Materialism and Idealism in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a wealthy man who is obsessed with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby’s quest for Daisy leads him to pursue a life of wealth and extravagance, which ultimately leads to his downfall. The novel explores the themes of materialism and idealism, and how they can lead to both happiness and tragedy.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel that explores the desire for wealth and power in society, as well as Gatsby’s quest for happiness. Jay Gatsby believes that acquiring his financial goals would bring him joy and a better life. In his opinion, money equals pleasure.

The novel The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920’s, during the time of The American Dream. The American Dream is based on the ideal that anyone no matter where they come from can become wealthy and successful through hard work. The novel The Great Gatsby deals with different themes such as love, betrayal, and most importantly materialism versus idealism.

Gatsby’s materialistic ways are seen throughout the novel. When Nick Carraway first meets Gatsby he is impressed by his wealth. “He had a big car and lots of money.” (Fitzgerald 9) Even though Gatsby is wealthy he still wants more. One example of Gatsby’s materialism is when he throws huge parties at his house every Saturday night in hopes that Daisy Buchanan will come.

Gatsby wants Daisy to come to his parties so she can see how wealthy he has become and be impressed. “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.'” (Fitzgerald 110) Gatsby believes that if Daisy sees how wealthy he is now she will leave her husband and be with him. Gatsby’s materialism is also seen when he first meets Nick and tells him that he is from the Midwest.

“I’m from San Francisco.” (Fitzgerald 10) This is a lie that Gatsby tells Nick because he wants people to believe that he is from a wealthy background. Gatsby’s materialism is also displayed when he tells Nick that he went to Oxford University. “I’m sure you did,” I said, not interested. “I was in the American Expeditionary Force, stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Alabama.” (Fitzgerald 10)

Gatsby lied about going to Oxford because he wanted people to think he was educated and sophisticated. The truth is that Gatsby never went to college. Gatsby’s materialism is shown through his lies, his parties, and his quest for Daisy Buchanan.

Gatsby’s idealism is also seen throughout the novel The Great Gatsby. When Gatsby first meets Daisy Buchanan he falls in love with her instantly. “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.'” (Fitzgerald 110) Gatsby believes that if Daisy would just tell her husband that she never loved him then she could be with Gatsby and they would be happy.

Gatsby’s idealism is also seen when he tells Nick about his plans for the future. “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, his voice trembling. “She’ll see.” (Fitzgerald 153) Gatsby believes that if he can just have Daisy back then everything will be perfect again. The problem is that Gatsby is living in the past and he cannot change what has already happened.

Jay Gatsby believes in the American dream, which says that money equals happiness. To him, achieving financial success, having a lot of money, and every material thing imaginable will fulfill the complete American fantasy, allowing him to win his beloved’s affection. The real American dream is an ambition for a life full of hope and optimism for the future.

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s continuous pursuit of Daisy Buchanan is a result of his idealism and unrealistic Perspective of the American dream. Gatsby’s idealism is seen when he is first introduced in the novel. Nick Carraway, the narrator, talks about Gatsby’s smile and how it “was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it” (Fitzgerald 13). The smile seems to give hope to everyone who sees it and Gatsby has an almost angelic quality about him.

In addition, Gatsby throws huge parties every weekend in order to attract Daisy’s attention. The parties are extravagant and full of music, food, and alcohol. However, Gatsby is never seen at these parties and he remains a mystery to everyone. The only thing that people know about him is that he is extremely wealthy. Gatsby’s idealism is also demonstrated by his actions towards Daisy. He buys a house across the bay from her in order to be closer to her.

He also sends her flowers and gifts even though she is married. Gatsby’s idealism is further shown when he tells Nick, “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before” (Fitzgerald 140). He wants to go back in time to when he was with Daisy and recreate those moments. However, Gatsby’s idealism eventually leads to his downfall because he is not able to accept reality.

Gatsby’s unrealistic perspective of the American dream is evident when he talks to Nick about Daisy. He says, “She’s got an ice-water heart” (Fitzgerald 21). Gatsby is referring to the fact that Daisy is not affectionate and she does not show her emotions. However, Gatsby still believes that he can win her over with his money and material possessions.

In addition, Gatsby tells Nick that he wants to be reunited with Daisy because he loves her. However, it is later revealed that Gatsby only wants to be with Daisy because she represents a lifestyle that he wants. He is attracted to her wealth and status, and not to her as a person. Furthermore, Gatsby’s unrealistic perspective of the American dream is also seen when he talks about his past.

He tells Nick that he is from a wealthy family and that he went to Oxford University. However, it is later revealed that Gatsby was born into a poor family and he never went to Oxford. Gatsby has created a false identity for himself in order to become the person that he wants to be. The discrepancy between what Gatsby says and what is actually true shows how unrealistic his perspective of the American dream is.

Gatsby’s idealism and unrealistic perspective of the American dream eventually lead to his downfall. He is not able to accept reality and this causes him to lose touch with what is important in life. In addition, Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy Buchanan leads to him making bad decisions. For example, he gets involved in a scheme to sell alcohol illegally. This scheme eventually gets Gatsby killed and it also causes Daisy to leave him.

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