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For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.


� 1 Timothy 610 �


As people, we do not realize what kinds of sorrows we bring upon ourselves. All the want, the greed, the needs, add together to make our lives miserable. There is a shortage of non-materialistic people in the world today because we have grown up with the idea that the more we possess the higher up in society we rank. Booker T. Washington said, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” It is the society in which we grew up in that causes such things to seem ludicrous to many. This mindset was started in the Roaring Twenties right after World War I, with people buying on margin and going further into debt just to obtain the latest technologies. Proof of this materialist thought comes from the book “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The protagonist, Jay Gatsby, is plagued everyday for five years by the memory that he was unable to marry the woman of his dreams. His goal in life becomes marrying Daisy. In his quest for this goal, Gatsby interconnects fantasy and reality becoming unable to distinguish the two. In the end his pursuit causes him to fall in love with money because of its overwhelming presence within his dream. In his book “The Great Gatsby”, using the character of Gatsby, Fitzgerald shows how Gatsby’s dream led to his irresistible need for material wealth, ultimately leading to the death of a great man.


The main character in the book, Jay Gatsby, was affluent, but it was all part of a dream, a dream that never expires, a dream that stayed with Gatsby till his dying day. Gatsby’s dream was not to become rich but to marry Daisy. Gatsby always thought of Daisy as the one thing in his life that he worked for. Everything that he accomplished, was so that he could love Daisy. “He hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes”(Fitzgerald 6-7). Gatsby had collected his wealth just to impress Daisy in hopes of winning her back. This is all that Gatsby can think about; nothing else matters to him except Daisy. When Gatsby allows Daisy to take his car on the wild ride that killed Myrtle, he was prepared to defend his dream. Gatsby’s love for Daisy can actually be considered an obsession. Daisy consumes all of his thoughts and causes him to become lost. “He spoke as if Daisy’s reaction was the only thing that mattered” (151). Daisy was like a virus that utterly and completely consumed Gatsby. He notes every little detail about Daisy, even the little green light on at the end of her dock. At night Gatsby would step outside his house and perform a ritual, “he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward � and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock”(5-6). Gatsby’s love for Daisy borders on the dangerous side as he records every minute since the day that they met, counting the days that they have been apart. During the long time that they were apart Gatsby never gives up hope, always looking for proof that Daisy still existed. Even after their first meeting in five years Gatsby still dreamed about Daisy. “After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end”(7). Once he accomplished his goal, that was to meet Daisy again after five years, he was like a servant at her command. He went so far as to dismissing all his servants for her. Gatsby was devoted from the beginning to the end; Daisy was not only his dream but also his religion. “Now he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail. He knew that Daisy was extraordinary but he didn’t realize just how extraordinary a ‘nice’ girl could be. She vanished into her rich house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby � nothing. He felt married to her, that was all”(156-167). Even when his dream was fading he refused to leave her. This was his dream and he would clutch it till his dying day. “ ‘Go away now, old sport?’…He wouldn’t consider it. He couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free”(155). While lying on his deathbed Gatsby kept hoping that Daisy would come back and marry him, unwilling to let go of his fantasy.


Custom Essays on The Great Gatsby and the American Dream


Gatsby was a great man. Everything that he did, from the way he carried himself to the way that he spoke, pointed to the fact that he was accomplished. It was his personality that made him so distinguished. He lived in mystery and he spoke with the sophistication of a man educated at Oxford. “ ‘I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour. I said to myself ‘there’s the kind of man you’d like to take home and introduce to your mother and sister’”(76-77). His bodily gestures were so subtle and unique that they easily portrayed a man of greatness. “He smiled understandingly � much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life”(5). Gatsby was not born a great man, he became one. Fighting in the war had made him capable of what he has become, giving him the honor and respect that he needed to become so great. “He reached in his pocket and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm. ‘That’s the one from Montenegro.’ To my astonishment the thing had an authentic look. Orderi di Danilo, ran the circular legend, Montenegro, Nicolas Rex. ‘Turn it.’ Major Jay Gatsby, I read, For Valour Extraordinary”(71). This is proof of Gatsby’s honor, recognized by the world around, at least by Montenegro. Gatsby had touched everyone’s lives. His most trusted associates spoke of him with respect. Even in death Gatsby was seen as a great man. “ ‘If he’d of lived he’d of been a great man”(176). It was not only his personality and accomplishments that made Gatsby so great, his dream also contributed to his greatness. “Gatsby is great, because his dream, however na├»ve, gaudy, and unattainable is one of the grand illusions of the race which keep men from becoming too old or to wise or too cynical of their human limitations” (Ornstein 60). It may have been Gatsby’s dream that helped him become so distinguished, but it was also his dream that destroyed him.


