Jay Gatsby Materialism

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Critics describe Jay Gatsby as a dreamer with promising intentions. However, Mr. Gatsby remains a cunning and powerful con artist. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby personifies the American dream through his manipulation and motivation. Fitzgerald purposely decides to characterize Gatsby as deceptive by hiding Jay’s backstory. Fitzgerald depicts Gatsby as secretive and motivated through his hidden rise to wealth. Nick mentions that Gatsby’s wealth “was from Cody that he inherited money--a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn’t get it” (Fitzgerald 108). Instead of simply inheriting his money, Gatsby earns the money through illegal manufacturing of alcohol. This detail adds important characterizations of Mr. Gatsby. By …show more content…

Gatsby’s parties signify the materialistic component of the ideal American life. According to most critics, both Gatsby and Daisy represent the American dream. Jordan Baker reveals to Nick that “[Gatsby] half expected [Daisy] to wander into one of his parties, some night” (Fitzgerald 85). The parties display the massive amount of money that Gatsby has at his disposal. Since Daisy Buchanan symbolizes the American dream, Gatsby’s parties attempt to lure Daisy by displaying the riches in his possession. Material wealth satisfies the hunger of the dream. In addition to his parties, the green light at the end of the Buchanan’s dock represents Gatsby’s overwhelming obsession to achieve the American dream. According to Lathbury, “green is the color of . . . richness”; therefore, toward the green light gazes Gatsby (35). The force of the green light affects Gatsby every night until finally he reconnects with Daisy. The nefarious dream is an artificial lifestyle that Gatsby hopes to possess, and the green light tends to suggest that the success of old money remains out-of-reach for Gatsby. Similarity, the power of old money in 1920s America becomes unreachable. While Gatsby flirts with and fancies Daisy, he fails to realize that “the American dream is too much an ideal ever to be consummated except in the sense to which ‘orgastic future corresponds’” (Barbarese 2). …show more content…

To further discuss Gatsby’s greatness, a critic must acknowledge Gatsby’s legacy through his character intent. Gatsby’s manipulation and motivation marks Jay as a despicable character. However, the narrator believes he can see past those flaws by describing Gatsby as “worth the whole damn bunch put together” (Fitzgerald 164). In reality, Jay Gatsby’s ruthlessness to achieve the American dream surpasses all other characters. Since both Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby symbolize the American dream, legacy remains the only difference between the two characters. Jay dies for his dream. Daisy flees for her dream. Fitzgerald murders Jay Gatsby to demonstrate Gatsby’s willingness to die for the dream. Samuels mentions that “Gatsby’s death is but the final stage of disillusionment, and he suffers voluntarily” (3). Once Gatsby realizes his American dream of ever-growing power and money remains unattainable, he must die. His sole purpose in life disappears; therefore, his life loses any meaning. Gatsby’s loyalty to the dream never falters or fails. If the dream proves to be a fraud like himself, Gatsby refuses to physically or mentally continue his life. Furthermore, Gatsby achieves the honor of the title character. Gatsby attains the privilege because “his loyalty to his dream and idealism mark him as one of the tragic heroes in American Literature” (“The Great Gatsby” 71). Gatsby symbolizes

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