The Great Gatsby Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 07:02:00
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Category: English

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How can an addiction to material wealth influence and affect one’s personality?Wealth can have both a positive and a negative influence on people. The positive influence causes a person to work harder to attain their goals and dreams and the negative influence can could a person’s mind with greed and insensitive behaviour. Exposure to great amounts of money raises a sense of independence and causes people to do their best to earn more money like Sam Polk from “For the Love of Money” article, but at the same time, money makes people less motivated to get involved in social activities and relationships like Jay Gatsby from “The Great Gatsby”. An addiction to material wealth causes a deprivation in compassion towards others, deteriorating ethics and a distorted perception of oneself. From social behaviours to how one sees themselves, wealth can have a serious influence on an individual's personality. Going from rags to riches is essentially the American Dream. Whether one achieves this dream through a good paying job or cheating, money can transform an individual’s actions and behaviors towards other. Most of the time it not for the better. Wealth gives a person a sense of independence from others and gives them a license to do anything they desire. This can cause a person to depend less on the people around them and become more self- focused. This non- compassionate and uncaring behaviour can be seen in Tom Buchanan towards Gatsby and Daisy. Tom has a beautiful wife and child, yet he still flaunts Myrtle without caring about Daisy’s feelings. Wealth makes Tom feel powerful and this causes Tom to loose compassion towards Daisy. Tom outs Gatsby’s real job to Daisy when he notices Gatsby and Daisy getting closer. By doing this Tom ensured that Daisy won’t go to Gatsby. To make the situation even more painful, Tom asks that Daisy should ride home with Gatsby saying, “Go on. He won’t annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over.”(Fitzgerald 129). Tom says this to show Gatsby in his place and to end any feelings that Daisy might still have for Gatsby. Tom does not care about Daisy or Gatsby. All Tom cares about is getting what he wants whether it is destroying one’s relationship or money. Similarly, Sam Polk a former Wall Street trader was too focused on making money, which essentially made Sam forget what relationships actually were. Sam used people for his own benefit as he says in article “Because of how smart and successful I was, it was someone else’s job to make me happy.” (Polk). Sam thought that if he is rich and successful, everyone should bow at his feet and offer him whatever he likes. Sam believed that since he was wealthy, everyone should please him rather than him helping other as well. It is said that people with wealth and high class are most likely to be involved in unethical behaviour. This unethical behaviour can be anything from bribing the law to cheating in order to win a prize. Due to one’s wealth, an individual thinks they are above everyone else and this causes them to lose some or most of their ethics and morals. Gatsby being a wealthy man is able to influence authority to benefit himself. When Gatsby and Nick are driving, Gatsby avoids authority by “Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes” (Fitzgerald 67). Instead of enforcing the law and giving a speeding ticket, the police office was treating Gatsby like a friend. The way the officer treated Gatsby is a symbol of the unethical privilege wealthy individuals have. This unethical behaviour further emphasises the advantages that Gatsby has because he is rich. In the same way, Sam Polk main goal as a Wall Street Trader to make as much money as possible. It did not matter to Sam how the money was made and who it was hurting as he said in his article, “Not only was I not helping to fix any problems in the world, but I was profiting from them…I’d made a ton of money by shorting the derivatives of risky companies. As the world crumbled, I profited” (Polk). Sam devoted all his time into making more money. Sam was influenced greatly by his father who always said money was the solution to all problems. This hunger for attaining more and more money, caused Sam to lose focus on things that are important such as relationships.

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