Materialism - the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 4 (1721 words) Published: October 8, 1999

America has been labeled "The land of opportunity," a place where it is possible to accomplish anything and everything. This state of mind is known as "The American Dream." The American Dream provides a sense of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. This dream, however, originates from a desire for spiritual and material improvement. Unfortunately, the acquisition of material has been tied together with happiness in America. Although "The American Dream" can be thought of as a positive motivation, it often causes people to strive for material perfection, rather than a spiritual one. This has been a truth since the beginnings of America, such as the setting of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, which is an example of this set in the 20's. The characters in this novel are too fixed on material things, losing sight of what is really important. The characters in The Great Gatsby take a materialistic attitude that causes them to fall into a downward spiral of empty hope and zealous obsession. Fitzgerald contrasts Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway to display how the materialistic attitude of the 1920's leads many to hopeless depression and how materialism never constitutes happiness. Fitzgerald uses Jay Gatsby, a character who spends his entire adult life raising his status, only to show the stupidity of the materialistic attitude. Rather than hard work, Gatsby turns to crime and bootlegging in order to earn wealth and status to get the attention of Daisy Buchanon, a woman he falls in love with five years earlier. "He [Gatsby] found her [Daisy] excitingly desirable. He went to her house… There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool then the other bedrooms… It excited him too that many men had already loved Daisy—It increased her value in his eyes" (155-156). Gatsby falls in love with everything about Daisy. It is not only her that Gatsby desires,...
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