Immoral Materialism Essay, Research Paper
The desire to be rich is part of every American s dream, but does one change when one becomes rich? Can one be happy and wealthy? Just as the characters in the novel The Great Gatsby, written by Scott Fitzgerald, people believe that money will buy them a happy life. In the almanacks of Poor Richard, quite a different approach at happiness is presented. Poor Richard writes about money as just a supplement to a wise man, that being knowledgeable and having a trade are far more respectable that inheriting money from a relative. Contrary to Poor Richard s works, the prevalent aspirations of modern Americans are better represented in Fiztgerald s work The Great Gastby, which shows the ignorance of the rich, the adulterous morality of people, and the correct way to pursue happiness.
Today s society believes that money can buy happiness. Jordan, a character of The Great Gastby, explains this theme when she says, Gastby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay (79). Gatsby Himself later states She only married you because I was poor It was a terrible mistake. (131). These quotes explain Gastby s belief, that if he becomes rich, he will be able to obtain love from Daisy. This is quite contrary to the ideas of Ben Franklin represented in this quote Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich men poor , this quote explains that life itself is the reward, not the things that money can bring to it.
Many wealthy people assume that it is their right to have others listen to and follow their own wishes, or thoughts. The character, Tom Buchanan is the model superficial rich person. Who attempts to force his poorly thought-out, stolen theories to all those around him. This is shown in the indication of his tone when he states Civilization s is going to pieces, broke out Tom violently (13). Tom s use of non-formal English, such as I ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things (13) cause him to stand out from his wife and the other Characters. This view of superiority by white males that have inherited wealth is not uncommon today. Contradicting the stated opinion, Franklin feels that a man that gains his wealth deserves more respect that one who inherited it though family ties when he writes A Ploughman on his Legs is higher than a Gentleman on his Knees.
A large issue in today s society is the lack of morals, one of the most publicized being adultery. This is a very important theme in Fitzgeralds work The Great Gastby, where four main characters are involved in affairs, openly spoken about by such phrases as Tom s got some girl in New York (15) and Your wife doesn t love you, said Gastby. She has never loved you. She loves me . (131). The characters of the book do not even try to attempt to keep these matters secret from their spouses, the affairs are generally not spoken about. Franklin believes that there should not be marriage if there is not love, as explained by Where there is Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage. The characters of The Great Gastby and present society believe that marriage can be based solely on wealth or class.
Modern society and The Great Gastby share a number of moral and idealist views, while Franklin presents those that are morally sound, yet are not prevalent in today s society. Franklin has a number of virtues displayed by his almanacks that people today simply do not have. The tragic and immoral views of the characters in The Great Gastby more closely represent the views of people today.