Analysis of money, love and aspirations in The Great Gatsby

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald entered the history of the world literature with his talent to depict American life of 1920s. However, the most significant place among his brilliant novels occupies The Great Gatsby – the lively and intriguing story about the “way up” of a man. Unfortunately, he candidly believed that reaching the heights of wealth and power he will get love and happiness automatically. Accordingly to Briant (1998), “Fitzgerald's ambitious goal as he approached the composition of The Great Gatsby was to "write something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned."(p.514) Undoubtedly, the aim was fulfilled. This novel touches a lot of aspects of human life such as love, money, and aspirations. This paper seeks to analyze all these aspects in The Great Gatsby.

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Being a young man Gatsby falls in love with, Nick Carraway’s second cousin Daisy, a beautiful, rich, and spoiled woman. Daisy represents the world of big money and wealthy society. However, Gatsby in his early years was poor and could not dream of marrying her. Daisy marries the wealthy Tom Buchanan. Tom tries to live the luxurious life. Tom is cold, arrogant, and presumptuous; he has a mistress Myrtle Wilson, the wife of the mechanic. Daisy, once conquered by Tom money, in fact, is miserable. He is a typical rich man, a lover of a "sweet life." Having become rich Gatsby meets Daisy again. His love is not dead. The scene where Gatsby, wanting to stun his Daisy, throws a large wardrobe of beautiful lingerie is particularly symbolic. Unfortunately, Daisy is not able to feel something; she is an embodiment of spiritual poverty of "decent" women" of upper-class society. Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan's mistress falls under the wheels of the car, which is driven by Daisy. Gatsby has to pay for the crime. Hating the admirer of his wife, Tom Buchan tells Myrtle’s husband that Gatsby is guilty in Myrtle’s death; the man kills Gatsby and commits suicide.

All sentiments in the novel are formulated only in monetary terms. Even the death of Gatsby, the man who was a friend for everyone did not touch anyone in town. One of his acquaintances cares more about his tennis shoes than Gatsby’s death.

The story The Great Gatsby is commercial, sordid and loveless. Love is vendible, money is extremely powerful, and aspirations are no more than just an illusion. Despite the fact that the author sincerely despised everything that embodies the Gatsby, he thought that Gatsby was great person as the protagonist was able to preserve the purity of feeling, loyalty for romantic dream in the world of debauchery, brutality, callousness and heartlessness. The writer believed that generosity, as well as rare gift of hope, could make Gatsby a hero in another situation.

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Gatsby loves Daisy; however, his love is just a self-deception. “It excited him, too that many men had already loved Daisy - it increased her value in his eyes.”(Fitzgerald, 158) Gatsby acknowledges that material values mean too much for her. Gatsby even points out that her timorous voice was “full of money”. (Fitzgerald, 128) Analyzing the value of money in the novel Bryant (1998) Proclaims “The green light, which carries meaning at every level of the story--as Gatsby's go-ahead sign, as money, as the "green breast of the new world," as springtime.” (p.514)  The protagonist has a strong faith that will have love of his Daisy again with the help of material things. In order to conquer the heart of beloved woman he tries to earn much money. Gatsby loves the phantom of a young beautiful girl with whom he was happy many years ago, but everything is changed. The returning to past time is crucial for Gatsby.  His passionate imagination pushed poor man to self-affirmation. All his aspirations turned against Gatsby -Daisy Buchanan, the object of Gatsby’s romantic quest imagines herself as a loving mother and honest wife.

In the image of Gatsby, pragmatist gets on with ingenuous idealist. He has implemented the American dream: he has a luxury home; he excelled and won the right to overspend money. However, Gatsby is convinced that this "happiness" is ephemeral. One can not buy the most valuable things for money.  They are the cheapest, but, in the same time, they cannot be sold. Gatsby's wealth did not turn him into an arrogant and swagger master. It was felt human warmth, responsiveness, some softness in his attitude towards people. Gatsby did not forget about his father; he always provided the man with financial assistance.

 Yardley (2007) truly analyzed Gatsby’s aspirations:

"Fitzgerald gives us a meditation on some of this country's most central ideas, themes, yearnings and preoccupations: the quest for a new life, the preoccupation with class, the hunger for riches and "the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder." ("Gatsby": The Greatest Of Them All.")

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In conclusion, it should be said that in this book, the values that are truly valuable in life are undervalued; for example love. This insincere feeling is not the emotional centre of the story. The true idea of The Great Gatsby is much deeper. Fitzgerald leaves for readers the right to decide whether possessing money gives the opportunity to possess love and vice versa.

 Fitzgerald puts love to such a value that is can be bought for money. Conversely, money plays an immensely high role. The characters strongly believe that having money can acquire both love and happiness. All aspects depicted in a book are remarkably close to human daily life. Speaking about the value of Fitzgerald’s novel Yardley (2007) stated: "no American novel comes closer than "Gatsby" to surpassing literary artistry, and none tells us more about ourselves." ("Gatsby": The Greatest Of Them All.")

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