Transcendentalism In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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While new money became more common, the perfect American became an unachievable mixture of old money and new money characteristics. Because transcendence has become unreachable, it is scorned in The Great Gatsby through a corruption of common transcendentalism imagery. While hardworking industrialists worked hard to transcend and earn their pace, those born rich kept their wealth, having already transcended society. When one attempts to use the American Dream to rise socially, their lack of birthright to wealth leads to mockery. When one attempts to forgo social transcendence and utilize hard work to transcend intellectually, they are mocked for their lack of understanding surrounding modern America. In this America, the American Dream is something from the past to be marvelled at, not to be achieved. Myrtle desires not to transcend into a place of knowledge and truth, but into a place of luxury and wealth. Unfortunately, her inability to know how the old money elite behave squashes her dream to rise from a working class position to glamorous, cultured position. Myrtle tries to copy the air of old money through showing off excessive riches, and behaves as if she is completely unaffected by them. When first entering New York City, her first actions are all superficial. She buys gossip magazines “at the news-stand” and beauty products “in the [train] station drug-store,” then letting “four taxicabs drive away before she selected a new one” (27). She shows just how unaware
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