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The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby - Buying the American Dream
Essay submitted by James Sills
"Our great cities and our mighty buildings will avail us not if we lack spiritual strength to subdue mere objects to the higher purposes of humanity" (Harnsberger 14), is what Lyndon B. Johnson had to say about materialism. He knew the value of money, and he realized the power and effect of money. Money can have many effects, however money cannot buy happiness. Many people disbelieve this fact, and many continue to try and actually buy articles that make them happy. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Fizgerald keenly shows us how Jay Gatsby is one of these people. Gatsby believes that if he has money, he can do attain great goals. Gatsby is a sensible man, yet he has many false conceptions. Jay Gatsby believes that money can recreate the past, can buy him happiness, and can be helpful in achieving a level of prestige in the prominent East Egg.
Jay Gatsby believes he can buy happiness; and this is exhibited through his house, his clothes, and through Daisy. He owns a large portion of finances due to some mysterious source of wealth, and he uses this mystery source to buy his house, his clothes, and Daisy. Gatsby's house, as Fitzgerald describes it, is "a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden" (Fitzgerald 9). This house, as Fitzgerald fabulously enlightens to, is an immaculate symbol of Gatsby's incalculable income. "The house he feels he needs in order to win happiness" (Bewley 24), is an elegant mansion; that of which an excellent symbol of carelessness is displayed and is part of Gatsby's own persona. Every Monday after a party, this house is kept by eight servants. It has its own entrance gate, and is big enough to hold hundreds of people at a time. His careless use for money to impress others is portrayed through his clothes; a gold metallic hat, silver vests and gold jackets. The shirts and clothes that are ordered every spring and fall show his simpleness in expressing his wealth to his beloved Daisy. His "beautiful shirts . . . It makes me sad because I've never seen such beautiful shirts before" (Fitzgerald 98). It seems silly to cry over simple shirts, but "It is not the shirts themselves that overwhelm her but what they symbolize . . ." (Cowley 43). These shirts represent the simple awesome manner of Gatsby's wealth and his ability to try and purchase Daisy's love, this time through the use of extensive clothing. Fitzgerald wisely shows how Gatsby uses his riches to buy Daisy. In the story, we know that "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things . . . and then returned back into their money" (Fitzgerald). By this, we know that Daisy's main (and maybe only) concern is money. Gatsby realizes this, and is powered by this. He is driven to extensive and sometimes illegal actions. He feels he must be rich and careless for his five year love, and when expressing Gatsby's readiness to spend any amount of money for his hopeful wife, a poem must be stated. "Then wear the gold hat, if that move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry "Lover, gold hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!" ( ). This poem is a perfect description of how Gatsby tries to buy Daisy, and her love. All these enlighten us to Gatsby's personality, therefore we know Gatsby is willing to use an unlimited source of income to actually buy trifles to prove his worth to Daisy. He will buy a house that takes, even him, three years to pay for and purchases clothes every Spring and Fall. He does all he can in order to buy, what he feels is his only happiness, the woman he has watched for five years, the woman who's only concern is money, the infamous, Daisy.
Gatsby's obsession is with the buying power of money, however, this obsession ... more
Find essay on Clothes In The Novel
A World of Guilt
A World of Guilt
All human beings will, at some point carry some amount of guilt with them. Whether they could have prevented what happened or not, humans tend to carry guilt. Hester Prynne will forever carry the guilt of committing adultery. This is shown when Hawthorne writes, ?Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life? (53). In his novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne writes about sin and hypocrisy by describing the trials and tribulations of Hester Prynne. Hawthorne wants the readers of his book to dig deeper into their own thoughts and beliefs and examine if they themselves are hypocritical in daily life.
Hester shows throughout the book that she carries a great deal of guilt. Hester refuses to give the name of her lover in an attempt to shield him from her grief. She shows this early in the book when she says, ?I will not speak? (64). She also tries to conceal the name of Pearl?s father to shield him from guilt. Hester tells the crowd at the scaffold that her child will not know her father when she says, ?And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one!? (64).
Hester bears her guilt in a variety of ways. First she pampers her only treasure, Pearl. She wants the focus of peoples attention to be on Pearl, which she shows when the story states ?Her mother, with a morbid purpose, that may be better understood hereafter, had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye.? (82). Hester helps the poor in an attempt to help pay back society for her sin. The story says, ?To Hester Prynne it might have been a mode of expressing ,and therefore soothing, the passion of her life.? (85) This quote shows her grief is being express in the clothing she makes.
By the end of the story, its clear that Hester, through her acts and accomplishments has redeemed herself and is now saved from eternal pain in hell. She had to face many harsh people in her town that would buy her clothes but labeled her as a terrible person. Hester is saved because she served her long term in prison, served her lifetime term with the scarlet letter upon her breast, and helped society through her wisdom and contributions. Hester was saved due to her advanced parenting techniques that molded Pearl into a beautiful and well raised young lady. Hester learns from her mistakes and lets Pearl figure things out with a guiding hand always behind her This idea was an unheard of one for its time but Pearl is proof of its success.
Nathaniel Hawthorne?s novel The Scarlet Letter was a story meant to have people look deeper into the way we treat each other. Hawthorne?s goal was to open peoples eyes to the evil that lurks within the most righteous of people and to open some peoples eyes to their own hypocrisy. Hester Prynne, throughout the story shows that she is harboring a lot of built up inner guilt, that she never lets go of. Hester, through her acts of kindness, is saved from eternal damnation in hell. ... more
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