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james r jordan 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

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Berry Gordy: Father of the Motown Sound

Berry Gordy Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 28, 1929. He was the seventh born out of eight siblings. His parents migrated to Detroit from Georgia during 1922. They were part of a mass exodus of African Americans who left the South in the 20's and traveled to northern cities in search of better economic futures. During that time jobs were plentiful in the factories, mainly the big four automotive plants that like, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet, and General Motors.

Berry and Bertha Gordy would instill in Berry Jr. and his brothers and sisters a strong work ethic and a belief that anything could be achieved through persistence. His family also had deep roots in business. Berry Sr. owned a plastering and carpentry service, a general store, and a printing business. Gordy's family believed in the philosophy of Booker T. Washington, which stressed economic independence for blacks. Gordy Sr. named his store after him. Berry Gordy Jr. was heavily influenced by the ambition of his father.

Like his father, he was also very determined and he tried many new ventures. Berry was an average student who earned decent grades. Despite this he decided to drop out of Northeastern High School to peruse a featherweight boxing career. He once even fought on the same card as the great Joe Louis. He had a brief but successful series of fights but decided to give up boxing in 1951. That same year he would then decide to try out the Army. He served for two years during the Korean War; there he earned his high school equivalency diploma.

After his short stint in the army, he decided to open a record store, which only sold jazz records. Berry always enjoyed listening to records in his basement and he had a great love of music. Berry always hung around Detroit's popular nightspots to hear the bebop jazz sounds. He was able to see the performances of famous artists like pianist Thelonious Monk and saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker. Unfortunately, Berry's store eventually closed due to financial difficulties.

Gordy soon found himself working at Ford's Mercury plant, earning $85 a week. Bored with his assembly line job, he spent all of his free time writing songs. Berry would hum melodies and make up song lyrics in his head to break the monotony of everyday work. Berry soon began to get serious about song writing and he got his big break when he won a talent contest. He wrote a song for Jackie Wilson called "Reet Petite." It became a major R&B hit in late 1957. Gordy continued to dabble in freelance songwriting and he found success with "Lonely Teardrops," and "To Be Loved," which were two other hits that he wrote for Jackie Wilson. He also wrote a hit song for Barret Strong called "Money (That's What I Want)." This gave Berry a strong reputation as an accomplished songwriter in the music world. Berry was an outstanding writer despite the fact that he was unable to read music. Gordy had no musical talent at all, as far as singing or playing music was concerned. He did however have an ability to gauge whether a song had the elements of popular appeal. He had the power to detect star quality and potential in songs and performers.

The first star that Gordy would discover would be William Smokey Robinson, a Detroit high schooler with a soothing falsetto voice and an ear for sweet lyrics. In 1957 Smokey Robinson was the lead singer of a group called the Matadors. They auditioned unsuccessfully for Jackie Wilson's manager, but Gordy who was instrumental in Wilson's earlier success happened to be present at the audition. His talent for recognizing star power came in handy because he saw something that everyone at that audition seemed to miss.

Berry persuaded Smokey and the Matadors to change their names to the Miracles and work with him. Berry Gordy began recording Robinson's group, The Miracles, for New York based End Records. They had early success with their record "Got a Job/My Momma Done Told Me." Gordy then established Jobete Publishing company and began Motown Records. The name was derived from the city of ... more

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