The Great Gatsby 16 Essay Research Paper

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The Great Gatsby 16 Essay, Research Paper In his novel The Great Gatsby (1925) F. S. Fitzgerald introduces the reader to a set of characters that stand on the different levels of socioeconomic ladder and by destiny s will share each other s lives. Reading the novel one can see that Fitzgerald puts a huge emphasis on money: its presence or absence is the deciding factor in shaping the lives and personalities of the characters. The novel takes place in New York, in the early 1920s. One might notice that the financial situation with the East and West Eggs bears an uncanny resemblance to the situation with the East and West Sides in the city. The narrator himself introduces the reader to this idea: I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is

a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them (9). In the city families who have been wealthy for several generations occupy the sophisticated East Side; in order to buy an apartment there one must provide good recommendations. West Side is less sophisticated and therefore less desirable for it is open to the new money. By creating this setting Fitzgerald is trying to make the reader understand that a character like Gatsby needs a certain environment to exist. Although Gatsby s persona is surrounded by different rumors, and contemporary legends such as the underground pipe-line to Canada attached themselves to his name, people come to his parties. Money can buy one popularity and friends, at least temporarily. Most likely many of

Gatsby s friends knew where the money came from, yet it did not seem to be a good enough reason for them to stop socializing with him. Money can also buy tolerance for breaking the law. In order for Gatsby to be able to have his lavish parties where in the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten (44), he had to have the entire police department on the payroll. The 1920s were the years of Prohibition the sale and purchase of alcohol was forbidden in the United States. Gatsby s money bought him an unspoken permission to have those parties. Gatsby acknowledges his friendly relationship with the commissioner to Nick. He says that he was able to do the commissioner a favor once, and he sends me a

Christmas card every year. Fitzgerald completely trashes the power of the laws when Gatsby was stopped for speeding and acknowledged himself, the policeman said: Know you next time, Mr. Gatsby. Excuse me! (72). What message is he trying to convey? Is the power of money infinite? Fitzgerald divides his characters into two categories: those who have been negatively affected by money and those who have been affected by it to a lesser degree. It is very important for the reader to understand that there are no positive characters in this novel. Nick Carraway is the only character in the novel who has to work for his money. Throughout the novel the reader can also see that Nick is probably the only one who has good moral values. It seems that Fitzgerald uses Nick s character for

contrast. The goodness of Nick s character emphasizes the negative qualities of others. Jordan Baker s character is shaped not so much around money, but the issue of social standing. Since Jordan was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she makes her living by playing golf. It would be fair to say that money is important to Jordan, since her life revolves in circles where one s social standing is determined by his wealth. It is also evident from Jordan s own story (79-83) that even when she was young, she admired that wealthy society and wanted to be a part of it. She understood that Daisy s popularity was not based solely on her good looks, but rather on what her family s money made her to be: a beautiful rich girl. However, to be a part of that society one has to