In The an excellent Gatsby, money is a huge motivator in the characters" relationships, motivations, and outcomes.

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many of the personalities reveal themselves to be extremely materialistic, your motivations thrust by their desire for money and things: Daisy marries and also stays with Tom since of the way of life he can administer her, Myrtle has actually her affair v Tom due to the privileged human being it sponsor her accessibility to, and Gatsby even lusts after ~ Daisy as if she is a prize to it is in won. ~ all, her voice is "full of money—that to be the inexhaustible charm the rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals" track of it. . . . High in a white palace the king"s daughter, the gold girl. . . ." (7.106).

So how exactly does materialism expose itself as a theme, how can it help us analyze the characters, and also what room some usual assignments neighboring this theme? We will dig into all points money right here in this guide.


Money and also materialism in the plotKey quotes about money/materialismAnalyzing personalities via money/materialismCommon assignments and analysis of money/materialism in Gatsby

Quick note on ours Citations

Our citation format in this overview is (chapter.paragraph). We"re utilizing this system since there are many editions of Gatsby, for this reason using page numbers would only job-related for students with our copy that the book.

To uncover a quotation we point out via chapter and paragraph in your book, you can either eyeball the (Paragraph 1-50: beginning of chapter; 50-100: middle of chapter; 100-on: end of chapter), or use the search role if you"re using an virtual or eReader variation of the text.

Money and Materialism in The good Gatsby

In the opened pages, Nick creates himself together someone who has had many advantages in life—a affluent family and an Ivy League education to name just two. In spite of not being as rich as Tom and also Daisy, his second cousin, they see him as sufficient of a peer to invite him come their residence in thing 1. Nick"s link to Daisy subsequently makes that attractive come Gatsby. If Nick were just a middle-class everyman, the story can not play out in the very same way.

Tom and also Daisy"s activities are also supported by their money. in ~ the beginning of the novel they move to fashionable eastern Egg, after moving roughly between "wherever civilization played polo and also were wealthy together," and also are maybe to very quickly choose up and also leave in ~ the finish of the publication after the murders, many thanks to the defense their money offers (1.17). Daisy, for she part, only starts her affair with Gatsby after ~ a really detailed display of his riches (via the mansion tour). She even breaks under in tears after Gatsby mirrors off his ridiculously expensive collection of colored shirts, crying the she"s "never checked out such beautiful shirts" before (5.118).

Gatsby"s notoriety come from, first and foremost, his enormous wealth, wealth he has gathered to success over Daisy. Gatsby was born to bad farmer parents in north Dakota, yet at 17, determined to end up being rich, win out v the wealthy Dan Cody and never looked earlier (6.5-15). Even though that wasn"t able come inherit any component of Cody"s fortune, he provided what the learned that wealthy society to very first charm Daisy prior to shipping out to WWI. (In a uniform she had actually no idea he was poor, especially given his sophisticated manners). Then, after returning home and also realizing Daisy to be married and gone, he set out to earn sufficient money to win Daisy over, transforming to crime via a partnership v Meyer Wolfshiem to conveniently amass riches (9.83-7).

Meanwhile, Tom"s mistress Myrtle, a vehicle mechanic"s wife, put on airs and also tries come pass together rich v her affair v Tom, but her involvement v the Buchanans gets her killed. George Wilson, in contrast, is constrained by his lack of wealth. He speak Tom Buchanan after finding out around Myrtle"s affair that he plans to relocate her West, however he " money quite bad" in bespeak to do the relocate (7.146). Tragically, Myrtle is hit and killed that evening through Daisy. If George Wilson had had the means, he likely would have already left new York with Myrtle in tow, saving both of their lives.

Hardly anyone mirrors up come Gatsby"s funeral since they were only attracted by his wealth and the parties, not the male himself. This is encapsulated in a phone speak to Nick describes, come a man who used to involved Gatsby"s parties: "one gentleman come whom ns telephoned implied that he had obtained what that deserved. However, the was mine fault, because that he was one of those who provided to sneer most bitterly in ~ Gatsby top top the ship of Gatsby"s liquor and I should have actually known better than to speak to him" (9.69).

In short, money both drives the plot and also explains plenty of of the characters" motivations and also limitations.

