Materialism - the Great Gatsby

1732 Words Oct 20th, 1999 7 Pages
Materialism America has been labeled "The land of opportunity," a place where it is possible to accomplish anything and everything. This state of mind is known as "The American Dream." The American Dream provides a sense of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. This dream, however, originates from a desire for spiritual and material improvement. Unfortunately, the acquisition of material has been tied together with happiness in America. Although "The American Dream" can be thought of as a positive motivation, it often causes people to strive for material perfection, rather than a spiritual one. This has been a truth since the beginnings of America, such as the setting of F. Scott …show more content…
But the more important question that faces us through our sense of the immediate tragedy is where (these deficiencies) have brought America". This state of perfection that people so desperately want to achieve is the very reason why American society is dysfunctional. People are blinded by this hopeful result of their lives, they allow the present to escape their grasp. Fitzgerald introduces a place by the name of "The Valley of Ashes". It is a depressing locality far away from the glamour and wealth of the East and West Eggs. This dumping ground is half way between West Egg and New York. The Valley of Ashes is a symbol of the empty existence of a low society. Fitzgerald uses this slum as an example of the failure of the American Dream. He criticizes the corruption of the American dream. What was once for Thomas Jefferson-a belief in self-reliance and hard work, has become what Nick Carraway calls "The service of a cast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty" (180). This energy might have gone into the pursuit of morale and self worth, rather than materialism and shallow fortunes. Things like love and relating to another human being is completely overlooked in the pursuit of power and a very showy, but fundamentally empty form of success. All the characters in this novel are caught up in materialism except for one, Nick Carraway, the narrator and the observer. Nick sees all the evil that goes on, and it