In Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden, Thoreau talks about his experiences dining with the wealthy. He speaks about how they have no hospitality and all they talk about is money. Thoreau says, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” (436). Thoreau is stating how he would rather have truth than money. The characters in the Great Gatsby want exactly the opposite as Thoreau. Where he wants truth all they want is money. They want to hide their problems behind their money and enjoy the carefree activities of the rich and famous. The Roaring 20’s was a time of carefree enjoyment. However, what is often over looked is how those who indulged themselves refused to accept the consequences of their actions. Instead, they hid behind their shield of money, which gave them the freedom and privilege to live a careless, and sometimes-unscrupulous lifestyle. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the wild parties and other unruly actions of the rich to show how the more money one has in a society, the more privilege and freedom they have to get away with immoral and unethical things.
The privilege of the rich is illustrated through the relationships of the main characters. Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby were formerly lovers but they had not seen each other for almost five years. Their relationship ended suddenly when Gatsby left to go to war. Shortly after their relationship ended, Daisy became engaged to a young man who is extremely rich, Tom Buchanan. Jordan, a friend of Daisy’s in discussion with Nick Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, tells a story about what happened with Daisy after Gatsby left for war:
By the next autumn she was gay again, gay as ever. She had a debut after the Armistice, and i...
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...om never experienced the repercussions for her actions because she and Tom used their money to once again to free themselves from hardship.
It doesn’t matter if the character is from old wealth like Tom and Daisy, or new wealth like Gatsby, money gives him or her the ability to be reckless, and buy his or her way out of the situation, as powerful members of the community. The main characters in The Great Gatsby have this mobility, and are constantly in situations showing, bad judgment, and immoral behavior. Fitzgerald’s shows the headstrong, and unruly actions of the rich through the relationships between his characters, wild parties, and through the freedom they have to get away with immoral.
Fitzgerald. F. Scott, The Great Gatsby, New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company. 1910. Print
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