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Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;If you have the right to bounce high, bounce for her too,Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,I must have actually you!"


The epigraph that the novel automatically marks money and also materialism as a key theme the the book—the listener is implored come "wear the gold hat" together a method to admire his lover. In other words, riches is presented as the crucial to love—such vital key that words "gold" is recurring twice. It"s not enough to "bounce high" because that someone, to victory them over through your charm. You need wealth, the much more the better, to victory over the thing of your desire.

"They had actually spent a year in France, because that no details reason, and also then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were well-off together." (1.17)

Our advent to Tom and Daisy immediately describes them as rich, bored, and privileged. Tom"s restlessness is most likely one motivator because that his affairs, when Daisy is weighed under by the knowledge of those affairs. This mix of restlessness and also resentment puts lock on the path to the tragedy in ~ the finish of the book.

"There was music from my neighbor"s home through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and also went like moths amongst the whisperings and the champagne and also the stars. In ~ high birds in the afternoon ns watched his guest diving indigenous the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the warm sand the his beach while his 2 motor-boats cleft the waters that the Sound, illustration aquaplanes end cataracts the foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his terminal wagon scampered like a brisk yellow an insect to accomplish all trains. And also on Mondays eight servants consisting of an extra gardener toiled all day v mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and also garden-shears, repairing the ravages the the night before…." (3.1-3.6)

The description of Gatsby"s next at the start of thing 3 is long and incredibly detailed, and thus that highlights the extraordinary level of Gatsby"s wealth and also materialism. In contrast to Tom and also Daisy"s expensive but not overly gaudy mansion, and also the tiny dinner party Nick attends over there in thing 1, everything around Gatsby"s brand-new wealth is over-the-top and showy, native the crates that oranges brought in and also juiced one-by-one by a servant to the full orchestra.

Everyone who involves the parties is attractive by Gatsby"s money and wealth, make the culture of money-worship a society-wide tendency in the novel, not just something ours main personalities fall victim to. ~ all, "People were no invited—they walk there" (3.7). Nobody comes due to close personal friendship with Jay. Everyone is there because that the spectacle alone.

He took the end a pile of shirts and also began throw them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and also fine flannel which shed their folds together they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought an ext and the soft wealthy heap mounted higher—shirts through stripes and also scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and also lavender and also faint orange with monograms that Indian blue. Suddenly through a strained sound, Daisy bent she head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

"They"re together beautiful shirts," she sobbed, she voice muffled in the thick folds. "It makes me sad because I"ve never seen such—such beautiful shirt before." (5.117-118)

Gatsby, choose a peacock mirroring off its many-colored tail, flaunts his riches to Daisy by showing off his many-colored shirts. And, fascinatingly, this is the an initial moment of the work Daisy completely breaks down emotionally—not as soon as she an initial sees Gatsby, not after their first long conversation, not also at the initial vision of the mansion—but at this exceptionally conspicuous screen of wealth. This speak to her materialism and how, in she world, a specific amount of riches is a barrier to entry because that a partnership (friendship or more).

"She"s obtained an indiscreet voice," ns remarked. "It"s complete of——"

I hesitated.

"Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly.

That to be it. I"d never construed before. The was full of money—that to be the inexhaustible charm the rose and also fell in it, the solder of it, the cymbals" track of it. . . . High in a white palace the king"s daughter, the gold girl. . . . (7.103-106)

Daisy it s her is explicitly connected with money here, which permits the leader to watch Gatsby"s desire for her together desire for wealth, money, and status an ext generally. therefore while Daisy is materialistic and also is drawn to Gatsby again as result of his newly-acquired wealth, we see Gatsby is attracted to her as well due to the money and status she represents.

I couldn"t pardon him or prefer him yet I experienced that what he had done was, come him, completely justified. It to be all really careless and also confused. They to be careless people, Tom and also Daisy—they smashed up things and also creatures and then retreated ago into your money or their vast carelessness or everything it was that retained them together, and let other human being clean increase the chaos they had made. . . . (9.146)

Here, in the after-effects of the novel"s carnage, Nick observes that while Myrtle, George, and also Gatsby have actually all died, Tom and also Daisy space not punished at every for your recklessness, they have the right to simply retreat "back right into their money or their vast carelessness… and also let other people clean up the mess." for this reason money here is more than simply status—it"s a shield against responsibility, which enables Tom and also Daisy to behave recklessly while other characters suffer and die in search of your dreams.

