In The good Gatsby, money is a vast motivator in the characters" relationships, motivations, and outcomes.

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most of the characters reveal us to be highly materialistic, your motivations pushed by your desire for money and also things: Daisy marries and stays v Tom because of the way of living he can carry out her, Myrtle has her affair through Tom because of the privileged civilization it grants her access to, and Gatsby also lusts ~ Daisy together if she is a prize to be won. ~ all, she voice is "full that money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the solder of it, the cymbals" song of it. . . . High in a white royal residence the king"s daughter, the gold girl. . . ." (7.106).

So how precisely does materialism disclose itself as a theme, how have the right to it assist us analyze the characters, and what room some usual assignments bordering this theme? We will dig right into all things money right here in this guide.


Money and materialism in the plotKey quotes around money/materialismAnalyzing personalities via money/materialismCommon assignments and evaluation of money/materialism in Gatsby

Quick note on our Citations

Our citation style in this guide is (chapter.paragraph). We"re utilizing this system due to the fact that there are numerous editions that Gatsby, therefore using web page numbers would only work-related for students with our copy the the book.

To uncover a quotation we cite via chapter and also paragraph in your book, you have the right to either eyeball that (Paragraph 1-50: beginning of chapter; 50-100: center of chapter; 100-on: end of chapter), or usage the search function if you"re utilizing an digital or eReader variation of the text.

Money and also Materialism in The good Gatsby

In the opened pages, Nick creates himself as someone who has had many benefits in life—a well-off family and an Ivy League education to name simply two. Despite not gift as affluent as Tom and Daisy, his 2nd cousin, they view him as enough of a peer to invite him come their house in chapter 1. Nick"s connection to Daisy in turn makes him attractive to Gatsby. If Nick were simply a middle-class everyman, the story could not play the end in the same way.

Tom and Daisy"s movements are likewise supported by their money. at the start of the novel they move to fashionable eastern Egg, ~ moving around between "wherever people played polo and were rich together," and are maybe to an extremely quickly pick up and also leave in ~ the end of the publication after the murders, many thanks to the security their money gives (1.17). Daisy, for her part, only starts her affair with Gatsby ~ a an extremely detailed screen of his wealth (via the mansion tour). She also breaks under in tears after Gatsby reflects off his ridiculously expensive set of fancy shirts, crying the she"s "never checked out such beautiful shirts" prior to (5.118).

Gatsby"s notoriety comes from, first and foremost, his huge wealth, riches he has actually gathered to success over Daisy. Gatsby to be born to negative farmer parents in phibìc Dakota, however at 17, determined to become rich, to win out with the rich Dan Cody and never looked ago (6.5-15). Even though he wasn"t able come inherit any component of Cody"s fortune, he offered what he learned that wealthy society to very first charm Daisy before shipping the end to WWI. (In a uniform she had actually no idea he was poor, specifically given his innovative manners). Then, after return home and realizing Daisy was married and gone, he collection out come earn sufficient money to success Daisy over, turning to crime via a partnership v Meyer Wolfshiem to conveniently amass riches (9.83-7).

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

Hardly anyone mirrors up to Gatsby"s funeral due to the fact that they were just attracted through his wealth and also the parties, no the guy himself. This is encapsulated in a phone speak to Nick describes, come a guy who used to involved Gatsby"s parties: "one gentleman come whom i telephoned implied the he had got what the deserved. However, that was my fault, for he was one of those who supplied to sneer many bitterly in ~ Gatsby top top the courage of Gatsby"s liquor and I should have actually known better than to call him" (9.69).

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

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


The epigraph of the novel instantly marks money and materialism as a key theme that the book—the listener is implored to "wear the yellow hat" as a means to admire his lover. In other words, wide range is presented together the key to love—such critical key that the word "gold" is repeated twice. It"s not sufficient to "bounce high" because that someone, to success them over through your charm. You require wealth, the much more the better, to success over the object of her desire.

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

Our advent to Tom and Daisy immediately describes them together rich, bored, and also privileged. Tom"s restlessness is likely one motivator because that his affairs, if Daisy is weighed down by the knowledge of those affairs. This mix of restlessness and resentment puts lock on the course to the tragedy in ~ the end of the book.

"There was music from my neighbor"s residence through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went prefer moths amongst the whisperings and also the champagne and the stars. In ~ high tide in the afternoon ns watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or acquisition the sun on the warm sand the his coast while his 2 motor-boats cleft the waters that the Sound, illustration aquaplanes over cataracts the foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce came to be an omnibus, bearing next to and also from the city, between nine in the morning and long previous midnight, if his terminal wagon scampered choose a fast yellow bug to satisfy all trains. And on Mondays eight servants consisting of an extra gardener toiled all day through mops and also scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages that the night before…." (3.1-3.6)

The summary of Gatsby"s parties at the start of thing 3 is long and incredibly detailed, and thus the highlights the extraordinary extent of Gatsby"s wealth and also materialism. In comparison to Tom and also Daisy"s expensive however not overly gaudy mansion, and the tiny dinner party Nick attends there in chapter 1, everything about Gatsby"s new wealth is over-the-top and showy, indigenous the crates of oranges brought in and juiced one-by-one by a butler to the complete orchestra.

Everyone who comes to the parties is attracted by Gatsby"s money and wealth, make the society of money-worship a society-wide trend in the novel, not just something ours main personalities fall victim to. After ~ all, "People were no invited—they go there" (3.7). No one comes as result of close an individual friendship through Jay. Anyone is there for the spectacle alone.

