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Greed And Wealth In The Characters Of The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1087 words - 4 pages

In today’s society, people are judged by their values or are frightened to take sacrifices to better benefit their lifestyle. Characters like Gatsby, Tom, Daisy and Myrtle are shown as evidence of greed and how wealth surrounds their values. Fitzgerald uses social commentary to offer a glance of an American life in the 1920s. He carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups, but in the end, each group has its own problems to contend with, leaving powerful ideas for readers to adapt(add morals characters inhabit). By creating distinct social classes, old money, new money, and no money, Fitzgerald sends strong messages about the elitism running throughout every perspective of society. F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays characters like Nick, Tom, Daisy, Jordan and Wilson/Myrtle negatively in society and shows how different class system lack morality and social values.
The first and most obvious group Fitzgerald attacks is the rich. For many of those of modest means, the rich seem to be unified by their money. They are basically surrounded with the mindset of being wealthy. However, Fitzgerald reveals this is not the case. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents two distinct types of wealthy people. First, there are people like the Buchanans and Jordan Baker who were born into wealth. Their families have had money for many generations; they are "old money." As portrayed in the novel, the "old money" people don't have to work and they spend their time amusing themselves with whatever takes their fancy. Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and the distinct social class they represent are perhaps the story's most elitist group, imposing distinctions on the other people of wealth (like Gatsby) based

not so much on how much money one has, but where that money came from and when it was acquired. For the "old money" people, the fact that Gatsby (and many other people like him in the 1920s) has only just recently acquired his money is reason enough to dislike him. In their way of thinking, he can't possibly have the same treatment, sensibility, and taste they have. Not only does he work for a living, but he comes from a low-class background which, in their opinion, means he cannot possibly be like them. The "new money" people cannot be like them, and in many ways that works in their favor — those in society's highest levels are not nice people at all. They are judgmental and shallow, failing to look at the essence of the people around them (and themselves, too). Instead, they live their lives in such a way as to preserve their sense of superiority. The people with newly acquired wealth, like Gatsby’s party people, aren't necessarily much better. They attend his parties, drink his liquor, and eat his food, never once taking the time to even meet their host (they don’t even bother to wait for an invitation, they just show up). When Gatsby dies, all the people who frequented his house every week mysteriously became busy elsewhere, abandoning Gatsby when he could no longer do...

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