Materialism And Wealth In The Great Gatsby

1533 Words 7 Pages
In the roaring twenties, materialism and wealth were the keys to happiness. F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts this in his novel The Great Gatsby. The characters used their materialism and wealth to build their perfect utopia, for dominance, comfort, and love. With the help of geography, Fitzgerald analyzes and explores the horrid truth of American wealth and materialism through Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby.
Myrtle Wilson lives in the Valley of Ashes “where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens […] with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air” (23). A chilling image of mental and physical poverty depicts Myrtle’s class and wealth. In the
…show more content…
This means that he inherited his money from his rich family through the generations. He was originally from the West just like Nick, Daisy, Jordan, and Gatsby. Unlike his and Myrtle’s apartment, he has a huge elaborate house, showing off his wealth. Tom has this supercilious, arrogant, and cruel manner about him. This is because he has comfort in his money that gives him an over-bearing confidence. He resides in his money. Nick describes him as having an “enormous power of that body” (7). Money equals power; the more money someone has, the more powerful they are. Tom feels the need to have control over everything and believes it is his right to because he is a rich white male. He has flings with many women of the lower class because he believes he is above them and has control. He treats the lower class as inferiors because they are poor, he bosses them around thinking that he is above everyone. An episode that shows how he treats the lower class is what he does to Myrtle when she shouts Daisy’s name and, “making a short deft movement, [he] broke her nose with his open hand” (37). He always defaults to using his muscle which symbolizes his power, it was uncalled for and no one said a thing to him because of his class. He does not have to worry about any consequences because his money protects him. Tom believes that he is above everyone else, even fellow rich people. He hates new money and would never be caught at one of …show more content…
He started from nothing and climbed his way to the top, but no matter how much money he makes or how big of a house he has, he will never fit in with the old money. There is this unpassable chasm between the two classes. Jay Gatsby always wanted to make something of himself even from a young age he had a plan to save money. Gatsby is ashamed of his origins, so he leave all of it behind to follow his dream; money. It is after he falls in love with Daisy that his want for money grows into a need. He stops at nothing to gain money and Daisy’s love. He buys his mansion for Daisy, he buys the golden hair brush for her, and he does everything for her. In chapter five, Fitzgerald shows the reader how important his materials are to him to impress Daisy. Nick describes that, “[w]hen I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire. Two o’clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light […] It was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar” (81). He is looking at his house through Daisy’s eyes, in all of its glory, and when she does see the house he has to show off every room. He wants to erase the past five years and have everything the same except now he is rich. Nick tells him that he cannot repeat the past and his response is, “can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” (110). Jay Gatsby is like Myrtle in the sense that he is trying to build a life

Related Documents