“Old Money” empowers one to write, break, discard, and rewrite the rules of society with
the reckless abandon of someone who does not even know that guidelines exist. Those within
grasp of said club have permission to join, for the price of their souls. Those within reach but not
grasp, may die trying. But few people are ever truly themselves, altering their personalities to the
preferences of their desired social class. Although Daisy's statement "that the best thing a girl
can be in this world is a beautiful little fool" (17) portrays a sardonic philosophy, F. Scott
Fitzgerald demonstrates that by conforming to such restrictions of her era, women were able to
attain their status in ...view middle of the document...
Gatsby understands that she will never leave Tom, and that he's deceived himself into believing
that his “nice girl” (149) still existed instead of the desolate shell her society has turned her into.
While Daisy may want freedom, she made the decision to abandon herself and start playing the
part society tells her to so she can remain in her elite circle.
Myrtle's arduous status-climbing ambition, while admirable within the working class, is
her Achilles heel to the world into which she desperately seeks to immerse herself. As a simple,
married, working class woman, she desires to enjoin the wealthy lifestyle. When Nick first
mentions Myrtle, he describes that, "her face...contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there
was an immediately perceptible vitality about her" (25). In many contexts, this would be a
compliment, a description of a motivated and determined character; but the status that Myrtle
wishes to achieve does not value this trait. To achieve the role of the wealthy woman, she must
put on the act of being the giddy, beautiful girl with a charming smile. Myrtle tries to act this way
at the hotel, after she changes clothes for the second time. Nick recalls that as soon as she
changed into her "afternoon dress of cream-colored chiffon" (30), that "with the influence of the
dress her personality had also undergone change" (30). The reader clearly sees how
desperately Myrtle tries to conform to the behaviors that she believes the wealthy class
requires, and her "intense vitality...was converted into impressive hauteur" (30). Myrtle still has a
skewed view on the concept of the elite attitude and her struggle for approval demonstrates an
act of vitality, not an act of indifference, that inadvertently costs her life.
Jordan, who already ranks among the wealthy, goes against social standards at will, and
cheats without recompense to achieve her...