Great Gatsby And Money Value Essay Research

Great Gatsby And Money Value Essay, Research Paper

"Our great cities and our mighty buildings will avail us not if we lack

spiritual strength to subdue mere objects to the higher purposes of

humanity" (Harnsberger 14), is what Lyndon B. Johnson had to say about

materialism. He knew the value of money, and he realized the power and effect of

money. Money can have many effects, however money cannot buy happiness. Many

people disbelieve this fact, and many continue to try and actually buy articles

that make them happy. In F. Scott Fitzgerald?s The Great Gatsby, Fizgerald

keenly shows us how Jay Gatsby is one of these people. Gatsby believes that if

he has money, he can do attain great goals. Gatsby is a sensible man, yet he has

many false conceptions. Jay Gatsby believes that money can recreate the past,

can buy him happiness, and can be helpful in achieving a level of prestige in

the prominent East Egg. Jay Gatsby believes he can buy happiness; and this is

exhibited through his house, his clothes, and through Daisy. He owns a large

portion of finances due to some mysterious source of wealth, and he uses this

mystery source to buy his house, his clothes, and Daisy. Gatsby?s house, as

Fitzgerald describes it, is "a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in

Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy,

and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden"

(Fitzgerald 9). This house, as Fitzgerald fabulously enlightens to, is an

immaculate symbol of Gatsby?s incalculable income. "The house he feels he

needs in order to win happiness" (Bewley 24), is an elegant mansion; that

of which an excellent symbol of carelessness is displayed and is part of

Gatsby?s own persona. Every Monday after a party, this house is kept by eight

servants. It has its own entrance gate, and is big enough to hold hundreds of

people at a time. His careless use for money to impress others is portrayed

through his clothes; a gold metallic hat, silver vests and gold jackets. The

shirts and clothes that are ordered every spring and fall show his simpleness in

expressing his wealth to his beloved Daisy. His "beautiful shirts . . . It

makes me sad because I?ve never seen such beautiful shirts before"

(Fitzgerald 98). It seems silly to cry over simple shirts, but "It is not

the shirts themselves that overwhelm her but what they symbolize . . ." (Cowley

43). These shirts represent the simple awesome manner of Gatsby?s wealth and

his ability to try and purchase Daisy?s love, this time through the use of

extensive clothing. Fitzgerald wisely shows how Gatsby uses his riches to buy

Daisy. In the story, we know that "They were careless people, Tom and

Daisy–they smashed up things . . . and then returned back into their

money" (Fitzgerald). By this, we know that Daisy?s main (and maybe only)

concern is money. Gatsby realizes this, and is powered by this. He is driven to

extensive and sometimes illegal actions. He feels he must be rich and careless

for his five year love, and when expressing Gatsby?s readiness to spend any

amount of money for his hopeful wife, a poem must be stated. "Then wear the

gold hat, if that move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she

cry "Lover, gold hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!" ( ).

This poem is a perfect description of how Gatsby tries to buy Daisy, and her

love. All these enlighten us to Gatsby?s personality, therefore we know Gatsby

is willing to use an unlimited source of income to actually buy trifles to prove

his worth to Daisy. He will buy a house that takes, even him, three years to pay

for and purchases clothes every Spring and Fall. He does all he can in order to

buy, what he feels is his only happiness, the woman he has watched for five

years, the woman who?s only concern is money, the infamous, Daisy. Gatsby?s

obsession is with the buying power of money, however, this obsession does not

limit itself merely to possessions, but also to physical attributes. Jay Gatsby

attempts to recapture his past with money. He also implies he has a past at

Oxford, he entices Daisy with wealth, and sometimes spins absolute obvious lies.

In his past at Oxford, the author uses a prestigious, ivy league school that

Gatsby visited in order to imply that Gatsby did come from a high class

background. However, Fitzgerald candidly avoids saying for how long, for what

reasons, or why he has indeed attained entrance at Oxford. Being misplaced by

the Military at this local prestigious college unfortunately serves as a

hindrance. Gatsby shows Nick a picture "A souvenir of [his] Oxford days . .

. " (Fitzgerald), as if to imply that he was there. In all actuality,

Gatsby had only dreamed of attending a school such as Oxford, and even a small,

dishonest taste of this makes him dream of changing his past. This, as Malcom

Cowly states, "past holds something that Gatsby [longs] for, a simpler,

better, nobler time . . ." (Cowly 45). With a photograph, Gatsby

effectively, and almost unmistakably, recreates his past. Not only does Oxford

involve untruths, but most of this recreation involves numerous obscene and

unbelievable lies. Gatsby "live[s] like a young rajah in all the capitals

of Europe . . . " (Fitzgerald), as Nick, incredibly notes "With an

effort I managed to restrain my incredulous laughter" (Fitzgerald). With

documentation like this, Fitzgerald effectively proves Gatsby?s statements to

be lies. Even "When Nick asks him where in the Midwest [Gatsby] comes from,

Gatsby ignorantly, but elegantly, tells him San Francisco, geography losing to

the pretensions of the romantic imaginations" (Lehan 60). These and

numerous other lies prove how James Gatz tries to recapture the past through the

use of enamorous mendacity. There is one reason only why Gatsby tries so

desperately to alter his past, his pursuit of one money stained Daisy. Jay tries

to buy Daisy in various ways. Not only does he buy many material items to

impress her, but he continues to accumulate as much money as he can in order to

physically buy her. As Jordan states, "He wants her to see his house, and

you live right next door" (Fitzgerald). Perhaps the only reason he does is

to show how much money Gatsby possesses. When Daisy finally realizes this, a

problem occurs. "He innocently expects that he can buy anything–especially

Daisy. She is for sale, but he doesn?t have the right currency" (Bruccoli

vii). Clearly Gatsby has the money, unfortunately he does not have the right

type of money, he comes from the wrong class of society. Due to the dream of

attaining a higher social class and for Daisy, Gatsby tries to recapture his

past, even if he is being forced to tell emaculant outlandish lies. In order to

achieve a certain prestige, so that Daisy will love him (she may already love

him, but she won?t live with him), Gatsby uses his dirty money, his

association with well known people, and numerous gestures to obtain this level

of respect. Gatsby?s "mysterious source of wealth" (Fitzgerald), as

Fitzgerald describes is through an activity called bootlegging. This illegal

business is very risky, yet very prosperous. Gatsby uses it to "get rich

quick". As writer Henry Dan Piper says, "Bootlegging was after all a

more or less acceptable business enterprise . . . " (Piper 191). While this

may be, this enterprise does not raise Gatsby?s level of respect. The kind of

wealth he needs is "acquired" wealth. The kind of wealth he achieves

is earned. In the prominent East Egg, and with Daisy, this type of wealth is

unacceptable. Also, association is used in Gatsby?s struggle for prestige.

When taking Tom through his party, he stops at every famous person available.

"Gatsby identified him, adding that he was a small producer"

(Fitzgerald) is a sentence in which Gatsby directly tries to associate his name

with, and in turn earn a level of respect specifically from Tom. Gatsby includes

anyone famous, even those who are morally bad. "Meyer Wolfsheim, the man

who fixed the world series in 1919" (Mizner 23).


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