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The Great Gatsby: Materialism Essay, Research Paper

The Great Gatsby: Materialism

The quote “material without being real” shows the emptiness of an existence

with the realization of a tainted ideal. Fittingly, this quote from Nick is

placed after Daisy leaves Gatsby. Nick is imagining what Gatsby would be

thinking if he had understood that the goal, winning Daisy and her

materialistic insubstantiality, was unworthy of his effort. Fitzgerald does

not specifically state if Gatsby is or is not waiting for the phone call from

Daisy. If Gatsby has realized that Daisy will not call, then he has undergone

the self-recognition of the tragic hero. If he is waiting for the phone call,

then he is still holding on to his idealized goal. While this shows that he

is holding onto the part of his life: that which marked his personality as more

substantial Daisy’s personality, it also illustrates the futility of reaching

for a corrupted goal.

Many Americans today may lack the motivation of Jay Gatsby in the quest

for his “pure” dream. Their existence is strictly materialistic. Such

individuals view the purpose of education not as serving to perfect of one’s

intellect, but to secure a job. Every day they perform the same dull and

tedious routine, their only goal being the receipt of a paycheck which they

will redeem ultimately for social status. Some do have dreams, and to their

life is added new meaning through the reaching for a goal. It is this reaching,

the gaining of enjoyable and constructive experience, which gives purpose to

their work that diminishes the monotony of their daily existence. Whereas the

straight materialists will eventually spend their “dream,” the experience that

a “reacher” gains cannot be taken away.

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