Money is the Foundation of Power in “The Great Gatsby”

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The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an American novel that reflects the impact money has on society. F. Scott Fitzgerald exemplifies certain protagonists establishing their power through money and utilizing the wealth to manipulate others. In the Great Gatsby, money is the foundation of power which allows certain protagonists the privilege of controlling others and their own reality by regulating and manipulating feelings of love, happiness and lifestyle.

Money is the foundation of power because it allows Gatsby to lure Daisy into this false conception of love. This conception of love is built through materialistic possessions he bought with his money which allow him to manipulate Daisy. Overall, the love that seemed to have disappeared between Gatsby and Daisy was rekindled through money. This is indicated in the novel when Gatsby gives a tour of his mansion to Daisy, Nick says “ I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well loved eyes” (#98). It can be interpreted that the expensive assets have been purchased to win her over because Gatsby knew that Daisy needed this wealth to fall in love with him. Gatsby knows these possessions establish power considering they have finally reconstructed a lost feeling of love between the two and expanded the love she has for him. The feelings that Gatsby has for Daisy are real. However, they have been expressed to her with the help of his property. The critic Roger Lewis explains, “ the means by which Gatsby expresses his feelings for Daisy – even though those feelings are sincere – is by showing off his possessions. … The very language in which Nick describes Gatsby’s love for Daisy is commercial,” (#45). Hence, the critic agrees with the feelings being developed in monetary terms. The relationship between money and love has been identified by showing money renewing love. The love seems to be genuine but seems peculiar to us readers. Ultimately, money is the foundation of power because it was the reason for the formation and revival of love for two perplexed characters.

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The money seems to be another form of power because it allowed Gatsby to regulate his own contentment and Daisy’s emotions. Gatsby’s outlook to happiness was being with Daisy, he realized she was passionate for a wealthy and materialistic life and utilized his cash to purchase extravagant things in order to control Daisy’s emotions. As Daisy cries after being overwhelmed with Gatsby’s exclusive wardrobe, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes “‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.’’ (#99). F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates the addiction Daisy has for a material based lifestyle. This example illustrates Gatsby using money to create power and use this sort of weakness Daisy has to his advantage. Gatsby overwhelms her with all these luxuries which make Daisy excited for his wealth. The roots of this started from buying these goods in order to form her happiness with them because wealth is all she desired. Daisy being happy and excited for Gatsby’s wealth was Gatsby own form of joy. To explain further, the critic John F. Callahan emphasises this by stating “ Jay Gatsby pursues Daisy knowing that her sense of happiness and the good life depends on money and property…Gatsby understands: To win Daisy he gathers money and property,” (#149). Hence, it is further examined of the true reason of the function of this money. The money was in form a power that Gatsby needed in order to win Daisy over. The money was used to regulate her happiness and his own. The connection between her happiness and his is that in order for him to be happy, he needed her to be happy. Money is the foundation of power because Gatsby used it to control Daisy’s emotions positively which connected to his own happiness.

The final reason of why money is the foundation of power is because it gave Gatsby the huge advantage of making a way of life not only for himself but as well as others in a very troublesome time. After WW1 had a long and extensive impact on society, the people experienced a form of disillusionment. As Gatsby situated his lifestyle around parties, he also controlled peoples lifestyle being based on making money.

“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight.” (#43).

As expressed, Gatsby hosted very extravagant parties with valuable items that were rare. These parties did serve the purpose of a social gathering but additionally shows people desire for money and what they truly want. The desire for money especially around the time the novel took place which is the 1920’s was very high. F. H. Langman’s critical essay reinforces the belief of people being hungry for wealth when he claims “we only find ourselves in a variant of the parties where we have already been. People are still restlessly hungry, still involved with money and the dream of what it can bring are simply upgraded.” (#25). Langman depicts how people who are just involved in these parties for the simple purpose of money have seen their dreams being upgraded after seeing Gatsby’s belongings and lifestyle. The huge sums of money put into these parties have generated Gatsby ability to control the lifestyles of these people in the simple manner of having them desire it even more afterwards. Overall, the money is the reason of Gatsby’s authority over these parties and peoples mindset.

Money is the foundation of power because it was the reason for the formation and revival of love for two perplexed characters, Gatsby used it to form Daisy’s emotions which also controlled his emotions, and it is the reason of Gatsby’s authority over these parties and peoples mindset. Finally, throughout the novel we have seen Gatsby use this money he has attained over the years in ways we could not think of, but Gatsby has proven to us that in some societies money is really the way to controlling reality.

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Money is the Foundation of Power in “The Great Gatsby”. (2022, Aug 30). Retrieved from

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