Gatsby’s dream of loving for Daisy is the reason that he has such a lust for money. “both [Gatsby and Myrtle] believe that if they only have enough money, they can buy the dream they seek” (Lewis 54). Gatsby’s need for money to obtain his dream, Daisy, has brought him to a realization that because he loves Daisy, he also loves money. “But Gatsby, with his boundless capacity for love, a capacity unique in the sterile world he inhabits, sees that the pursuit of money is a substitute for love” (51). It might seem that Gatsby’s lust for money is the reason that he loves Daisy, but that’s simply untrue. “Jay Gatsby is not using Daisy. He strives to move in higher circles because Daisy is there” (54). It is because Gatsby desires Daisy so much that he brings himself up to become who he is. The parties that he throws were in hope that Daisy would show up someday, see his magnificent wealth and fall in love with him again. “ ‘I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties, some night’” (Fitzgerald 84). After many years of trying to obtain his empire so that he would impress her, Gatsby goes so far as to associate his life’s one and only true love with money. “ ‘Her voice is full of money,’ he said suddenly” (17). Once he has amassed his king like possessions, Gatsby loses sight of the real reason that he loved Daisy; he is unaware that he now loves money. “Daisy’s charm is allied to the attraction of wealth; money and love hold similar attractions” (Lewis 50). Gatsby takes his wealth to the extremes. Everything he has is so extravagant that it totally sets him apart from the rest. “A colossal affair by any standard � it was a factual imitation of some H�tel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thick beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion” (Fitzgerald ). Gatsby’s dream causes him to require only the best. He does not realize that his love for Daisy has caused him to long for money and material wealth, “Gatsby does not see that the corruption at the base of his fortune in effect compromises his vision of life with Daisy. You cannot win the ideal with the corrupt, and you cannot buy integrity or taste with dollars” (Lewis 5). Daisy had turned into “Gatsby’s corrupt dream” (5). The impact of Gatsby and Daisy’s love for money caused their love to become so unreal. “Daisy’s love for Gatsby is to endure, it must exist in non-Platonic, physical terms. It must exist in the world of money…further connects Gatsby’s love to his sense of fabulous, mythical riches” (50). Gatsby has lost all sense of reality and has combined the pursuit of money with his dream creating a fantasy world that he lives in. “When he buys his fantastic house, he thinks he is buying a dream, not simply purchasing property” (51). Gatsby has become unable to distinguish the difference between actuality and fiction causing impaired judgment.


Gatsby’s dream ended in ultimate failure, with his death. There was nothing that he could do to stop the inevitable. “The novel’s insistence that Tom win the struggle over Daisy is tantamount to denying the realization of the kind of love that Gatsby is offering Daisy and that the novel values above all others” (5). It was his undying love, its connection to money, and what Gatsby was asking of Daisy that caused Gatsby’s dream to fail. Gatsby wanted Daisy to love him and only him, which was impossible because Daisy loved and married Tom. “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say ‘I never loved you.’ After she had obliterated three years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken. One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house � just as if it were five years ago” (Fitzgerald 116). Gatsby, now dead was unable to fulfill his dream of loving Daisy.


“With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of a compass a thick red circle in the water” (170).


After his death Gatsby’s dream world collapsed, the extravagance that he used to live with, the people, all abandoned him with his death.


‘This is Klipspringer.’ I was relieved too for that seemed to promise another friend at Gatsby’s grave…‘What I called up about was a pair of shoes I left there. I wonder if it’d be too much trouble to have the butler send them on. You see they’re tennis shoes and I’m sort of helpless without them. My address is care of B.F. � ’ (177).


Gatsby “friends” didn’t care for him, being the rich people they were, they only cared for their own possessions. Even in his time of need, the reason for Gatsby’s dream, Daisy, had left him to die alone. “I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her instinctively and without hesitation. But she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon, and taken baggage with them” (17). Daisy had abandoned Gatsby, skipping town with Tom, never to see Gatsby again. In the end there was no one there for him. “Look here, old sport, you’ve got to get somebody for me. You’ve got to try hard. I can’t go through this alone” (17). Gatsby was to die alone with his dream unfulfilled, without love.


It was the end for Gatsby, but it wasn’t Wilson that killed Gatsby; it was his love of money. Gatsby’s dream caused him to make some decisions that he shouldn’t have made, his mind was clouded by his love for Daisy. “ ‘Was Daisy driving?’ ‘Yes,’ he said after a moment, ‘but of course I’ll say I was… and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way.” (151). By allowing Daisy to drive Gatsby was in part responsible for the death of Myrtle. Wilson thought it was Gatsby that was driving, mistaking Gatsby as the one who Myrtle was cheating with he decided to kill Gatsby. Devastated by the death of his wife, Wilson enters a killing rampage. The one thing that helped Wilson track down Gatsby was the immensely wealthy and lavish life that Gatsby lived, it was the magnificent car that Gatsby drove. “Gatsby’s gorgeous cream-colored car is also the indirect cause of his own death, as it is the deep imprint of the fantastic car on his excited brain that enables Wilson (through Tom Buchanan) to track Gatsby down and shoot him (erroneously, of course) for killing Myrtle” (Miller ). Wilson had something to go off of, the color of Gatsby’s fantastically unique car, and this allowed him to track down Gatsby. “By half past two he was in West Egg where he asked someone the way to Gatsby’ house. So by that time he knew Gatsby’s name” (Fitzgerald 168). In the end Wilson is only an angel of God, sent to kill Gatsby. “Not only is God blind but Wilson, his agent, is blind as well,” (Lehan 40). After Gatsby is dead Wilson continues the rampage by killing himself, all because Gatsby’s extravagant way of life allowing him to be so easily identified. “It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete” (Fitzgerald 170). Wilson’s death marked the end of Gatsby and his dream.


It was sad to see a man so immersed in his dreams to end up in such a horrible way. There was nothing that Gatsby could do to free himself, he had fused his dream and his reality together to form an imaginary world in which he lived. The dream that Gatsby had was to love Daisy and to do that he required vast amounts of money and material wealth. In his pursuit of Daisy he became tied to the love of money, living a lavish life, carefree. In the end it was this love for Daisy, this love for money, and his dream that identified him, bringing him out into the open for the kill. It is not a sin to have money, for money is not the root of all evil; rather it is the love and need caused by money that is the greatest sin.





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