Punishment In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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By punishing only the poor out of those who commit wrongdoings, F. Scott Fitzgerald expresses his opinion about the power of the wealthy in his novel The Great Gatsby. Both Daisy Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson cheat on their husbands; however, Daisy’s prominent standing protects her from receiving an equivalent punishment to the retribution Myrtle suffers. Jay Gatsby and Meyer Wolfsheim also present an example of the rich escaping repercussions. Despite both men illegally acquiring their riches, only Gatsby experiences consequences for his actions. In addition, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby both covet another man’s wife, yet Tom’s prominence in society prevents him from enduring a punishment similar to Gatsby’s. Although both the poor and the wealthy …show more content…
In New York, Meyer Wolfsheim is a well-known gambler who earns his money off cons; however, he always avoids the repercussions of these illegal practices. Clearly, Wolfsheim has power, especially in the gambling world because “he’s the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919” and earned a large profit from the venture (73). Wolfsheim can commit these crimes due to the fact that “[t]hey can’t get him… [because] he’s a smart man” and has the influence of his wealth to keep him above the rules (73). He never has to face the consequences of his actions as a result of his wealth, because with wealth comes power. Jay Gatsby, on the other hand, also illegally obtained the majority of his riches but must endure the punishment for his actions. Even though he seems to have power and a strong influence over others, Gatsby does not implement his wealth to gain power as Wolfsheim does, and these humble ideals cause him to encounter punishment for his actions. Gatsby possesses money, but he remains truly poor, and must face punishment for his cheating as his true self, James Gatz. When Tom realizes that Gatsby “hangs around with Meyer Wolfsheim,” and that is how he makes his money, Tom refers to Gatsby as “a common swindler” and “a bootlegger” who does not truly belong among the wealthy upper class (133). Daisy hears that Gatsby has cheated to acquire his money, …show more content…
Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, several characters commit wrongdoings, yet only the poor receive punishment; therefore, this imbalance portrays Fitzgerald’s thoughts of the wealthy’s power. Despite both women cheating on their husbands, Daisy Buchanan’s wealth shield’s her from repercussions, while the impoverished Myrtle faces a harsh punishment for her behavior. Further, Jay Gatsby and Meyer Wolfsheim both illegally obtain the majority of their money, yet Wolfsheim’s greater power protects him from experiencing an equal punishment to the consequences Gatsby faces. Finally, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby both covet another man’s wife; however, Tom’s wealth gives him more of an influence, and he is unbothered with rules, while Gatsby receives punishment for his actions. The more wealth a person acquires, the more influential that person will become. Fitzgerald employs these characters to encompass his belief that the wealthy have more power in comparison to the poor and will not encounter consequences for their actions even if their actions are the same as a poor

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