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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – Importance of Money

Gatsby’s Money

Three works Cited Materialism started to become a main theme of literature in the modernist era. During this time the economy was good causing jazz to be popular, bootlegging common, and an affair meaning nothing (Gevaert). This negative view of money and the gross materialism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby serves to be a modern theme in the novel. Throughout the novel, the rich possess a sense of carelessness and believe that money yields happiness.

During the whole story, the rich have a sense of carelessness of money and material goods that are usually unobtainable by most. Prime examples of this carelessness are the huge parties that Gatsby throws; everybody who is anybody would attend: the party guests “[arrive] at twilight . . .” (Fitzgerald 111) and stay until daybreak, and “sometimes they [come] and [go] without having met Gatsby at all, [come] for the party with a simplicity of heart that [is] its own ticket of admission” (45). Gatsby puts enormous amounts of money into these parties, even though he does not enjoy them one bit. He, however, continues to have them because he believes happiness can be bought (101), that the glitz and glitter will ultimately bring Daisy to love him (Swilley). To Gatsby, he must continue to throw these parties. Gatsby is new money and he has to show off his money and prove to the world that he is rich (Karen). In addition to his elaborate parties, he wears extravagant pink suits with gold ties and drives an eye-catching yellow car. All this he does in order to gain Daisy’s attention (Gatsbylvr). In contrast, the opposite is true for Tom. Karen says that Tom is old money and, therefore, does not have to show the world that he has money. Tom does not need Gatsby’s flashiness; his house is arranged to his liking and he seems to be more conventional — Tom rides horses as opposed to driving a flashy car (Karen).

The idea of money being able to bring happiness is another prevalent modernist theme found in The Great Gatsby. According to Sparknotes, Fitzgerald acts as the poster child for this idea. He, himself in his own life, believes this as well. He puts off marrying his wife until he has enough money to support her (SparkNotes). Fitzgerald’s delay to marry his wife and Gatsby’s quest to buy Daisy’s love are parallel (Gatsbylvr).

Four Views of The Sick Rose

Four Views of The Sick Rose

Four Works Cited By analyzing more information from different authors, I was able to draw a greater amount contrast from the authors. I had a better feel for what they were trying to convey when they wrote their critical essays in their books. Whatever the case, it was easier to judge “The Sick Rose” by having more sources to reflect upon.

Michael Riffaterre centers his analysis of “The Sick Rose” in “The Self-sufficient Text” by “using internal evidence only [to analyze the poem] and to determine to what extent the literary text is self-sufficient. It seems to [Riffaterre] that a proper reading entails no more than a knowledge of the language” (39). Riffaterre identifies psychological, philosophical, and genetic interpretations (connected to “mythological tradition”) as “aiming outwards.” These approaches find the meaning of the text in the relationship of its images to other texts” (40). Riffaterre argues for a more internal reading of the poems. Riffaterre emphasizes the importance of the relationships between words as opposed to their “corresponding realities” (40). For example, he states that the “flower or the fruit is a variant of the worm’s dwelling constructed through destruction. Thus, as a word, worm is meaningful only in the context of flower, and flower only in the context of worm” (41). After Riffaterre’s reading and interpretation of the poem, he concludes that “The Sick Rose” is composed of “polarized polarities” (44) which convey the central object of the poem, the actual phrase, “the sick rose” (44). He asserts that “because the text provides all the elements necessary to our identifying these verbal artifacts, we do not have to resort to traditions or symbols found outside the text” (44). Thus, “The Sick Rose” is a self-sufficient text.

Hazard Adams takes a different approach to reading “The Sick Rose” than most critics by cautioning the reader that often one “overlook[s] the fact that a literary image primarily imitates its previous usages and secondarily what it denotes in the outer world or in the realm of ideas” (13). Adams begins his analysis with examining the rose, and by reminding the reader that in a “literary world where the rose is seen archetypally, all things have human form” (14). Thus he allows for the rose to be able to become part of the speaker. He carries his idea one step further by suggesting that the speaker always “address[es] some aspect of himself” when speaking to an object.

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