The Great Gatsby By F.Scott Fitzgerald: Wealth That Does Harm

Throughout history, wealth came in crops, gold, or cash, and it was constantly used as a symbol of power and success. Additionally, it is widely known that more money means a better life. Thus, it is quite unsurprising when most people aim their goal to more wealth. However, it is surprisingly hard to determine how much wealth is enough. In fact, in most cases, people try to earn as much as possible to fulfill their endless desires.

In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the story is around Nick Carraway’s experience of living in the West Egg and East Egg, a place where only the top elites around the country live. During his stay, he meets other upper-class members such as Tom Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, and Jay Gatsby, who all have more than enough money to spare. Even though affluent people might seem better off than the others, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that wealth actually does more harm than good, as F. Scott Fitzgerald implies that wealth makes people corrupt, shown through Daisy and Gatsby. Wealth creates opportunities, but in the case for Daisy Buchanan, she lost her pure-self and became intoxicated by the wealth from Tom Buchanan. Daisy comes from an old-money status family in the Midwest. During that time, she was in love with Jay Gatsby, but because he was not in the appropriate social class and needed to join the army for World War 1, Daisy couldn’t marry him. After a farewell with Jay Gatsby, she becomes uninterested with any affairs with men. However, Daisy then meets Tom Buchanan, a man who meets all the requirements and is extraordinarily wealthy as he was among one of the top players in the college football tournaments. She instantly becomes interested in him, particularly in his wealth, and decides to marry Tom. However, right before the wedding, she suddenly goes into a state of despair: “Daisy throwing her neckless before the wedding”. At this moment, Daisy wondering whether marrying Tom is the right choice for her. Daisy throwing out her neckless, a symbol of Tom’s wealth, implies that she is restraining herself from marrying Tom. However, after a few hours, she decides to marry Tom and thus, discards the letter from Gatsby, which symbolizes Gatsby and her genuine desire to experience true love. In short, Daisy allows wealth to take over her, and ever since then, she is unable to save herself and her inner-self from the excitement that wealth provides. In the end, she has no goals in her life and tries to find small instances of excitement from her husband’s wealth.

Therefore, wealth has done more harm to Daisy as not only it made her lose her consciousness, but also her goal of experiencing true love. Gatsby, unlike any other characters in the story, does not come from a wealthy family; instead, he spent his youth working through the social class. While there is no doubt that Gatsby is a hard worker, his wealth made him corrupt, as Gatsby believes that he could re-create the past with money. Ever since Gatsby heard that Daisy married Tom Buchanan, his second goal always has been getting Daisy’s love and acceptance to the old money status. During his stay in West Egg, Gatsby does everything to attract Daisy’s attention; he hosts grand parties for everyone and plans a private reunion in Nick’s house to confess his love. However, his work ends up being for nothing, as at the end, Daisy refuses to leave Tom. An ordinary person would stop at this point, but Gatsby doesn’t know when to stop: ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’…’I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before, ’ he said, nodding determinedly. ‘She’ll see’”.

While wealth remains one of Gatsby’s strongest point, it is also his weakest point, as it is shown in the quote that Gatsby is unable to realize the truth that he will never be able to repeat the past to gain Daisy’s love and acceptance to the old money status. Instead of improving his status, Gatsby ends up putting himself in a continuous cycle, where he will work towards a goal that is impossible, realize that it didn’t work, and decide to solve it by throwing more money in the hopes that it will work the next time. Here, wealth has done harm to Gatsby as it has effectively ‘forbidden’ him from realizing the truth, as Gatsby has so much money that he will never run out of attempts.

Wealth must be controlled so that one can reap the benefits while reducing the harm as much as possible; such failure can be seen from Daisy and Gatsby, both of which had more loss than gains. The higher social class is valued because of its glamor, prestigiousness, and the enormous amount of wealth the members possess. However, one can never be “happier” or achieve eternal happiness just from earning more money, especially if it is money that is not needed. Daisy and Gatsby believed that more money equates into a better life, but they ended up craving for more: daily-excitement for Daisy and love and acceptance to the old money-status for Gatsby. Therefore, rather than trying to break out from their social status, people should focus more on being contempt with their lives to find true happiness.

15 July 2020
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