Comparing Wealth In The Great Gatsby And Their Eyes Were Watching God

1542 words - 7 pages

Wealth has both a good and a bad side. It can change the life of a person for the better or worse, and that is clearly shown in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Wealth effects the lives of the characters of Their Eyes Were Watching God very differently than the characters of The Great Gatsby. Janie’s wealth came about, mainly, from her failed relationships. Gatsby, on the other hand, earned his wealth, despite it being through questionable means. The characters also used their wealth for different reasons. Gatsby used his wealth in hopes to win back the love of his life, and Janie’s wealth was simply an asset to her. Even though ...view middle of the document...

The area where Janie lived was no where near wealthy, and being wealthy was not common, “"Take for instance that new house of his. It had two stories with porches, with bannisters and such things. The rest of the town looked like servants' quarters” (Hurston 65). These two locations both represent the culture of the time, like the prohibition and the Harlem Renaissance. The two novels focus a lot of how gossiping tells the stories of the main characters as well. In Gatsby, the people who attend his parties spend a great amount of time asking around about him, and how he specifically got his money. People did not know much about Gatsby’s life, so they made up insane stories that people spread around “You look at him sometimes when he thinks nobody’s looking at him, I’ll be he killed a man” (Fitzgerald 44). The characters of Their Eyes Were Watching God tell their stories by sitting on the front porch. The characters told the latest news, and got to know the people of the town by sitting on the porch, “Joe was already on the porch talking to a small group of men” (Hurston 53). The novels have similar themes and outcomes, but take place in vastly different locations.

Wealth is the defining factor for many relationships in The Great Gatsby. Tom and Daisy, for example base their entire relationship on their wealth. From first glance, their relationship seems genuine, like it really is true love. But looking closer, you realize that the relationship is superficial, “Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together” (Fitzgerald 179). Tom and Daisy are only together for what they provide each other. Tom gives daisy financial support, and Daisy gives Tom someone to come home to. They relied on each other for the esteem the public gave them, and they stayed together for the benefits they reaped from their relationship. Since wealth was undeniably one of the most important things a person could be in The Great Gatsby, it is not surprising that Jay Gatsby did whatever he could to be wealthy. Jay Gatsby’s love for Daisy was impossible from the beginning, but that was partly because he lacked riches. Gatsby spent five years gaining affluence just for Daisy. Gatsby became wealthy only for the chance to date Daisy, everything he bought was for her, (not a great sentence) “He hadn't once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes” (Fitzgerald 112). Gatsby changed everything about his life so he could become new money. Jay Gatsby became a bootlegger just to become rich because he knew this would make him more appealing to Daisy and her trivial beliefs. Tom, despite his married status was with another woman. Myrtle, a poor woman from the Valley of Ashes was with Tom for his money because she valued riches and materials so much. Wealth was so...

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