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The Sense Of Responsibility Essay

1084 words - 5 pages

The Great Gatsby emphasizes that people’s sense of responsibility depends on their financial stability and social class. Exclusively, characterized as either rich or poor, people are supposed to manifest a corresponding mentality towards the consequences of their actions as regards to their family, work, or society as a whole. F. Scott Fitzgerald conveys the lack of responsibility in the established wealthy class by displaying its disregard of important affairs and its materialistic view of life. Meanwhile, the newly rich and the poor, like Jay Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson, try to defy this norm by adopting the same mentality as the old money and thus, face tragic consequences.
The wealthy class commits mindless actions without considering the repercussions, whereas the working class has an ingrained sense of responsibility. Tom Buchanan does not even witness the birth of his daughter as Daisy Buchanan recalls, “she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where” (Fitzgerald 16). Instead of taking care of his family, Tom puts his personal needs ahead of those of Daisy and their daughter and engages in meaningless affairs: “Tom’s got some woman in New York” (Fitzgerald 15) whom he spends his time with at their side apartment. Tom displays a lack of responsibility, because he scrambles his priorities and does not consider the feelings of his afflicted loved ones. Furthermore, the induced egotism and superiority of the 1% allow them to do whatever they desire. When Wilson simply wonders about the delay of the sale of Tom’s car, Tom condescendingly threatens, “if you feel that way about it, maybe I’d better sell it somewhere else after all” (Fitzgerald 25). On the other hand, the 99% cannot do as they choose because they are at a lower position where they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. When Wilson immediately obeys, “I don’t mean that” (Fitzgerald 25), he appears subservient because he willingly accepts Tom’s abuse to support his family, which he deems more important than a senseless backlash against Tom. It is also evident that the working class has a substantial sense of responsibility, because Wilson is so busy working at the garage that he becomes oblivious to the fact that his wife, Myrtle, is having an affair. Fitzgerald establishes a social norm, in which the wealthy class can afford to forego responsibility while the unfortunate working class cannot.
However, Gatsby defies the norm by fostering the same carefree, haughty attitude of the old money although he is from a poor, agrarian background and has only recently attained his wealth through illegal bootlegging. Unlike his former associates of the conscientious working class, Gatsby ignores his work responsibility. When Gatsby gives a private house tour to Daisy, he pays no attention to a call he receives from a concerned business partner: “I can’t talk now…old sport…” and he abruptly hangs up the phone (Fitzgerald 93). Gatsby has enough money...

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