Lapham Ap Comp Essay

1261 words - 5 pages

Jordan Sakni 12/10/07Ms. Gulliti Ap CompositionLewis Lapham EssayWhile other societies value knowledge, power, and honor, for the American capitalist society value is synonymous with money. In his book, Money and Class in America, Lewis Lapham states, "The ardor of the American faith in money easily surpasses the intensity achieved by other societies in other times and places." This concept is clearly portrayed by the main characters in, both, the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the screenplay "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. These values referenced by Lapham are also evident in present day popular culture. This is portrayed through the lifestyle and actions of various American celebrities. In other words, the American value of money is so great that it can sometimes lead one to diverge from society's moral beliefs.The pursuit of money in America is so immense that people begin to lose focus of their ethical values. Although Gatsby has good intentions for his pursuit of money, he loses focus of his moral values. This is a consequence of his passion, his American passion, of attaining cache. Gatsby's desire for wealth stems from his interest in his dream girl from childhood, Daisy. Refusing Gatsby because he was not "wealthy" enough, Daisy married into the upper class. In order to achieve wealth, Gatsby participates in the illegal act of 'bootlegging'. He even begins to associate himself with a known criminal, Meyer Wolfsheim, in order to become wealthy. Meyer Wolfsheim is someone who epitomizes the concept of corruption in order to gain wealth. Some examples of his corrupt acts include fixing the 1919 World Series and murder. Furthermore, Gatsby throws lavish parties in order to display his wealth and allow others to envy his prosperity. The other characters in the book, Daisy and Myrtle, allow themselves to be put in terrible positions in order to be wealthy. For example, Daisy knows that her husband Tom has been cheating on her through the evidence of constant phone calls to the house by the women whom Tom has been seeing. However, she never confronts her husband because she doesn't want to lose her status as a member of the upper class. To an even greater extent, Myrtle, one of Tom's mistresses allows him to brutally beat her just because with Tom she has the hope of leaving her lower class society and moving toward the upper class. Evidently, the Great Gatsby demonstrates the American infatuation with money and the things people resort to in order to gain wealth.American desire and fascination with money as well as the corruption of morals can clearly be portrayed through popular culture. The American tabloids are an ideal representation of American fascination with money. For example, young celebrities such as Britney Spears are constantly in the news because they are rich. In most societies in the world, news stories revolve around politics, tragedies, and/or other significant material. However, in America, due to...

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