Criticism of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Essay

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Criticism of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates an artificial world where money is the object of everyone's desire. The characters, the setting, and the plot are very deeply submerged in a Capitalism that ends up destroying many of them. Fitzgerald's criticism of Capitalism can be seen as a move to subtly promote Socialism, an ideology in which value is placed on the inherent value of an object rather than its market value. In a late collection of notes, Fitzgerald himself proclaims that he is "essentially Marxist." [i] Marxism is a specific branch of Socialist theory. Fitzgerald makes Gatsby a novel that is not inherently Marxist or even Socialist, but one that is
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This is a Capitalist ideal; because the characters have this value and they are corrupt, Fitzgerald is criticizing Capitalism as a system through its values.

This class division is painfully apparent throughout the novel. In chapter five, some of the people at Gatsby's party are singing a popular tune of the 1920's, which includes the lyrics: "the rich are getting richer/and the poor are getting children/ain't we got fun?" (101). The flippancy of the lyrics implies a general attitude of the upper classes toward the lower class. Later in the novel, Gatsby describes a young Daisy, who appears "gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor" (157). This sentence captures the main argument of Marx's The Communist Manifesto. In the Manifesto, he describes the constant conflict between classes, but says that the real struggle is on the part of the lower class. In this book, the upper class is portrayed as being extremely artificial and corrupt. The reason that Gatsby works so hard to become a member of the upper class is to impress a girl who he places a market value on - and he becomes a member of that class through illegalities. When Gatsby buys his house to impress Daisy, he is not simply purchasing property; he "thinks he is buying a dream." [ii]

At one point in the novel, Nick says that "human sympathy has its limits" (143). Even the narrator of the story, who has less