The Corruption of Wealth

Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” was published in 1925, and it does a great job to emphasize the Jazz Age. In “The Great Gatsby”, Fitzgerald is developing a theme about how greed and wealth affect the American dream and the quest for Gatsby to reach Daisy. Gatsby lives all his life is greed, wanting to become wealthier and wanting Daisy, and this greed then lead him to his own death. In “The Great Gatsby”, Fitzgerald uses the symbolism of the green light and the motifs of eyes of T.

J. Eckleburg and valley of ashes to develop the theme that greed causes corruption.

First, the author uses symbolism of the “green light at the end of Daisy’s dock” to represent the desire for Gatsby to achieve his American dream by marrying Daisy.

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Nick believes that the American dream is unattainable for that “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….

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And one fine morning”. Nick believes that while the American dream is unreachable, we always try to achieve it. The green light that Gatsby believes he could reach is associated with the American dream, which promises that all Americans have the chance of being rich and attain their goals, as long as they work for their goals and their wealth.

Just like the American dream, Gatsby has “an extraordinary gift for hope”, because Gatsby always try to become richer and achieve his dream by marrying Daisy. Whilst Gatsby was not born into a wealthy family, Tom’s “family were enormously wealthy”. Gatsby’s goal is to marry Daisy, so he spends all of his life making money and trying to become wealthy just so that he can become equal to Daisy and Tom. Even though Gatsby earns all of his money and becomes rich, he is never accepted by Tom and Daisy because they came from a wealthy family unlike Gatsby, which shows that the American dream is just an unattainable fallacy. Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby as a person who lives all of his life in greed. Gatsby starts his life wanting to become wealthy, so he becomes bootlegger in order to get more money, then he wants to marry Daisy as if he can control her feelings.

Gatsby believes that Daisy’s “voice is full of money”, which means that Gatsby likes her because she is born with money and that she cannot be separated from it. After Gatsby becomes closer to Daisy than he ever was, he gets greedier and starts forcing her into telling Tom that she “never [loves] him”. His wealth makes him feel as if he can buy other people’s feelings and force events to go the way that pleases him. Even though Gatsby is one of the richest people, he lives most of his life as a prisoner to greed. In addition, the author uses eyes of T.J. Eckleburg as a motif to represent the death of spiritual morals in America. People like Gatsby, Tom and Daisy leave all of their spiritual and moral values just to attain material wealth. People of West Egg are so materialistic that the only way for them to represent God is through a billboard.

George Wilson has more faith than the others for that when he knows that Myrtle is cheating on him, he tells her that “God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!”, Wilson also believes that “God sees everything”, then Michaelis comments about the billboard and says to him “That’s an advertisement”. Wilson sees the billboard as representation for God, while others who lost their faith in God see it as just a billboard. This shows that only poor people still have hope to become better and are still faithful to God, unlike rich people like Daisy that are so materialistic that they only care about wealth and have lost all of their faith and forgot that their hearts can see more than their eyes. Another metaphor that Fitzgerald uses to develop the theme of greed is the valley of ashes.

The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are in a place called the valley of ashes that is described as “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat”, which symbolizes that all the people that work have dreams of becoming wealthy one day, but these dreams will eventually disappear just like ashes. The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are looking at those workers as if to tell them that their goals of becoming rich are unattainable. The way that Gatsby becomes wealthy is because he is a bootlegger, and not a worker in a gas station that tries to improve his living without committing a crime. The valley of ashes represents people with moral values that do not allow themselves to become bootleggers but have hopes of becoming rich one day.

Unlike the dreams of hard-working people that disappears like ashes, Gatsby’s dreams do not disappear for that he violates his moral values and becomes a bootlegger just to achieve wealth. The ashes of Gatsby’s hope to become wealthy do not vanish, but they rather keep piling up until he becomes intoxicated with greed. Finally, the author uses the narrative to establish a connection between the weather and the emotional tension of the story. In chapter7, Gatsby uses his power and wealth to try and change reality, which creates tension and causes many to complain that the weather is “too hot”, which is because of the tension that Gatsby is causing by using force and wealth to try to win Daisy.

Tension is created when Gatsby is arguing with Tom, which is the reason for Daisy to mention that “It’s too hot to fuss”. Gatsby creates this tension and tries to portray himself as a solution for all of daisy’s problems, which is why daisy sees him as being “always cool”.Gatsby made Daisy an object of his dream that he cannot live without. Even after summer ends and all the tension fades away, Gatsby still decides to swim in the pool just as if it is still summer and just as if he still has a chance to get married to Daisy. This pool of greed for wealth and daisy is the same pool that Gatsby dies in, which shows that greed will only lead to the person’s death. This demonstrates that being happy with what we have is always better than living all our lives in greed.

In conclusion, Fitzgerald shows that there is no good outcome from greed. He uses the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg as a motif to show how God left the greedy people just like how they left him, and all of what he life for them is a billboard. He also demonstrates that only few people still have faith in a society that only cares about materials. In addition to that, he illustrates the greed of Gatsby and how he believes that he can reach all of his goals using money. He also uses the weather as a way to show the tension that is created when Gatsby is using his power that he gained from wealth to try changing people’s emotions toward him.

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The Corruption of Wealth. (2022, Jan 01). Retrieved from

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