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Money and Power in "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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To begin, Gatsby hosts luxurious parties for the richest people in New York City. His parties have become the ultimate social gathering place for many of the elite and famous of New York. Many of the people that attend these parties are not there for entertainment because they do not personally know Gatsby, they are there to make new connections. This entails those in the elite circle to talk to the others about money, leading to the concept that the rich stay rich and the poor get poorer. By Gatsby’s desire to host these functions, one can infer that he earns a lot of money. Throughout his party “The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the gardens outside… now the orchestra is playing…” (Fitzgerald 42). The poor would feel out of place at Gatsby’s parties, as they would be outside of their comfort zone. However, the rich would not feel uncomfortable since many of these people are always stepping outside of their comfort zone.

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George Wilson is an example of a man that would not attend these parties, nor would he be invited by Gatsby or someone of the elite to attend this parties. George Wilson would not be allowed to attend these parties because he is poor, and he does not demonstrate the manners required for these prestigious gatherings. Gatsby ability to hold extravagant parties show how much power the money he earns gives him.

Furthermore, Tom Buchanan is another character in the novel that shows money gives people power. Tom Buchanan is a part of the wealthy of New York. He has an affair with George Wilson’s wife Myrtle Wilson. For Wilson, this affair is a way out of her relationship. George Wilson is not aware of this affair. George Wilson lives in the Valley of Ashes and owns a rundown car repair shop. The Valley of Ashes is extremely different than where Tom lives. Tom lives on West Egg, which is an area for the rich. Myrtle’s attraction to Tom is only partially due to his money and partially for his looks. This gives him an edge on George Wilson who is not wealthy and is unattractive.

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Finally, Gatsby demonstrates that money gives you power. Daisy is a character that is obsessed with the idea of wealth, which drives her to marry Tom Buchanan. The idea of money then influences Gatsby, leading to his desire to be rich and be a part of the social class that Daisy is in. Gatsby goes to extreme measures to get money. His first encounter with wealth happens with Dan Cody, who is a wealthy copper mogul. Gatsby learns the behaviors of a rich man and mimics them, but fails to receive an inheritance from Dan Cody when he passes away, as Cody’s mistress manipulates him for the inheritance. Before WWI, Gatsby has a fling with Daisy. Through this, he is able to demonstrate his wealthy behaviors and is able to successfully cover up his true wealth as he is in uniform. When the war is over, Daisy marries Tom, one of the wealthiest bachelors of New York City. Gatsby eventually hears the word of Daisy’s marriage and he meets Meyer Wolfshiem, who brings Gatsby into the world of illegal business deals. His desire to earn this money through his desire to be with Daisy. This wealth that Gatsby earns gives him power and allows him to pursue Daisy again because Daisy is only interested in people’s money.

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Money and Power in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (2019, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2023, from
“Money and Power in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2019,
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