also saw the birth of a new consumer economy, meaning that Americans had more money from higher wages, and more time to spend it due to the creation of weekends.

Also with this financial liberation came the liberation of women when they were awarded the vote in 1920. Women now had more choice, not only in the political arena, but in fashion as well. Flapper Girls were all the rage, with their short skirts and suggestive dancing, and smoking was now seen as an acceptable past time for women.

Technology was also advancing at an unprecedented rate when the first solo flight across the atlantic was completed by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. Overall, it's fair to suggest that the 20s represented an era of great change that produced excitement amongst the American citizens. The boom had brought a false sense of security, and the Wall Street crash in 1929 came as a startling wake up call for those under the spell of the American Dream.

Because of this, I believe that The Great Gatsby is still relevant today, even more so than ever before due to the state of the American economy. Another boom was experienced in recent years, and victory in the Gulf War could have attributed to the disillusionment of the American population, but now they are experiencing the bust. It is possible, therefore, for Americans to look at The Great Gatsby in hindsight and perhaps it is easier to do so now because it is set in a different era. Because of this, it's easier for people to take an outsider's view, and to see similarities that are easier to accept as it has already happened.
If there is a so-called American dream, it is in this constant turning over, in the belief that we can outrun time (and the ultimate destruction of death, as evidenced by our love of young celebrity) by forever attaching ourselves to the new. This is what Nick realizes in the book's mockingly bitter conclusion: "the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther."
Alexander Nazaryan, Daily News Staff Writer, (March 2011).
The thoughts and feelings of Fitzgerald are now reminiscent of those in America who have been let down by the American Dream. 9/11 woke America up, and now they are willing to listen to their previous mistakes, even though they may seem bittersweet.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


This is a recent advert by KFC.
The song they use is called "We Got Family" and this is used to highlight family values and imply that KFC brings the family together.
The video further emphasises this by showing family and neighbours all coming together around a big makeshift table eating KFC.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Coca-Cola -Christmas Ad

The advert I chose to use is the Christmas coca -cola TV advert. Coca-cola has been around since 1886. There have been many different versions of it made along with hundreds of various adverts shown on TV.
One specific one that I can think of is the Christmas coke advert.

Throughout the 1 minute clip we don't actually see the entire length of the trucks on screen we just see parts of it through the trees as it moves.

As the various trucks move through the city, passes trees, houses and buildings which all then light up - this would create a festive feel in the ad and make it appealing to its audience especially young children.

At the end as the truck moves away an animation/graphic of Santa is shown drinking the product this would be the most important part that centres the advert because it promotes the product in an effective way.

This advert clearly promotes the product well, as well as making it appealing and festive to its viewers.

The Christmas music fits perfectly with the topic and the season too.

BMW Commercial

Adverts are used to sell an organisation's product, however what this advert does so well, is the fact that the advert is selling and advertising the whole company not just one product. It states how they can make this perfect driving machine which all the best features, however they claim that these features are already relevant to present car models being sold and used today. this advert is a great marketing tool as it illustrating all of BMW car's strengths, promoting how they are a leading class in not just executive cars, but all cars in general.

There are problems with this advert however, as most adverts do, this one tells the audience that the cars run on some "electric energy", how it is "built from lightweight materials" and how it uses "fuel intelligently", although it never specifies what these features are. you can't say the uses fuel intelligently without backing this idea up, for example; saying how many miles to the gallon an average BMW does. what this advert lacks is precise details of common feature, whether this is because they are ashamed of stats and figures or they didn't have enough advert time to put all that information in. This advert is a prime example of great marketing, as it offers the audience the perfect experience if you buy one of their cars, it only represents the strengths of the company, which is what will sell to many customers.

The advert itself comes across as being well thought through and well funded, the tunnel scene seems very cinematic and well edited. The voice over tells the audience the minimal but exact amount of information needed to be explained in order to entice watchers. The music used comes across peacefully or calmly, this helps the audience believe that buying one of these cars will enable a calm and tranquil experience. Another things that this advert does so well, is that it doesn't promote itself to a specific group or audience, this advert can be shown to males or females of any ages or race.

Friday, December 2, 2011

American Consumerism

Nike has always had very iconic and memorable commercials and this 2011 one includes the same values seen in all. The message seems to portray the idea that Nike products empower consumers. Its use of multiple well known sports stars. They also use many ethnicities throughout the commercial signifying that sports can unite, erasing race or nationality when participating in sports. It also advertises the range of products they produce by portraying the fact they are suppliers and sponsors for all these athletes. It is important I feel for them to cover the many sports available and not just those that are the most popular including those sports with female role models. We are made to believe we too can become as good as those included in the advert.

The music I feel is very important to the visual as it encourages aggression and confidence needed to establish a correct mental attitude to participate in professional sports. The use of the slogan “just do it” at the end of the commercial finally connects the audience with the commercial as it’s something everyone can relate to and associate with.

I think it is significant that throughout the advert they do not focus on the products themselves but rather the athletes involved. It promotes a view of never giving up which has always been very closely attached to the attitudes of America.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

McDonalds- We Do Happy

This McDonald's advert is of interest for three main reasons:
  1. Its target audience
  2. The values it claims to embody
  3. The lack of product.
Advertising a Happy Meal, it's obvious why McDonalds have chosen to include so many children within their advert. The 'Happy Box' seems to incarnate feelings of joy and curiosity amongst those in the commercial. There are many different versions of the box, all with the symbolic colours of red and yellow, all of which encourage the children to play and laugh with their parents as they enjoy the box, almost as if it's a game. This could be problematic because of the appeal created for children of a fun experience included with the meal as the food inside the box isn't a part of a healthy, nutritional lifestyle. Interestingly, it could be argued that this advert is aimed as much at the parents as it is their children.
The campaign is designed to re-ignite parents' latent love for McDonald's as a family destination, by reminding them of the joy and fun of the Happy Meal family experience.
- Leo Burnett, McDonald's Happy Box.
Secondly, it's important to note the choice of music used within the advert. The use of the song "Glad All Over" makes the commercial upbeat and the repetitions of the lyrics "I'll make you happy" makes it easy to argue that the purpose of this advert is to suggest that Happy Meals create happiness. The joyous nature of the song, along with the images of several excited children, having a fun time with their families and friends, all connect to create an overall sense of fulfilment. This Happy Meal will not only fill their stomachs, but it will fill the void in family life which has come about due to modern living. Again, this raises issue of guilt for parents who feel they have failed their children, and puts blame on them for having unhappy family lives, suggesting that a Happy Meal could fix all of that.

Lastly, I find it interesting that there is never a single product shown in the advert, aside from the box. However, McDonald's isn't selling a red and yellow cardboard box, they are selling the food that comes inside it, and the experience achieved when consuming. As Julia Galeota mentions in her article, it is because of McDonald's iconic images that it is not necessary for them to include anything other than what they have; the audience knows what is being sold to them without needing to be told.
... the ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald's are now, according to Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, "more widely known that the Christian cross."
- Julia Galeota, 'Cultural Imperialism: An American Tradition', in The Humanist, (2004), p. 22
The word "McDonalds" never appears in the advert, instead it is represented by its logo. The fact that it can do that is enough to suggest that the company has established itself enough world wide (because the lack of any spoken language makes it an international advert) and can continue to claim values of happiness in its portrayals.