"If love is only a will to possess, it is not love" (Thich Nhat Hanh). This caveat relates to the social and moral decay of the 1920's. During this era, every American had one objective to achieve -- success. Francis Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, presents a realistic image of American life in the 1920's. The characters in his novel, like many people in that period, only care for money. Becoming rich is their definition of success, and is their main objective. As a result, their relationships, which are no longer based on love fail. All of the relationships in the novel are doomed because they are not based upon love, but upon materialism. One example of a failed relationship in The Great Gatsby is the adulterous affair between Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson. Their affair is based on mutual exploitation. Tom uses Myrtle for sex; Myrtle receives gifts and money in return. Tom Buchanan, a resident of East Egg, is "old money," so he looks down on everyone whom he considers to be below his class. Thus, he treats Myrtle as if she is trash. Myrtle Wilson, the wife of poor George Wilson, is disenchanted with her twelve year-old marriage because of her husband's lack of success. Her desire for a better life is overpowering, and she believes that Tom will ultimately leave Daisy and marry her. In reality, Tom does not even see Myrtle as a person but as a sexual object. This is shown by his degrading treatment of Myrtle at a party; specifically, he breaks her nose for having the nerve to mention his wife's name: " 'Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!' shouted Mrs. Wilson. 'I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai - ' Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand" (Fitzgerald 43). The pathetic nature of their relationship is revealed when she dies. After a fight with George Wilson, Myrtle runs away toward a golden car that she thinks is Tom's. The golden color of the car symbolizes the money and wealth that...
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