Wealth, greed and the problems that come from money are recurring themes in many stories, including The Great Gatsby. This book revolves around the relationships that develop because of money and the impact that money has on the characters and their behaviour towards each other. In The Great Gatsby, people have big houses, nice cars and a privileged lifestyle. At first money are the entry to lavish life, great parties, and a world of extravagance. Then, in the end, it brings everyone down. Money creates more problems than it is worth.
Jay Gatsby loves Daisy. She loves Jay Gatsby. Money gets in the way when Daisy tells Jay that he is not rich enough for her. Gatsby spends years making the money by becoming a bootlegger. He believes that this money would buy Daisy’s love, after all, Daisy tells him that “rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” Jay Gatsby became a very rich man only after being rejected by Daisy because he does not have enough money. Gatsby wants Daisy so badly that he uses immoral and illegal ways to make his money. The irony is that he chooses a life of immoral and illegal behaviour to get a woman, who in the end, he never gets. In fact, he loses everything, including his life.
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Another person affected by the impact of money and greed is George Wilson, a man who lives in the Valley Of Ashes, an industrial area in New York. This community is poverty-stricken, a polluted industrial wasteland very much the opposite of the lavish life of the Eggs, where Daisy and Gatsby live. He owns a gas station and is married to Myrtle, Tom Buchanan’s lover. Myrtle becomes part of Tom’s lavish life and is seduced by the money she sees Tom spending on his beautiful lifestyle. She hopes to leave George but instead has a tragic accident.
Myrtle runs into the street and is hit and killed by Daisy who is driving Gatsby’s car. . George becomes enraged and kills Gatsby and then kills himself. Unlike the rest of the characters in the story, George is not wealthy and corrupted by his money and greed. However, unfortunately, the wealth and greed of other people is his undoing. He dies because of other people’s need for money.
Gatsby’s parties can also be seen as a negative statement of the relationship of money, greed and power on people and their relationships. Every weekend, Gatsby threw huge parties to hopefully attract Daisy. At the parties, there were many people, most of whom were not invited and did not know Gatsby at all. These people used Gatsby for his money. One man, Ewing Klipspringer, even stays permanently at Gatsby’s house. It seems that they thought if they were at these parties, they would be happy, rich and perfect. Of course, this is not the case. They are in fact leeches, who come to the parties but don’t care at all about Gatsby. They don’t even come to his funeral, including Ewing Klipspringer. He is not useful to them anymore.
The Great Gatsby is a story about wealth and greed and what it does to relationships and communities. At the end of the story, Myrtle and George die, Gatsby dies, Nick and everyone else move back west to get away from the lives that were ruined by money. I think that money can corrupt. Perhaps not to the extent shown in this book, with people dying, but maybe to the extent that substance abuse, unhappy lives and affairs. Money is not terrible but the more money people have it seems like the more problems in their lives.
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