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The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby

The Roaring Twenties, the era of money, music, dancing, and liquor, America’s response after the Great depression and World War 1. Also known as The Golden Twenties. When wealth and social status began to play an important role in an average person’s life. The desperate pursuit of wealth and a better social status, became an obsession that slowly lead people to corruption, as shown in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” through the characters Jay Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson. Both come from poor backgrounds. Their efforts to attain wealth and a higher social status became an obsession, every turn and corner they cut along the way lead them to a slow and steady road down corruption lane.

The character Gatsby began his pursuit with wealth and a higher social status by cutting his ties to his family and his old self. In order to hide his past and ensure that no one could trace him to his poor origins he changed his name “James Gatz- that was really, or at least legally, his name. (104). Altering his name was the first step of many to modify himself into the Jay Gatsby we are first introduced to; the man that throws parties every weekend with fruit and all you can drink liquor.

Along Gatsby’s pursuit to change himself he ran into a helping hand, his name was Dan Cody, he owned a yacht and Gatsby joined him as his steward, mate, skipper, secretary, and sailor. Gatsby remained with Dan Cody for five years until he died. This is where Gatsby originally got his money from, he inherited it; twenty-five thousand dollars. This money became his building blocks to a wealthier and higher status in life, which became his obsession. With twenty-five thousand dollars Gatsby was already a wealthy man. Those twenty-five thousand dollars compared to today’s money is around 310,597 dollars. There was no need for Gatsby to continue to search for wealth of a higher status he already had it, but because of his obsession he desperately continued.

Gatsby found a “job” with Meyer Wolfsheim a job that is kept at the end of phone lines behind closed doors. Once Gatsby’s job is revealed the corruption that wealth causes and the unworthiness of his pursuit is shown through the mascaraed he put up. Gatsby became a criminal, a bootlegger, a corrupted man made up by false wealth and an undeserving status. He threw parties not for himself but to show off all the wealth he had, leading him down a road of no return. The wealth and social status to Gatsby was “for a high motive, a motive that expresses an exceptional sensitivity.” Although I partially agree with this quote from the article “Gatsby and the Pursuit of Happiness” By: William Voegeli. Gatsby’s wealth was for a high motive, it was to become the man he wanted to be. Although once money and social status began to play a role in the Big World did Gatsby plunged in a different way to pursue wealth and a higher status with a new idea leading him towards corruption, like Myrtle Wilson’s pursuit that also lead to the same end.

Myrtle also knows as Mrs. Wilson a woman of poor background like Gatsby also in pursuit of wealth and a higher social status. Myrtle wanted to marry into wealth, little did she know that the man she picked for the job was actually far from what she wanted. She accidentally married Mr. Wilson a loving, caring, and honest man that tried his best to keep his wife happy. In Myrtle’s eyes this was not enough she wanted something more, something he could never give her. Mr. Wilson was not what Myrtle thought her happy ending with wealth and social status would be like.

Myrtle “is clearly not contented with what she and her husband have. She is depicted as a person who desperately tries to move up the social class ladder by attempting



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