Wealth in the Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby

Fitzgerald suggests that wealth is attractive and poverty isn’t. In the Great Gatsby, wealth and poverty are described meticulously and I will attempt to explore how the above statement is true and false. Jay Gatsby is a very wealthy man, and this is the first instant where wealth is appealing, as his house is described rather lavishly, “the one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard – it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a think beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool.” This description creates an image of a beautiful, majestic house and readers can therefore appreciate just how wealthy Gatsby is – and how appealing it is. Again, wealth is made to seem attractive when Fitzgerald describes the many parties Gatsby has, “On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials.” This shows just how extravagant the parties were, which was only made possible by the wealth of Gatsby. Thus, again, wealth is seen to be attractive. However, wealth can be seen as very unattractive too – principally the way it is achieved. Gatsby was rejected by Daisy because he was too poor, and so he used immoral and illegal ways to gain his money. Thus Gatsby chooses a life of immoral and illegal behaviour to get a woman, who in the end, he never gets. In fact, he loses everything, including his life. In this way, wealth is seen as very unattractive, and Gatsby is perceived as a desperate, pathetic man.

Gatsby’s parties can also be seen as a negative statement of the relationship of money, greed and power. Every weekend, Gatsby would throw huge parties, in an attempt to attract Daisy’s attention. Many people would attend, however most were not invited...
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