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Cia Soto



20 October 2016

The Great Materialism Issue

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald utilizes imagery, exaggerated

verbs, and characterization to illustrate the social problem of dominating values of materialism

that consumed the higher social class, as it had occurred between Gatsby and Daisy as well.

The image portrayed of Gatsby’s house has overwhelming appeal over Gatsby to Daisy.

As “Daisy admired… the feudal silhouette against the sky, admired the gardens, the sparkling

odor of jonquils…” and all the majesties of the grand house, the house itself becomes Daisy’s

primary focus (pg90). The wealth and prestige of the house is the only prominent interest in the

relationship between her and Gatsby as she actively appreciates all of its detail and extravagant

parts which are very thoroughly described throughout the passage. With more focus emphasized

on the house, Daisy displays a greater sense of value in Gatsby’s wealth to own the house rather

than focus on why she loved him for himself as she had years ago.

Through the tour of Gatsby’s house for Daisy, her actions are introduced in an

exaggerated manner to emphasize her priority appreciations. Upon revealing a cabinet of

expensive shirts, Daisy ”With a strained sound… bent her head into the shirts and began to cry

stormily”(92). This gesture of her astoundment and concentrated interest in possessions is in no

way suppressed with the fact the author did not just state she made pleasant comments of the

shirts, she did not just cry over the shirts, but instead procured this image of her crying stormily
over them. Stating that she had cried stormily as opposed to merely whimpering stresses much

more importance and made her action more impactful of the event as Daisy was making a huge

deal over articles of clothing. A huge, exasperated deal of the shirts she adored so much, rather

than the man who owned the shirts and she once loved only a few years before.

Daisy’s characterization of her now different priorities further fed into the common,

widespread social struggle over glorified materialism. Gatsby would always reminisce of how

“‘[Daisy] used to be able to understand. [They’d] sit for hours’” and they would just be able to

talk and appreciate each other for who they were just like “five years before” but as Daisy’s

interests had changed through the years a divide had begun to occur between them (109-110).

Gatsby was quick to pick up on the growing disconnect between Daisy and himself, but was

blind to the fact that Daisy prized material wealth more than the beholder after those five years.

Gatsby had lost part of himself clinging to any strand of hope that she would be the same, but

Daisy’s priorities had fallen victim to appreciate wealth and possessions more than personality

and trust in a person.

The use of of extravagant imagery of Gatsby’s house, discreet choices of adverbs, and

characterized priorities illustrate a running trend of value of possessions over people in a

common place of glorified materialism, using Daisy and Gatsby’s faltering and disrupted

relationship to further convey the lacking love they once had.

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