He took the end a heap of shirts and also began throwing them, one through one before us, shirt of thin linen and also thick silk and fine flannel which shed their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While us admired he brought much more and the soft affluent heap mounted higher—shirts with stripes and scrolls and also plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange through monograms that Indian blue. Suddenly v a strained sound, Daisy bent her head right into the shirts and also began come cry stormily.

"They"re together beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the special folds. "It makes me sad since 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 mirroring off his many-colored shirts. And, fascinatingly, this is the very first moment of the job Daisy fully breaks under emotionally—not as soon as she very first sees Gatsby, not after their first long conversation, not even at the initial vision of the mansion—but at this incredibly conspicuous display of wealth. This speaks to her materialism and also how, in her world, a specific amount of riches is a barrier to entry because that a connection (friendship or more).

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

I hesitated.

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

That to be it. I"d never construed before. It was complete of money—that to be the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals" song of it. . . . High in a white palace the king"s daughter, the golden girl. . . . (7.103-106)

Daisy it s her is explicitly connected with money here, which permits the reader to check out Gatsby"s desire because that her as desire for wealth, money, and also status an ext generally. so while Daisy is materialistic and also is drawn to Gatsby again because of his newly-acquired wealth, we view Gatsby is drawn to her too due to the money and status she represents.

I couldn"t forgive him or choose him however I witnessed that what he had done was, come him, totally justified. It to be all an extremely careless and confused. They to be careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed increase things and creatures and then retreated ago into their money or their large carelessness or whatever it to be that preserved them together, and also let other civilization clean increase the chaos they had actually made. . . . (9.146)

Here, in the consequences of the novel"s carnage, Nick observes the while Myrtle, George, and also Gatsby have actually all died, Tom and Daisy room not punished at all for their recklessness, they have the right to simply retreat "back into their money or their vast carelessness… and let other world clean up the mess." for this reason money right here is more than simply status—it"s a shield against responsibility, which allows Tom and also Daisy come behave recklessly when other personalities suffer and die in pursuit of your dreams.

Money: the ultimate shrug-off.

Analyzing personalities Through Materialism

We touch on this a little bit with the quotes, yet all that the characters can it is in analyzed indigenous the allude of watch of their riches and/or just how materialistic they are. This analysis can enrich one essay about old money versus new money, the American dream, or even a more straightforward character analysis, or a to compare of two different characters. Mining the text for a character"s mindset toward money can be a very helpful means to know their motivations in the civilization of 1920s brand-new York.

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

#1: Their attitude towards money.

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

#3: how their last outcome is shame by their riches status and also what the says around their place in the world.

Character analysis Example

As one example, let"s look summary at Myrtle. We get our finest look at Myrtle in chapter 2, as soon as Tom bring away Nick to check out her in Queens and also they finish up going to the brand-new York City apartment Tom keeps for Myrtle and also hosting a little gathering (after Tom and also Myrtle hook up, with Nick in the following room!).

Myrtle is obsessed with shows of wealth, from her outfits, come insisting top top a specific cab, to her apartment"s decoration, finish with scene of Versailles ~ above the overly-large furniture: "The living room was crowded to the doors with a collection of tapestried furniture entirely too big for the so the to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of females swinging in the gardens the Versailles" (2.51). She even adopts a different persona amongst her guests: "The extreme vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted right into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, she gestures, she assertions became much more violently impacted moment by moment and as she expanded the room prospered smaller approximately her till she appeared to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air" (2.56).

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

Obviously over there is physics chemistry driving her affair through Tom, however she seems to get as lot (if not more) pleasure from the materials that come v the affair—the apartment, the clothes, the dog, the parties. For this reason she keeps up this affair, in spite of how ethically questionable that is and also the threat it opens up for her—her materialism, in other words, is her major motivator.

However, despite her airs, she matters very tiny to the "old money" crowd, as cruelly evidenced an initial when Tom division her nose with a "short deft movement" (2.126), and later, as soon as Daisy choose to operation her over quite than gain into a automobile accident. Myrtle"s personality reveals exactly how precarious social climbing is, how materialism is no actually a route to happiness/virtue.

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

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

Here are ways to think about frequently assigned topics on this the design template of money and materialism.

Discuss Tom & Daisy as civilization who "smash things and also retreat right into their money"

As debated above, money—and specifically having actually inherited money—not only guarantees a particular social class, it assures safety and privilege: Tom and also Daisy have the right to literally live by various rules 보다 other, less-wealthy people. If Gatsby, Myrtle, and also George all end up dead, Tom and also Daisy get to skip town and avoid any consequences, in spite of their direct involvement.

For this prompt, you can explore earlier examples of Tom"s carelessness (breaking Myrtle"s nose, his habits in the hotel scene, letting Daisy and also Gatsby drive earlier to lengthy Island after ~ the fight in the hotel) as well as Daisy"s (throwing a fit just prior to her wedding but going through with it, kissing Gatsby v her husband in the following room). Present how each circumstances reveals Tom or Daisy"s carelessness, and how those instances hence foreshadow the larger tragedy—Myrtle"s fatality at Daisy"s hands, adhered to by Tom"s manipulation the George to death Gatsby.

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You can additionally compare Tom and also Daisy"s actions and also outcomes to other personalities to assist make your point—Myrtle and Gatsby both add to the problem by participating in affairs v Tom and also Daisy, yet obviously, Myrtle and also Gatsby don"t obtain to "retreat into their money," they both finish up dead. Clearly, having old money sets you far apart from anyone else in the people of the novel.