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The Great Gatsby Materialistic Character Analysis

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Words: 720 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 720|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Materialism is a prominent theme in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, with many characters embodying this trait to varying degrees. In this essay, we will analyze the materialistic nature of the characters in the novel, focusing on key figures such as Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan. By examining their behaviors, actions, and motivations, we will gain a deeper understanding of how materialism influences their lives and relationships.

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The concept of materialism has a long history in literature, with various debates surrounding its portrayal and impact on characters. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald explores the idea of materialism through the lens of the Jazz Age, a period characterized by excess, wealth, and social upheaval. The novel presents a critique of the American Dream, showing how the pursuit of wealth and status can lead to moral decay and disillusionment.

One of the central figures in the novel, Jay Gatsby, is driven by his materialistic desire to win back Daisy Buchanan, his former lover. Gatsby's extravagant parties, lavish lifestyle, and obsession with wealth are all manifestations of his pursuit of the American Dream. However, despite his material success, Gatsby remains unfulfilled and ultimately pays the price for his materialistic pursuits.

On the other hand, Daisy Buchanan represents a different aspect of materialism in the novel. Daisy is portrayed as shallow, superficial, and easily swayed by wealth and status. Her marriage to Tom Buchanan, a wealthy and powerful man, is based on material considerations rather than love. Daisy's materialistic tendencies lead her to make selfish and destructive choices, ultimately contributing to the tragic events that unfold in the novel.

Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, is perhaps the most overtly materialistic character in the novel. Tom's sense of entitlement, arrogance, and disregard for others stem from his wealth and social status. His extramarital affair with Myrtle Wilson, a working-class woman, highlights his exploitative nature and lack of moral integrity. Tom's materialism blinds him to the consequences of his actions, ultimately leading to tragedy for himself and those around him.

In conclusion, The Great Gatsby offers a compelling exploration of materialism through its complex and flawed characters. By examining the behaviors and motivations of characters such as Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan, we can see how materialism shapes their lives and relationships. Through these characters, Fitzgerald highlights the dangers of unchecked materialism and the emptiness that can result from the relentless pursuit of wealth and status. The novel serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the importance of values such as love, integrity, and compassion in a world consumed by materialism.

The theme of materialism in The Great Gatsby can also be seen in the setting of the novel itself. The opulent mansions, extravagant parties, and luxurious lifestyles of the characters reflect the materialistic values of the time. Fitzgerald's vivid descriptions of Gatsby's mansion, with its "gleaming gardens" and "marble swimming pool," serve as symbols of the excess and wealth that define the characters in the novel.

Moreover, the symbolism of the green light at the end of Daisy's dock can be interpreted as a representation of Gatsby's materialistic desires. Gatsby is constantly reaching towards the green light, which represents his longing for wealth, status, and ultimately, Daisy. The green light serves as a reminder of the emptiness and unattainability of materialistic pursuits, as Gatsby's obsession with it ultimately leads to his downfall.

In addition, academic texts such as "The American Dream in the Great Gatsby" by Matthew J. Bruccoli provide further insights into the theme of materialism in the novel. Bruccoli argues that Fitzgerald uses the characters of Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom to critique the materialistic values of the Jazz Age and the consequences of pursuing wealth at all costs. By analyzing the behaviors and motivations of these characters, Bruccoli highlights how materialism can corrupt relationships, lead to moral decay, and ultimately result in tragedy.

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Overall, The Great Gatsby offers a nuanced exploration of materialism through its characters, setting, and symbolism. By delving into the materialistic nature of figures such as Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan, readers can gain a deeper understanding of how materialism influences their lives and relationships. Through the cautionary tale of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald reminds us of the dangers of unchecked materialism and the importance of values such as love, integrity, and compassion in a society consumed by wealth and status.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Great Gatsby Materialistic Character Analysis. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-materialistic-character-analysis/
“The Great Gatsby Materialistic Character Analysis.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-materialistic-character-analysis/
The Great Gatsby Materialistic Character Analysis. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-materialistic-character-analysis/> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
The Great Gatsby Materialistic Character Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 05 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-materialistic-character-analysis/
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