Many never grasp that“…no title, amount of wealth or material possessions are enough to make a human being fully content with [his or] her life. ” (Nair). By the 1920’s, America had developed a vast consumer culture. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald artistically expresses his displeasure of the materialistic society that arose within this time period. Fitzgerald displays the negative effects materialism has upon society through his characters Daisy and Gatsby, but also through the imagery of God he includes as well.
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The main female character within the novel is characterized as a “sophisticated” person who’s “… voice is full of money…” (Fitzgerald, 17, 120). Daisy Buchanan appears to have everything a woman could ever want, but she is not completely satisfied with her life. When Jay Gatsby, her past love, reenters her life, she once again becomes romantically interested in him. Through stories of Daisy’s past life, it is presented that she married her husband, Tom, because he was wealthy suitor. Daisy’s cupidity for fortune deteriorated her chances for happiness by marring Tom for money rather than true love.
One of Fitzgerald’s main characters, Jay Gatsby, is a character who “…sprang from [the] platonic conception of himself…” he constructed as a seventeen year old boy (Fitzgerald, 98). Gatsby became exactly the man he envisioned, a successful one. When Gatsby met Daisy, he was not a rich man, so he acquired her through lies that led her to think that he was successful. Gatsby was later separated from Daisy during the war and used time afterwards to become a wealthy individual. Once he returned, Daisy had moved on with her life by marring Tom.
Gatsby refused to give up and convinced himself that he could, “…repeat the past…” (Fitzgerald, 110). He believed that with help from his possessions and prosperity, he could successfully lure Daisy away from Tom. By successfully doing so, he believed that Daisy would be the solution to his loneliness. Gatsby is never able to acquire Daisy, which leaves Jay depressed. Although, he is a popular man who fills his home with “…interesting…[and]…celebrated people. ”, he still feels unhappy and alone (Fitzgerald,90) .
Within the text, God is symbolized through the deteriorated advertisement of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. The advertisement has “…blue and gigantic [eyes]” “… [Which] look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous low spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. ” (Fitzgerald, 23). Similar to how God is faceless to humanity, Fitzgerald purposefully presents God’s presence in the form of these “…eyes, [which are] dimmed…by many paintless days” (Fitzgerald, 24). The characters’ actions demonstrate the absence of God in their lives by focusing on their wealth and social status.
Fitzgerald writes in such an extravagant manner that one may not realize he was analyzing society within the novel. Alas, in the end, no character appears to have a joyful outcome. All of the unhappiness perceived within the story was caused by the characters’ obsession with maintaining superiority in society through acquiring wealth. Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1925. Nair, Lishen. “Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse: Fame & Money are not enough” Lishen Nair (2012): 1. Web. May 2nd 2012 .