“The Gilded Six Bits” by Zora Neale Hurston centers on the views of capitalism and patriarchy. This short story is not only about love, betrayal, and reconciliation. “The Gilded Six Bits” conveys a deeper message about race, class status, power, and money. These messages all tie in together with the capitalistic-patriarchy that distorts Missie May and Joe marriage. Although Joe does not leave Missie May the reconciliation between the two is left unassured causing Joe to still have dominance over his wife Missie May.
Leo Rosten once said, "Money can't buy happiness." Janie from Zora Neale Hurston's, Their Eyes Were Watching God, would agree with this famous quote. Janie's first husband is financially stable and her second husband is powerful; but it is with her third marriage where she finally experiences happiness and receives respect. Through the first two marriages, we see how worldly desires and pride can ruin a relationship. Ultimately, Hurston portrays that equality in a relationship truly nourishes a bond far more valuable that materialistic possessions or reputations.
Many people describe “The American Dream” as a life full of happiness and material comfort acquired by an individual but F. Scott Fitzgerald challenges this to elucidate the darkness that wealth can pull one in. As illustrated by characters such as Gatsby that is surrounded by so much materialism, for which his idealism is not primed for, leads to the tarnish of his dreams of success. He is too blinded to see the money could not buy love or happiness. Daisy and Tom, living a life full of lies and infidelity, serve as proof to the unhappiness that success can bring. Jordan Baker confirms that money dulls ones morals which only increases the speed of corruption. F. Scott Fitzgerald effectively offers a powerful message of a corrupt society due to its materialistic ideology and the destructive reality it provides.
Money is the driving force behind our society, and the severe materialism that we are experiencing is taking a toll in our persona, relationships and quality of life. People work extremely hard to have bigger houses, the newest car models, and the latest technologies. At the end, none of these things make individuals happy because they barely have time left to enjoy them. However, society keeps reminding us that we are what we own, and if we don’t have much, we are nobody. The author Carolyn Gregoire explains that “…there is no direct correlation between income and happiness. Once our basic needs are met, wealth makes very little difference to one 's overall well-being and happiness. And in fact, extremely wealthy people actually suffer from higher rates of depression.” Another interesting point relates to relationships; according to a study published in the Journal Of Couple & Marriage Therapy, materialism is actually correlated with unhappiness in marriages. Finally, materialism and consumerism affect deeply the attitude of the individual toward others. The individual becomes more self- absorbed, exhibit narcissistic traits, and is more likely to behave unethically. The article Wealthy Selfies by Maia Szalavitz argues that “…in five different experiments involving several hundred undergraduates and 100 adults recruited from online communities, the researchers found higher levels of both narcissism and
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” (unknown). All families are not perfect, they all have problems that they struggle with daily, they all go through tough times that cause unhappiness, but the thought that these factors have no affect on rich people is completely untrue. In Judith Guest’s Ordinary People and Jo Goodwin Parker’s “What is Poverty” both address how two families relationships, happiness and daily struggles are affected by the amount of money they have, which shows that the more money a person has does not necessarily make that person happier.
Slemmons is popular, rich, well-dressed, and envied by the young couple. Slemmons is portrayed to be on a higher maturity level than Joe only until he is found pleading for his life after being caught with Missie May. Knowing he had done wrong, he begged Joe not to kill him. Joe stood "barring him from escape, from sunrise, from life" (417). Joe took the money from Slemmons and ordered him out of the house. At this point, Joe is pictured standing over Slemmons, which shows that Slemmons had lost his power when his money was taken and his life was put at stake. Joe and Missie May stay together, however, their relationship becomes a struggle for Joe, who keeps himself distant from his wife for several weeks and does not give his pay to Missie May on Saturday afternoons. Joe withholds his money and love until he eventually is able to let go of his disappointment. One morning, Joe leaves behind Mr. Slemmons’ coin for Missie May, and she “took it into her hands with trembling and saw first thing that it was no gold piece. It was a gilded half dollar” (419). This was a mere realization that the money was practically useless, and not worth risking their marriage over. The gilded coin was deceptive to the eye, just like Slemmons’
Zora Neale Hurston’s The Gilded Six-Bits is a beautifully written short story about marriage and forgiveness. This story tugs at the heartstrings, as Hurston paints each scene with vivid imagination. The characters, their surroundings, and their behaviors are visually and emotionally illustrated.
In ‘The Great Gatsby’ Fitzgerald criticises the increase of consumerism in the 1920s and the abandonment of the original American Dream , highlighting that the increased focus on wealth and the social class associated with it has negative effects on relationships and the poorest sections of society. The concept of wealth being used as a measure of success and worth is also explored by Plath in ‘The Bell Jar’. Similarly, she draws attention to the superficial nature of this material American Dream which has extended into the 1960s, but highlights that gender determines people’s worth in society as well as class.
First of all, let's talk about wealth. Money is a crafty thing. On the one hand, it can provide home, different material things, food, education and so on. In a recent New York Times opinion piece titled “A Formula for Happiness”, Arthur C. Brooks said that "money makes truly poor people happier insofar as it relieves pressure from everyday life — getting enough to eat, having a place to live, taking your kid to the doctor". It's true. Just imagine that you don’t have food in your fridge or even a home. I think that in...
...wo influences: “scarcity and socialization hypotheses”. The scarcity theory explains how "an individual's priorities reflect one's socioeconomic environment: one places the greatest subjective value on those things that are in relatively short supply" (1990, p.68). Thus, people who are less economically advanced focus a greater importance on material acquisition then the more affluent people. The socialization hypothesis explains that "one's basic values reflect the conditions that prevailed during one's pre adult years" (1990, p.68), and these values are persistently stable over a long period of time. Consequently, the people whom experienced a lack of possessions in previous years are more likely to develop an obsessive desire for material goods, while people who originated from wealthy families may focus on personal fulfillment at the expense of higher incomes.