The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald: Matter of Money, Class and Economics Essay

Essay Topic:

Money, class and economic problems as the major issues revealed in The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.

Essay Questions:

What are the main economical issues revealed in Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby? What does mean the American Dream mean in terms of the novel? Why is money so essential for the novels characters?

Thesis Statement:

Actually, it wont be mistakable to say that economical factor or factor of money is one of the most important in The Great Gatsby and it makes all things go around this thing.


The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald: Matter of Money, Class and Economics Essay


Introduction: Scott Fitzgerald is one of the most prominent American writers of the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th cc. His work may be viewed as the reflection of his time and the novel The Great Gatsby is, probably, the best example that can prove this statement. It was written at that period of American history when people worried the most about their prosperity and richness though one may say that such values were typical for Americans, it was, and by the way still is, so called American dream. Also it was time when people earned a lot of money illegally using different means to break the laws that existed in the USA and one of the most popular business was bootlegging caused by prohibition of alcohol in the whole country. That is why in the novel we can find people who earned money in this illegal and dishonest way. So the problem of making money and the attitude of public to it is quite evident here but more important is the problem of influence of money, social position on peoples life, behavior and character. Actually, it wont be mistakable to say that economical factor or factor of money is one of the most important in The Great Gatsby and it makes all things go around this thing. But, at the same time, though the problem of money and its influence on a person is the principal but not the only one in the novel.

We can also speak about a very complicated relations in an American family of those days, about different affairs that destroyed such a family, and, to some extent, we observe here a revolutionary process which takes place in the whole society when moral values have begun to change. On reading this novel we learn how seriously the American society is corrupted by money and by peoples desire to be rich. That is what Scott Fitzgerald describes in his great novel. As I have already said the main theme of The Great Gatsby is the corrupting power which money has over a person and which destroy an innocent personality. The writer tells us how the wealth can ruin a pure dream. In order to prove it we can have a look at the relations and life stories of Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan Jordan Baker, Meyer Wolfsheim and other characters. Analyzing these characters we see the role which play money and social position in their lives. For example, Daisy doesnt have any purpose in the life the only thing she thinks about is wealth. She married a rich man whom she didnt really love, and later she preferred to stay with him but not with Gatsby. I think we have to pay a special attention to the relations between Daisy and Gatsby because they demonstrate quite opposite attitude to people and to life in general. So for Gatsby his love to this woman is the most important thing in his life while for Daisy he is a toy, an entertainment, one more love affair. That is why her choice proves that wealthy social position of her husband is more important for her than real and serious feelings of another man. She doesnt have any moral values. Even her daughter doesnt provoke any strong feelings in her soul. Actually, her love affairs with Gatsby were caused mainly by her boring way of life, because she needed some new impressions, new feelings. In general, it is evident that Daisy doesnt care about other peoples feelings and sufferings. May be she doesnt care about human life itself because when she kills Myrtle Wilson, she doesnt even stop (Bruccoli, Andrew J., ed. New Essays on The Great Gatsby). The same situations we observe when Gatsby is killed. So if she has any aim in her plain life it may be only entertainment or amusing herself.

As for Tom his life seems to be even worse than the life of his wife though they are alike in a way. Like Daisy Tom doesnt have any purpose in the life. He looks only for new strong feelings and cares only about his earnings. He needs money, it is his God. He is sure that money can give him everything he wants and this attitude to the wealth is usual for people of his type. Tom plays with other people. He has a mistress Myrtle and he demands a total obedience from her side. It shows us that she means nothing for him as well as his own wife. To prove it we need to remember that though he became furious when he guessed about close relations between Gatsby and Daisy but, at the same time, he didnt do anything to help his wife when she killed Myrtle. I think it would be more natural for a husband who loves his wife to act as Gatsby did but Tom demonstrated his indifference to Daisys fate. And one more thing that I cant ignore is the fact that he uses his wealth as the mean to keep Daisy as his wife. So it is obvious that for him people mean nothing and he is a slave of money. Practically the same we can say about less important characters of the novel. Dan Cody makes fortune in his copper mining business but his life is a mess. Jordan Baker is a champion golfer but she doesnt have any moral values as well as Meyer Wolfsheim who is a racketeer, bootlegger and a gambler.

The only person in the novel who is not corrupted by his money is, to my mind, Gatsby. He earned his fortune, he surrounded himself by expensive cars, he wears exclusive clothes and lives in a mansion but in reality he doesnt need all these things because he wants to return Daisy. He is sure that only a serious social position and a lot of money can help him realize his intentions. That is why he believes that his possessions will convince his golden girl to forget the past five years of her life and marry him. When he takes Daisy into his house and shows her his belongings, he values each item according to the worth that she places on it. When she shatters his dream by accepting Tom over him, Gatsby has no need for any of his possessions.(Lee Brian, American Fiction 1865-1940). Now on the house, the clothes, and the cars mean nothing for him. So any reader can realize as Nick did that Gatsby is the most positive character among his surrounding and the least corrupted by his wealth.

Conclusion: Finally, I can conclude that all rich characters of the novel use people as toys. Tom uses Myrtle as well as her husband George Wilson. Gatsby uses the butlers and the cooks to organize his parties and we may continue the list. Practically all of the characters are corrupted by their wealth and they are immoral people. Scott Fitzgerald clearly shows us how a wonderful American dream is destroyed by the peoples desire to earn more and more. This desire makes people forget that they are human beings. They forget about moral values and lose their human face. That is why we have to remember that money and high social position are dangerous things they cannot be the aim of life because they kill personality and it is very important to pay special attention to this fact while reading the novel. This is a great lesson that we can learn from The Great Gatsby.


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