Materialism - The Great Gatsby

America has been labeled "The land of opportunity," a place where it is possible to accomplish anything and everything. This state of mind is known as "The American Dream." The American Dream provides a sense of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. This dream, however, originates from a desire for spiritual and material improvement. Unfortunately, the acquisition of material has been tied together with happiness in America. Although "The American Dream" can be thought of as a positive motivation, it often causes people to strive for material perfection, rather than a spiritual one. This has been a truth since the beginnings of America, ...

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and how materialism never constitutes happiness. Fitzgerald uses Jay Gatsby, a character who spends his entire adult life raising his status, only to show the stupidity of the materialistic attitude. Rather than hard work, Gatsby turns to crime and bootlegging in order to earn wealth and status to get the attention of Daisy Buchanon, a woman he falls in love with five years earlier. "He [Gatsby] found her [Daisy] excitingly desirable. He went to her house… There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool then the other bedrooms… It excited him too that many men had already loved Daisy—It increased her value in his eyes" (155-156). Gatsby falls in love with everything about Daisy. It is not only her that Gatsby desires, it is her riches and possessions as well. The fact the many other gentlemen want Daisy simply increases her worth in Gatsby’s eyes. All of these things are the reasons Gatsby "commit[s] himself to the following of a grail" ...

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Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy gives him a false illusion of her, much like the illusion of the American dream, both representing inevitable disaster. F. Scott Fitzgerald clearly uses Jay Gatsby to represent the materialistic attitude of the 1920’s. Literary critic Marius Bewley suggests that Jay Gatsby is " ‘The mythic’ embodiment of the American Dream…the terrible deficiencies are not so much the private ones of Jay Gatsby, but are those inherent in contemporary manifestations of the American vision itself…Gatsby’s deficiencies of intelligence and judgment bring him to his tragic death—a death that is spiritual as well as physical. But the more important question that faces us ...

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Materialism - The Great Gatsby. (2006, December 23). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from
"Materialism - The Great Gatsby.", 23 Dec. 2006. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <>
"Materialism - The Great Gatsby." December 23, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2018.
"Materialism - The Great Gatsby." December 23, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2018.
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Added: 12/23/2006 12:48:31 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1699
Pages: 7

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