According to Lyndon B., our cities and buildings will not be of much use to us if we do not have the spiritual strength to use them for the greater good of humanity (Harnsberger 14).
Johnson had an opinion on materialism. He understood the importance and influence of money. While money can have various impacts, it cannot purchase happiness. Despite this truth, numerous individuals refuse to believe it and persist in attempting to purchase possessions that bring them joy.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the author aptly portrays Jay Gatsby as someone who firmly holds the belief that possessing wealth enables him to achieve significant objectives. Despite being a rational person, Gatsby harbors numerous misconceptions.
Jay Gatsby holds the belief that money has the power to recreate the past, provide him with happiness, and elevate his status within the prominent East Egg community. His conviction in the ability to purchase happiness is evident in his extravagant house, lavish attire, and his pursuit of Daisy. Gatsby possesses a vast amount of wealth, originating from a mysterious source, which he utilizes to procure his magnificent house, fashionable clothing, and win Daisy’s affection. The description of Gatsby’s house by Fitzgerald portrays it as a replica of a Hotel de Ville in Normandy, complete with a tower, adorned with newly grown ivy, a marble swimming pool, and an extensive forty-acre lawn and garden (Fitzgerald 9).
According to Fitzgerald, this house perfectly represents Gatsby’s immense wealth. It is the “house he believes will bring him happiness” (Bewley 24), a grand mansion that reflects Gatsby’s careless nature and is a part of his identity. The house is maintained every Monday by eight servants, and it features its own entrance gate. Additionally, it is spacious enough to accommodate hundreds of people simultaneously.
His extravagant spending to impress others is exemplified by his choice of clothing: a gold metallic hat, silver vests, and gold jackets. The shirts and garments he buys every spring and fall showcase his desire to flaunt his wealth to Daisy, his beloved. His collection of “beautiful shirts” is a reflection of his simple-minded approach to expressing his affluence.
The narrator expresses their sadness at seeing such beautiful shirts for the first time (Fitzgerald 98). Although it may seem foolish to cry over mere shirts, their overwhelming significance is not derived from the shirts alone.
.» (Cowley 43). These shirts symbolize Gatsby’s unpretentious magnificence and his attempt to win over Daisy’s affection by lavishly dressing himself. Fitzgerald astutely portrays Gatsby’s use of wealth as a means to acquire Daisy.
According to Fitzgerald, Tom and Daisy were careless people who would destroy things and then retreat into their wealth.
Through this, it becomes evident that Daisy’s primary, and possibly sole, preoccupation is money. Gatsby recognizes this and it serves as his driving force. It compels him to engage in extravagant and occasionally illicit behavior. He believes that in order to win over his long-standing love, he must be wealthy and nonchalant. To emphasize Gatsby’s willingness to spare no expense for his beloved wife-to-be, a poem must be recited.
“Then wear the gold hat, if that move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry „Lover, gold hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!“ ( ). The poem perfectly captures how Gatsby attempts to win Daisy’s affection by purchasing material possessions. These actions reveal Gatsby’s personality, demonstrating his willingness to use unlimited wealth to acquire trivial items in order to prove his worth to Daisy. He goes as far as buying a house that takes him three years to pay off and regularly purchasing clothing every Spring and Fall.”
He does everything he can to pursue his sole source of happiness, Daisy, a woman he has been observing for five years. Money is Daisy’s primary concern, and Gatsby is obsessed with its purchasing power. This obsession extends beyond material possessions and includes physical attributes. Gatsby endeavors to regain his past by using money. He also suggests that he has a background at Oxford and lures Daisy with his wealth, often resorting to telling obvious lies.
In his previous time at Oxford, the author employs a distinguished, Ivy League institution that Gatsby frequented to insinuate his high-class upbringing. Nevertheless, Fitzgerald deliberately refrains from disclosing the duration, motives, or the means by which Gatsby gained admission into Oxford. Unfortunate circumstances such as being displaced by the military at this esteemed institution obstruct Gatsby’s path. He proudly shows Nick a photograph as a memento from his days at Oxford.
. . “(Fitzgerald), as if suggesting his presence. In reality, Gatsby had merely fantasized about studying at a prestigious institution like Oxford, and even a slight, deceitful experience of this provokes him to desire altering his past.
This quote by Malcom Cowly suggests that Gatsby yearns for a time in the past that he perceives as simpler, better, and nobler (Cowly 45).
Gatsby utilizes a photograph to effectively and unmistakenly recreate his past. This recreation, which occurs in Oxford, is filled with untruths and numerous obscene and unbelievable lies. Gatsby lives a lavish lifestyle resembling a young rajah in various European capitals.
(Fitzgerald) According to Fitzgerald, Nick finds it hard to control his laughter when he hears Gatsby’s statements. This documentation effectively exposes Gatsby’s lies. Even when Nick asks Gatsby about his origins in the Midwest, Gatsby confidently but mistakenly claims San Francisco, prioritizing his romantic imagination over geographical accuracy (Lehan 60).
James Gatz, also known as Jay Gatsby, resorts to lies to reconstruct his past, including ways to win back his lost love, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is solely driven by his desire to obtain financial wealth and use it to win over Daisy. He goes to great lengths to impress her, purchasing material possessions and relentlessly amassing wealth in hopes of ultimately buying her affection.
According to Jordan, Gatsby wants Daisy to see his house, and it is conveniently located next to hers (Fitzgerald). The only motive behind this might be to display Gatsby’s wealth. However, a problem arises when Daisy finally grasps this, as Gatsby naively believes he can purchase anything, especially Daisy.
According to Bruccoli (vii), Gatsby is available for purchase, but he lacks the appropriate currency. Although Gatsby possesses wealth, it is unfortunately not of the right kind as he belongs to the wrong social class. Driven by the desire to attain a higher status in society and win Daisy’s affection, Gatsby attempts to recreate his past, even if it means resorting to extravagant lies. In order to gain a certain level of prestige that could potentially make Daisy love him (as she may already have feelings for him but refuses to be with him), Gatsby employs his ill-gotten money, his connections with influential individuals, and numerous gestures to achieve this desired level of admiration.
According to Fitzgerald, Gatsby’s enigmatic fortune is acquired through bootlegging, which is a profitable but unlawful activity. Gatsby sees it as an opportunity to rapidly accumulate wealth. As Henry Dan Piper writes, bootlegging was considered a somewhat legitimate business venture.
According to Piper (191), although this may be true, it does not increase Gatsby’s level of respect.
The type of wealth he desires is wealth that has been “acquired”. The type of wealth he attains is wealth that has been earned. In the prominent East Egg and with Daisy, this particular type of wealth is seen as unacceptable. Additionally, association is utilized in Gatsby’s pursuit of prestige.
During the party, Gatsby makes a point to introduce Tom to every famous person. In an attempt to gain Tom’s respect, Gatsby proudly states, “Gatsby identified him, adding that he was a small producer” (Fitzgerald). Gatsby includes even morally questionable figures among the famous, such as “Meyer Wolfsheim, the man who fixed the world series in 1919” (Mizner 23).