Theme Of Gratification In The Great Gatsby

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Often times we associate material gain with enjoyment and fulfillment, but we fail to understand the side most affected by the uninhibited pursuit of gratification. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the wealthy do just that; they climb the steps of social class by stepping over those who are poorer. In the novel, the lower class face degradation caused by the wealthy’s selfish desire for pleasure and satisfaction. Specifically, the Valley of Ashes symbolizes Fitzgerald’s criticism for that very inconsiderate pursuit of self-gain, which creates dire consequences for the poor. Fitzgerald uses figures of speech to describe the Valley to condemn the inequality created by the wealthy’s pursuit of self-growth. He calls the Valley “a fantastic…show more content…
During a conversation with Nick, Tom says, “[Wilson] was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn’t told him who owned the car” (178). The fact that Tom sends Wilson to Gatsby despite knowledge of Wilson’s mental instability proven by “his hand on a revolver in his pocket,” demonstrates Tom’s selfishness and his disregard for others (178). Ultimately, Tom eliminates his competition—Gatsby—by exploiting Wilson’s grief and anger over Myrtle’s death. Subsequently, he says, “What if I did tell [Wilson]? [Gatsby] had it coming to him … if you think I didn’t have my share of suffering … I sat down and cried like a baby” (178-179). Tom has the audacity to talk about his own grief without acknowledging his fault in the deaths of Gatsby and Wilson, showing immense signs of selfishness and complete disregard for everyone but himself. Fitzgerald argues, through Tom’s selfishness and lack of compassion, that the wealthy, blinded by self-gain, produce foul consequences for others. Many today live in pursuit of more wealth and power. However, as Fitzgerald argues, the wealthy today have drifted into a direction of selfish growth, one achieved by disregarding the poor. But the real problem is not inequality itself: it is the complete ignorance of the fact that it exists altogether. Perhaps if we establish that the problem exists, we can move forward to address it; if we realize that some live without color, we can move forward and start
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