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The Equality Myth Essay

833 words - 3 pages

It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty and wealth have both failed.
--Kin Hubbard, Sociologist

The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is as much a novel about social hierarchy as it is about class-consciousness. Throughout the novel we are bombarded with images of extravagant wealth and shuddering pauperism with the elite upper class using those around them as stepping-stones to their own selfish happiness.

The novel makes a point to differentiate between classes within classes especially how the sociology of the wealthy differs within itself. The new millionaires (represented by Gatsby and those of the West Egg) of the twenties are much more crass compared to the old aristocracy (represented by the Buchanan's and those of East Egg). Fitzgerald describes the newly rich as being unrefined and lacking in taste. Gatsby for instance live in a monstrous ornate mansion wears gaudy pink suits and even drives a large Rolls Royce. In comparison, the Buchanan's live in a tasteful, elegance home and possess and innate sense of grace and style as seen in the dress of both Daisy and Jordan, "They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house."(Gatsby pg.13)However the old aristocracy's sophistication is often overshadowed but their lack of compassion for anyone but themselves, gliding though life with the ease of knowing that money can solve any problem that might arise before them. For example, at the end of the novel the Buchanan's don't even attend Gatsby's funeral despite Daisy's indirect cause of his death, instead they simply threw money at the problem and moved.

Interestingly enough, the manner in which Gatsby attained his fortune, namely criminal activity, is not reflected in his character. This West Egger is sincere and loyal even remaining outside Daisy's window until early morning to ensure her safety from Tom because, "[he] didn't trust him old sport."(Gatsby pg.137). Unfortunately these characteristics of Gatsby which make him one of the most enigmatic and interesting characters of the novel also acts to ensure his own demise as he takes the blame for killing Myrtle rather than letting Daisy be punished, ."..but of course I'll say I was..."(Gatsby pg.137). Conversely the Buchanan's undesirable characteristics allow them to remove themselves from the incident both physically and mentally. Daisy is in love with money, ease, and luxury. She is capable of affection (sincerely admires Nick...

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