Materialism Changed People’s Attitude

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby Pages: 3 (978 words) Published: October 6, 2013
ENG 3U
Wednesday, July 11th 2012

Materialism Changed People’s Attitude

In the 20th century, after the World War I, rapid surge of industrial and technological growth swept throughout the world. At the same time, people started to build their own ideas and belief based on the materialism rather than giving higher priorities to moral and individual values. As Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrayed a story happening in that time period, it contains various contents about materialism. In order to display the drawbacks of materialism, the author demonstrated counter argument using a symbolism.

In the book The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s car plays a very important role in showing both the wealth and the negative aspects of materialism at the same time. The colour yellow, which is the colour of Gatsby’s car, depicts polarity the most clearly throughout the novel. Yellow symbolizes Gatsby’s wealth and how much he wanted to boost about his money that “Everybody had seen it” (Fitzgerald 63). He has been saving up for three years, and his car is one of his possessions that display his success and interest in materialism. However, not long after, his car is involved in a serious accident, which eventually kills three people: Myrtle, Gatsby himself, and Wilson. As a direct influence, the car hits Myrtle and kills her instantly, and as a consequent of that event, Wilson gets mad enough to kill Gatsby; then he kills himself. Furthermore, the colour yellow indirectly caused this event to progress due to its noticeable colour. The witnesses of Myrtle’s death easily remembered the appearance of the car allowing Wilson to easily find out where the car is located. With these series of events, the author shows the destructive effects that followed the materialism, illustrated with Gatsby’s yellow car. This event clearly showed the pathway that links between the “displayed money” and the terrible result.

Another symbolism Fitzgerald use is ‘Valley of Ashes’, a place located...

Cited: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Penguin Books, 1926
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