Material Love Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

“We are living in a material world.” This quintessential quote of Madonna’s from the song “Material Girl” equates mans relation with money. The world is not run by people, but by material goods and money. Ever since the beginning of monetary means, the amount of money one possessed dictated their status and opportunities for marriage. Likewise marriages can even center on money, and are often arranged to be profitable. This was especially true in the roaring 1920s and in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is a story about social standing, riches, and love in that time period centering on Jay Gatsby and his affection for Daisy Buchanan, wife of the controlling philanderer Tom Buchanan. Their story is told from the point of view of the narrator and Gatsby’s neighbor Nick Carraway. In the novel Gatsby is a symbol of the opulence of the time period and he has no problem flaunting his massive fortune. People in the novel are defined by their wealth and as a result true loves between the characters manifests itself as a love of money.
Gatsby was not born into a life of luxury. Originally James Gatz, an ambitious young man from Minnesota, he was never happy with his position in the world. He refused to accept that his impoverished farming parents as his real parents (98), and his lust for a better life became a craving for money. When young Gatz met the older wealthy Dan Cody he got a taste of the good life, and from then on he was hooked. He even changed his name to Jay Gatsby in order to create a new persona that emanated affluence. His whole life then became based on money. Everything he did from then on was based on his want for money and the status that came with it.
When World War One broke out Gatsby was drafted, and trained in Louisville Kentucky. There he met the beautiful well off Daisy. Gatsby immediately associated her with money. Fitzgerald refers to her as “the golden girl” (120) implying that Daisy is a prize that has mere monetary value like a precious metal. Even Gatsby believes that “her voice is full of money” (120). Daisy’s high standing in society has left her family’s wealth ingrained on her DNA. Money has become so infused with her very being that it has become a part of her voice. Just like money, many people chase the lovely Daisy but to Gatsby “…it increased her value in his eyes” (149). Gatsby does not think about Daisy as a person as much as something made of gold, and something that has material value. Money is what Gatsby wants therefore it is only natural that he wants Daisy who is synonymous with money.
Daisy was also drawn to Gatsby because of his wealth. Though Gatsby was still a poor boy, he lied to her and told her that he was “…from the same stratum as herself…” (149). For Daisy this was very important. To Daisy not all money was created equal. Daisy is part of the “old money” class, or people whose money has been passed down for a very long time creating wealth and respect. To marry someone...

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