The Professor's House and The Great Gatsby: Wealth in Post-War America

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Novelists such as Willa Cather and F. Scott Fitzgerald used themes of desire of wealth as a fundamental element to motivate their characters. In their novels, the theme is reflected by the rich Americans who primal desire is to obtain more and more wealth. These characters are so infatuated with and blinded by money that they no longer regard the more noble qualities of life. In each of their works, these authors present intricate, self-conscious characters that desire wealth in order to attain their dreams. In reality, wealth cannot buy people, ideas or even time. The Professor's House was written in 1925, in post-war America. Cather narrates a story of detached and collapsed family consumed by the powers of materialism and wealth. …show more content…
Similarly, money convinced Rodney to betray Tom and sell away what they had discovered on the mesa: "‘Rodney explained that he knew I cared about the things, and was proud of them, but he'd always supposed I meant to "realize" on them, just as he did, and that it would come to money in the end. ‘Everything does,'" he added." (Cather 237) Rodney's desire for wealth and prosperity destroyed Tom's long-lived dream to continue living on the mesa and preserving Indian artifacts. While Tom believed that these sacred, natural treasures must remain with the land and its people, Rodney viewed them as profitable discoveries. In The Great Gatsby, wealth can be distinguished from class; it is possible to achieve great wealth without being accepted into the élite class, as evidenced by Jay Gatsby’s experience. Jay Gatsby was part of the new rich, the millionaires that popped up over night in the 1920s. His money could not buy him into the society of old money, the aristocratic money. The life of ease and luxury that Tom and others enjoy is contrasted sharply with the stranglehold of poverty containing Myrtle and George Wilson or the life from which Jay Gatsby emerges. Wealth is what separates Gatsby from his love, as he notes of Daisy that "her voice is full of money."(Fitzgerald 127). In The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway
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