The Importance of Concerns About Social Class in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Arguably, characters throughout ”The Great Gatsby’ are more concerned by social class and their status in society than they are about their happiness and more important that being in love and being loved by someone else. This idea is presented by Fitzgerald through Daisy’s personality in the novel. Daisy is portrayed to have a very strong sense of materialistic love towards life and especially towards possessions. When Daisy and Nick go to Gatsby‘s house, Gatsby throws lots of ‘silk shirts’ at Daisy and her response is very dramatic: “I’ve never see such… such beautiful shirts before.” This quotation suggests that she is very emotional holding something that she knows is worth a lot in terms of monetary value and that she knows that she is very lucky to be so high up in society’s hierarchy, especially in a time of great changes in the economy with the industrial revolution.

The use of the verb “subbed“ to describe her reaction and the way she speaks in the bedroom possibly implies that she is overwhelmed by the world that she is in and although her love for money and all things luxurious. she isn’t prepared, due to her naivety, to be in such a corrupt, intrusive and lonely world. Gatsby describes her voice as being “full of money” which suggests that Daisy sees the world through dollar signs and that all she is and believes in is money as well as, very shallowly, determines people’s value and worthiness in her life by their social status and their wealth; this could mean that she forces herself to be lonely and unhappy and she thinks that she is worth a lot more than others and that no one is good enough for her.

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Towards the end of the novel, Tom and Gatsby start to have a very loud altercation and Daisy sees this as a way to determine who is worthy of her and who is the most powerful in terms of who they are and what they have to offer her in terms of money and status. Daisy “moves closer to Tom” which could suggest that, although she is unhappy with Tom, she think he can offer her more in society even though Gatsby appears to whole-heartedly love her Fitzgerald continues to build a case for this idea in the novel through the idea of old money versus new money. Daisy doesn’t marry Gatsby because her family deem him not to be worthy enough for her because he is poor and Daisy goes along with it, due to her moneyroriented view of people. Daisy agrees to marry Tom instead ofGatsby due to his high status and extortionate wealth.

His wealth and the one of the reasons why we can infer that Daisy seems so eager to marry him and this can be seen through the way in which he gives her a ”string of pearls valued at $350,000 the day before the wedding”.  Fitzgerald includes the value to the necklace and gift possibly because it tells us a lot about who Daisy and Tom are and how high or low their morals are and if they are honest, kind people who appreciate life because it‘s hard or people who like to show off their wealth in order to make people feel inferior, the latter being the more appropriate explanation. Another quotation that enables the reader to infer that they like to live exuberantly is that the “wedding is seen to have more pomp and circumstance than strictly necessary”, suggesting that Daisy and Tom used their wedding to have a big, lavish affair in order to establish their place high up in society and to create a name for themselves that would help them to be well-respected by people in the same position as them, and lower down in society and people who were seen to be working class.

However. it is easy to see that to both Tom and Daisy, and Daisy’s family, their status in society is more important than their love and happiness, and their happiness for their daughter, as Tom has an affair because he doesn‘t fully love Daisy and sees her as an object that he can string along using his wealth and Daisy starts a very small, but fairly passionate affair with Gatsby, showing her lack of faith in her marriage to Tom. Fitzgerald successfully builds a strong symbol and motif Lhrough the use of cars, which could be seen as money and the way people look at you in society and your class as being more central than not only love but also consequences and honesty as well as power. Throughout the novel, the idea and use of the car is a key show of both Tom and Gatsby’s wealth as cars were very expensive in the industrial revolution.

The use of the Gatsby’s “yellow Rolls Royce” is a very clear and important symbol as coloured cars were Very expensive and not easily accessible to people who were considered working class. An interpretation could be that Fitzgerald uses the car and wealth to create a strong power play between Tom and Gatsby, almost like trying to compete for Daisy too. Overall, Fitzgerald Creates a strong link between social class being more important than love and also addresses and creates a sense of power and control being more important than love to certain characters, especially Tom, Daisy and Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses interesting symbols and motifs such as the car, and small ideas that link to social class and show that love is less important, such as the subtle movement of Daisy towards Tom instead of Gatsby and the “three hundred and fifty thousand dollar” pearl necklace.

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The Importance of Concerns About Social Class in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (2023, May 20). Retrieved from

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