Jay Gatsby's Materialism in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Decent Essays

John D. Rockefeller once said, “I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.” Throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the importance of rampant materialism, excessive need for luxury and unprecedented levels of prosperity in the roaring twenties is shown through the life of Jay Gatsby. When one is asked of the 1920s, the first things that come to mind are flapper girls, jazz, the birth of mass culture, and prohibition. This was an age of dramatic social and political change with the nation’s wealth almost doubling in size. Many Americans had extra money to spend, and a new found freedom to go or do whatever they pleased. Jay Gatsby, of The Great Gatsby, was one of the many caught in the trap of desire in the 1920s.
Though some freedoms expanded in the 1920s, the eighteenth amendment banned the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages. Of course, while this took a toll on many Americans, others took advantage of it. The self-made Jay Gatsby’s inspiration for a new life comes from the wealthy, beautiful Daisy Buchanan whom he falls deeply in love with. Her voice “full of money” (Fitzgerald 127), drags him and from then on, he is forever hooked. At a time where a fine line was placed between the rich and the poor, Gatsby’s dream of being with her is ruined when her parents deem him unsuitable. With this in mind, Gatsby forms a new dream driven by his love for Daisy and his longing to impress her and her life of luxury.

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