Monday, 29 February 2016

Prosperity and Money

Prosperity and Money in The Great Gatsby 

Within The Great Gatsby there is great emphasis placed on the themes of prosperity and money. Throughout the novel it is clear to see that the American Dream for most Americans during the 1920's was the idea of prosperity and wealth, this dream is portrayed primarily through the protagonist Jay Gatsby. Gatsby's back-story (which is explained in chapter 6) shows him as a struggling man with little income, from dropping out of college, to working on a yacht as Mr.Cody's assistant, it is also explained how he fell in love with the luxuries and wealth after sailing through the West Indies. 

From this the novel shows Gatsby now as a wealthy businessman, showing his success through the luxuries he now possesses. Gatsby lives in West Egg, which is described in the novel as the home of 'new money' whereas East Egg is home to those of 'old money'. New money refers to people like Gatsby who have become newly rich, for example earning an inheritance or working for their earnings. People of new money are also shown as spending their wealth in careless ways, this can also be seen through Gatsby, for example his party in chapter 3 which is described as being very over the top with an orchestra, expensive buffet food and drink and paid staff to cater for the guests. Also Gatsby's material possessions such as his Rolls Royce car and marble swimming pool can also show the careless spending. 

On the other hand, people from old money are more selfish and careful with their money having come from wealthy families, an example of this is Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Within the Great Gatsby, wealth and prosperity is a major theme which runs throughout the novel and defines the type of person each character is. It is also interesting to see that the lower classes are not referred to, with the exception of Myrtle and her husband, who both die in the end of the novel, along with Gatsby, who was born into the lower class. This could perhaps be to symbolises the power of wealth, as Daisy not only get away with murder but is able to leave East Egg with Tom without any concerns, this ending for these characters could also perhaps be to symbolise the death of the American Dream.  

Recent Example-

For a recent example of Prosperity and Wealth having a great effect on the American culture, I chose a video portraying the Wealth Inequality in America. This video from 2012, shows the inequality of wealth within America, I though this was a good example as it shows how difficult it is to be considered 'wealthy' nowadays and how uneven the distribution of wealth between social classes is. This video also shows how difficult it would have been for Gatsby trying to gain his wealth if he lived in today's world both due to the recession and the competitive labour market.

No comments:

Post a Comment