In Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden, Thoreau talks about his experiences dining with the wealthy. He speaks about how they have no hospitality and all they talk about is money. Thoreau says, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” (436). Thoreau is stating how he would rather have truth than money. The characters in the Great Gatsby want exactly the opposite as Thoreau. Where he wants truth all they want is money. They want to hide their problems behind their money and enjoy the carefree activities of the rich and famous. The Roaring 20’s was a time of carefree enjoyment. However, what is often over looked is how those who indulged themselves refused to accept the consequences of their actions. Instead, they hid behind their shield of money, which gave them the freedom and privilege to live a careless, and sometimes-unscrupulous lifestyle. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the wild parties and other unruly actions of the rich to show how the more money one has in a society, the more privilege and freedom they have to get away with immoral and unethical things.
The privilege of the rich is illustrated through the relationships of the main characters. Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby were formerly lovers but they had not seen each other for almost five years. Their relationship ended suddenly when Gatsby left to go to war. Shortly after their relationship ended, Daisy became engaged to a young man who is extremely rich, Tom Buchanan. Jordan, a friend of Daisy’s in discussion with Nick Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, tells a story about what happened with Daisy after Gatsby left for war:
By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever. She had a debut after the Armistice, and in February she was presumably engaged to a man from New Orleans. In June she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with more pomp and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He came down with a hundred people in four private cars, and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel and the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. (75)
The fact that Daisy married Tom so soon after her relationship with Gatsby ended, demonstrates how the rich can make impulsive decisions on a whim without worrying about the long-term effects. Daisy was quick to give up Gatsby, a poor soldier going to war, for Tom, a rich young man who could give her a life full of the freedom to be careless. Jordan says that Daisy and Tom married with “pomp and circumstance,” their elaborate wedding shows how they had no restraints with money. They wanted to show how privileged they were as people from the higher class, by throwing an ornate wedding that everyone could see. Tom “hired a whole floor” of people to cater to his every need. Even though hiring that many people was probably unnecessary, Tom does it anyway. Hiring the people shows how he is of the higher class, and it demonstrates his...