It is a conventionally held belief that opulence has noxious effects on one's character. However, In the asses, many Americans in the East thought quite the contrary. F. Scott Fitzgerald renowned novel, The Great Gatsby, takes the reader back into such an era through the eyes of Nick Caraway, the protagonist and narrator who vicariously experiences affluence's vitiating nature through his wealthy associates. Through his portrayal of such wealthy characters as Gatsby, the Buchannan, and Jordan, F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the turpitude and mercenary demeanor resultant of great riches.
In The Great Gatsby, the titular character himself encapsulates the notion that wealth deteriorates character. Jay Gatsby corruption generally stems from his blind idealism based on the fallacy that affluence and love are one and the same. This is evinced by the fact that Gatsby falls in love with Daisy due to his teenage experiences of sumptuous lifestyle. He felt he could ingratiate himself to Daisy by making a fortune of his own, and therefore, transitively, Gatsby falls in love with money, not Daisy.
In fact, Gatsby even says that "[Dallas voice] was full of money that was the Inexhaustible charm that rose and fell In It" (101 In making the preceding statement, Gatsby provides the reader with a corroborative avowal of his love for wealth, notwithstanding his intent to declare his love for Daisy. Later, in Gatsby altercation with Tom, It Is confirmed that Gatsby Is a bootlegger when Tom says, "I found out what your 'drug-stores' were... [he] and this Wolfishly bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter" (112).
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The fact that Gatsby would partake in illicit activity is unequivocal roof that Gatsby is Indeed corrupted by his wealth. Evidence that further substantiates the claim that Gatsby Is spoiled by his wealth Is the symbol of the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. In the novel, the color green is an archetype for jealousy and avarice; even though Gatsby can see East Egg and the green light in plain view, he cannot physically reach it, regardless of how much he desires it.
This parallels the plot point that he Is oblivious to the notion that he will never fit In with the fundamentally cavalier high society of East Egg, who privately abominate Gatsby parvenus. These types of blindness and envy are in and of themselves indications of decadence. For these reasons, Gatsby is a great example of how wealth can depreciate morality and values. Although Gatsby Is ostensibly corrupted by affluence, Tom and Daisy Buchanan are much less pristine in character.
Firstly, Nick Caraway mentions in the novel that the Buchannan only moved to East Egg to be In close proximity to the other Fenton individuals, saying that "they had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unmercifully wherever people played polo and were rich together" (11). This quotation Illustrates the Idea that the Buchannan' lives are disconsolate no matter where they reside. The aforesaid notion is further proven with the fact that both partners commit infidelities throughout The Great Gatsby duration--Tom with Myrtle and Daisy with Gatsby.
Such perfidious behavior on both sides is an attestation to the fact that the Buchannan' marriage is only held together by common socioeconomic backgrounds. By the novel's conclusion, when Gatsby suffers a violent death, Tom and Daisy do not people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated jack into their money or their vast carelessness" (148). Their lack of attendance only suggests that neither Tom nor Daisy have a scintilla of benevolence in their hearts-- only a preeminent sense of egoism.
All of these instances corroborate the fact that Tom and Daisy Buchanan have been corrupted by their wealth. Lastly, Jordan Baker is incontestably spoiled by her own prosperity. Nick notes at Gatsby lavish party that Jordan is "incurably dishonest. She wasn't able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness,... She had begun dealing in butterflies" (52). This dishonesty is evidenced by the fact that she had been involved in a scandal at a golf tournament, in which she allegedly changed the positioning of her golf ball to her benefit.
However, she is able to get away which such duplicity because she is so inherently wealthy--a privilege that is widely unavailable to the hoi polloi. Cordon's dishonesty also reflects her apathetic attitude toward other people; if she truly treasured the people around her, she would certainly tell the truth more often. Cordon's indifference to other people is exemplified hen she expressed her approval of Daisy's affair, saying that "Daisy ought to have something in her life" (69).
By using the word 'something' to refer to Gatsby, she shows that she equates people with material possessions, an apparent portent of demutualization. For her dishonesty and apathy towards others, Jordan is clearly spoiled by the advantages of wealth. The covetous, arrogant, and indifferent personalities in The Great Gatsby are all prime examples of how wealth victimizes virtue. James Gatsby, the title character, is in love with money, and he confuses this eve for financial success as an adulation for Daisy Buchanan.
What is more, he is desperate to become accepted by people who condescend to him privately. Tom and Daisy Buchanan are heartless individuals whose unstable marriage is only held together by the glue of wealth. Lastly, Jordan Baker is a deceitful and apathetic woman who uses her wealth to pull off scandals. Through the portrayal of the enumerated characters, F. Scott Fitzgerald successfully captures the theme of abundant wealth and luxury as antecedents to moral deterioration and the destruction of one's dreams.
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