Money: the ultimate shrug-off.

Analyzing personalities Through Materialism

We touch on this a little bit with the quotes, however all that the characters can be analyzed indigenous the suggest of watch of their wealth and/or how materialistic castle are. This analysis can enrich one essay around old money versus brand-new money, the American dream, or even a more straightforward personality analysis, or a to compare of two various characters. Mining the message for a character"s perspective toward money have the right to be a very helpful way to understand their motivations in the human being of 1920s brand-new York.

If you analyze a character through this theme, make certain to explain:

#1: Their perspective towards money.

#2: exactly how money/materialism cd driver their choices in the novel.

#3: how their last outcome is shaped by their riches status and what that says about their place in the world.

Character evaluation Example

As an example, let"s look summary at Myrtle. We gain our finest look at Myrtle in thing 2, once Tom take away Nick to check out her in Queens and they end up going to the brand-new York City apartment Tom keeps because that Myrtle and also hosting a little gathering (after Tom and also Myrtle hook up, v Nick in the following room!).

Myrtle is obsessed with mirrors of wealth, from she outfits, to insisting top top a certain cab, to her apartment"s decoration, finish with scene of Versailles on the overly-large furniture: "The living room was overfilled to the doors v a set of tapestried furniture completely too huge for the so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of women swinging in the gardens that Versailles" (2.51). She even adopts a different persona among her guests: "The extreme vitality that had been so amazing in the garage to be converted right into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, she gestures, she assertions became an ext violently affected moment by moment and as she broadened the room flourished smaller around her till she appeared to be revolving top top a noisy, creaking pivot v the smoky air" (2.56).

In Myrtle"s eyes, money is an escape indigenous life v her husband in the sink of ashes, something the brings status, and something that buys class. ~ all, Tom"s money secures her an intricate apartment and allows her to lord it over she guests and also play in ~ sophistication, also while Nick looks under his nose at her.

Obviously there is physics chemistry driving her affair with Tom, however she appears to acquire as much (if no more) pleasure from the materials that come v the affair—the apartment, the clothes, the dog, the parties. Therefore she keeps up this affair, regardless of how ethically questionable the is and also the threat it opens up up for her—her materialism, in other words, is her main motivator.

However, in spite of her airs, she problem very tiny to the "old money" crowd, together cruelly evidenced very first when Tom division her nose v a "short deft movement" (2.126), and later, once Daisy choose to run her over fairly than obtain into a vehicle accident. Myrtle"s character reveals how precarious society climbing is, exactly how materialism is not actually a path to happiness/virtue.

In this novel, actual mountain climbing is safer than social climbing.

Common Assignments and also Discussion Topics about Money and Materialism in The good Gatsby

Here are means to think about frequently assigned topics on this the theme of money and materialism.

Discuss Tom & Daisy as human being who "smash things and retreat into their money"

As debated above, money—and specifically having actually inherited money—not just guarantees a specific social class, it promises safety and privilege: Tom and also Daisy deserve to literally live by different rules 보다 other, less-wealthy people. While Gatsby, Myrtle, and George all end up dead, Tom and Daisy acquire to skip town and avoid any kind of consequences, regardless of their direct involvement.

For this prompt, you deserve to explore earlier examples the Tom"s carelessness (breaking Myrtle"s nose, his habits in the hotel scene, letting Daisy and Gatsby drive ago to lengthy Island ~ the hit in the hotel) and also Daisy"s (throwing a to the right just before her wedding however going with with it, kissing Gatsby with her husband in the following room). Display how each instance reveals Tom or Daisy"s carelessness, and how those instances therefore foreshadow the bigger tragedy—Myrtle"s death at Daisy"s hands, complied with by Tom"s manipulation that George to kill Gatsby.

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You can also compare Tom and Daisy"s actions and also outcomes come other characters to assist make your point—Myrtle and also Gatsby both contribute to the conflict by participating in affairs with Tom and also Daisy, but obviously, Myrtle and Gatsby don"t get to "retreat right into their money," lock both end up dead. Clearly, having actually old money set you far apart from everyone else in the human being of the novel.