The Great Gatsby - Reasons to Become Rich

Topics: Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald Pages: 6 (2373 words) Published: February 10, 2013
The Great Gatsby-
Gatsby´s Reasons to Become Rich



IIWealth and Power – Jay Gatsby


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story about wealth, power, love, intrigues and crime, showing the lives of a group of people, all members of the social upper class. One of the stories main themes is wealth and power. This topic concerns all the characters in the book but especially interesting is the relationship which the main character has to wealth and power – Jay Gatsby. He is rich, socially accepted and powerful, but for very different reasons. In this paper I will try to point out his motivations for getting wealthy as well as his relation to money and the social upper class. As Jay Gatsby is the main character of the story this paper should firstly give an insight into his reasons to work so hard and to build up his enormous fortune. And secondly it will look at Daisy´s influence on his relation to money, his reasons for his lifestyle.

The story of The Great Gatsby is set in the early 1920s just after the end of World War I in New York and Long Island. Two of the main characters in the story, James Gatz alias Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, live separated from each other in two different areas of Long Island called „West Egg“ and „East Egg“. As we get to know right in the beginning, the „East Egg“ is the more fashionable of the two areas, where the social elite of the time then lived. The physical separation between the upper class and the absolute social elite functions as a statement, representing the fact that even if you have everything there still will always be something you long for.

IIWealth and Power – Jay Gatsby
Jay Gatsby, who was born as James Gatz, made his way from “zero to hero”. Coming from a poor and uneducated background, he worked his way up to a point where he could afford socialising with the moneyed youth. It appears that Gatsby´s somehow saw himself as determined to be wealthy, even in his childhood, when the only person encouraging him was his father. He tirelessly worked on his personality and his appearance. So when he finally got the chance to change his life to what seemed a better life to him, he took the chance. This chance comes in the shape of Dan Cody´s yacht and Gatsby doesn´t hesitate a second to throw his former life over board. Although his transformation begins a lot earlier, this is the moment when Jimmy Gatz dies and Jay Gatsby is born. When he meets Daisy he feels drawn and closely bonded to her but at this moment he can´t afford offering her the life he finds suitable for the both of them. He is driven by the idea of money and almost feels obliged to belong to the wealthy and rich gentry. His obsession with wealth goes as far as he risks losing Daisy by going away again over richness. Through legal or illegal methods, rumour has it he´s a bootlegger, he compiles a huge fortune and inevitably ends up at Long Island and in New York where the privileged youth gather´s to celebrate their life and wealth.

Despite his enormous fortune, Jay Gatsby lives on the less fashionable „West Egg“ which implies that because of his doubtful origin he hasn´t managed to become a full member of the social upper-class elite. The separation of East and West Egg constitutes not only a physical separation but a distinction by class. Although Gatsby managed to become as rich as all the other´s around, he is still seen as the stranger, who´s origin is unclear and who´s methods for earning money give reasons for speculations and rumours. But despite his doubtful reputation people gather, like insects round the light when Gatsby starts throwing his luxurious, decadent parties. People come together from all of Long Island and New York to celebrate their life and wealth in the mansion of a man, who hardly anyone of them knows in person. Gatsby creates an aura of luxury and carelessness by...
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