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Money, Money, Money (In A Rich Man's World) in Fitzgerald´s The Great Gatsby

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The Jazz Age was a gilded time in America, a period of excitement and carelessness, the entire nation obsessed with good looks and money. As wealthy reputations became more important than ever, Americans grew increasingly materialistic and craved the "good life"– a life with big houses, fancy cars, and lavish parties. The highest level of success was not derived from a hard work ethic as in the olden days, but instead from this new, gaudy American Dream, a dream focused neither on happiness or satisfaction, but instead solely on the attainment of wealth. Americans wrongly associated ultimate happiness with the possession of money, and often intertwined the two, reducing the old American Dream to nothing but a corrupt vision of wealth. In his novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald exposed the birth of this cheap, gilded, materialistic American Dream, as well as the empty lives it created. By illustrating both the ceaseless dissatisfaction and the immoral ignorance of the rich East-Egg socialites during this garish jazz age, Fitzgerald demonstrated how money can destroy and contort the beautiful purity of a simple dream. Fitzgerald emphasized the extent to which money could corrupt a dream in the character of Jay Gatsby. A young Gatsby, constantly improving himself, had always worked towards some kind of goal. "Jimmy was bound to get ahead...he was always great for that" (Fitzgerald 173). Uninfluenced by money at this time, Gatsby's motives were pure. He worked to accomplish something, and when he did, he did not rest– effortlessly moving on to another part of his life that required perfection. Gatsby's perseverance and determination to improve were characteristics of old dreamers– people that defined success not as wealth, ... ... middle of paper ... ... The Great Gatsby beautifully documents the death of the pure American Dream in the 1920s, when wealth and the materialistic attitudes began replacing the pure ideals of success and genuine content. Through Gatsby's dissatisfaction with the unfulfilling life that money provided him and through the immoral recklessness of Tom and Daisy caused by their selfishness, Fitzgerald accused the rich of killing the old American Dream and of creating a materialistic society that was rarely satisfied with what they had. Fitzgerald credited the destruction of the old American Dream to money and to those that obsessively worshipped that money, exposing the nation's open willingness to give money the power to control and corrupt American lives. Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 2004th ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. 1- 180 . Print.
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