Does Money Buy Happiness In The Great Gatsby

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It has long been said that money can’t buy happiness, but still people continue to use it’s acquisition to try to make themselves happy. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the title character struggles with this realization. The book is set in New York during the ‘Roaring 20’s’, a time famous for its parties and lavishness. The book examines the attitudes toward money within the upper particularly through the lense of the new-money title character, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby dedicated his life to the acquisition of money with the goal of eventually acquiring the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby believes that money can buy him whatever his heart desires. Gatsby’s misunderstanding of the way money functions in the society he lives in results in the failure of his attempt to gain both status and the…show more content…
Wanting to gain status, Gatsby shows his wealth by throwing extravagant parties and purchasing expensive items to display. To announce himself as a man of wealth to the New York upper class, he purchases 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” (5), his mansion in West Egg. It is here that he chooses to throw parties every weekend, where everyone shows up, though rarely people are actually invited. It is here that he is able to show off the true extent of his wealth to other rich folk. For example, in his library, he has a collection of “absolutely real” books, rather than “durable cardboard” (45), expected by Owl Eye, and attendant of one of Gatsby’s parties. This shows that Gatsby is not only trying to convey the fact that he is rich, like all of his party attendants, but that he is a respectable man who should be taken for more than his face-value.
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