Materialism in the Great Gatsby

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“Money Changes Everything” by Cyndi Lauper illustrates the way people center their desires on material things such as money. The speaker in the song leaves the poor man, solely because he does not have money, for the affluent one: “I’m leaving you tonight…There was one thing we weren’t really thinking of and that’s money” (Lauper 1, 6-7). Like Cyndi Lauper, F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates the way people often center their desires on material things such as money in The Great Gatsby. Daisy falls in love with Gatsby, who is a poor man at the time, and when Gatsby leaves for the war, Daisy marries Tom Buchanan, who is a rich man, because he is “old money,” meaning he will always have the money and status to support Daisy. When Gatsby returns from the war, his pursuit of Daisy’s love reveals his materialism and he eventually becomes rich for Daisy and believes that he can win her back because he now has money. The Great Gatsby demonstrates the way the materialistic desire for wealth negatively affects both Daisy and Gatsby, which warns Fitzgerald’s audience of the dangers of materialism. Daisy’s decisions are influenced by her desire for money rather than by her love for Gatsby, who makes her truly happy, and as a result, her life becomes chaotic. Daisy’s words, actions, and feelings exemplify how her materialistic decisions make her unhappy. Once Gatsby leaves for war, Daisy moves on in search of another man and marries the wealthy Tom Buchanan solely because he is rich, which leads to her complaining to Nick about her unhappiness while he is visiting at her house: “Well, I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything” (16). Fitzgerald further informs whoever reads the book of how rich Tom really is, which emphasizes that Daisy only married him for his money: “In June, she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with more pump and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before” (75). In addition to only marrying Tom because he has money,...
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