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Economy And Social Class In The Articles "Class Matters" And In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

838 words - 4 pages

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel, the Great Gatsby, during the 1920s. This decade was characterized by economic and cultural change. With the growth of a new class of new money, Americans began to grow tired of the different social standards of the each social rank and attempted to move into a higher class. Fitzgerald focused on this disparity between classes and several class issues, specifically class mobility. In the year 2005, several journalists wrote and published a group of essays known as Class Matters. These essays discuss modern social and economic class structure and associated class issues. An essential theme in each of these novels is class mobility. The Great Gatsby and Class Matters both explore the differences between classes and the lack of class mobility in order and bring attention to the class imbalance.
Class Matters and the Great Gatsby both describe the differences between classes to show how unalike they are. Fitzgerald does this with color symbolism and his characters. He uses several colors as symbols to help him demonstrate the disparity in-between the economic classes. The East Egg homes are described as “white palaces.” The color white stands as a strong symbol of superiority and wealth (Bloom). Fitzgerald describes the valley of ashes as a dull, grey environment. Fitzgerald uses his characters to show the difference in social class. Tom Buchanans is a member of an incredibly wealthy family. Fitzgerald describes Tom as having “two shining arrogant eyes…and a voice full of contempt” (7). Meanwhile, Jay Gatsby, the novel’s protagonist, comes from an incredibly poor family and is described as having an aura of trust and understanding (48). Fitzgerald uses the two contrasting descriptions to show how Tom, who stands as the symbol of the old wealth, is arrogant and mean. He also has a very specific way of doing things and an utter disregard for the well-being of his associates. Fitzgerald gives Tom these personality traits to show how overbearing the old money has become. Gatsby, on the other hand, stands as a symbol for the new money class. He is kind and heartfelt. Gatsby’s main goal is simply to win Daisy back. He dose not care about anything else. However, “Gatsby can never hope to obtain daisy because he doesn’t have the ‘Right’ kind of money” (Hickney). This further highlights the disparity between social classes, as the upper class is very strict and rigid while the lower is freer and less constrained. Class Matters also addresses...

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