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Discuss how the theme of wealth and poverty plays an important role in The Great...

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johnchan1144 | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted June 12, 2010 at 3:53 PM via web

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Discuss how the theme of wealth and poverty plays an important role in The Great Gatsby? (Please refer to the following to answer this.)

(Please answer this questions particulary at least 400 words, this is an essay question so please answer it in essay format with introduction, at least 3 supporting paragraphs and conclusion. I am not asking you to write an essay for me but this is an essay format so you must have an introduction, 3 supporting paragraphs and a conclusion for at least 400 words or below it, please)

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 22, 2010 at 7:40 AM (Answer #1)

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The primary theme in this novel has to do with wealth and the lack of it, so you should have plenty to say in your essay. 

Rather than choose three supporting points for you, I'll review the things we know about money and either having it or lacking it.

  • Nick has no money but is one of the only well adjusted characters in the book.
  • Gatsby grew up in extreme poverty, saw the dangers of having money, got his heart broken because he wasn't wealthy enough, earned a lot of money through questionable business dealings, and spent his money lavishly, hoping to win Daisy back.
  • Tom had plenty of family money but did nothing constructive with his life--and though he had a rich, class-compatible wife, yet chose to have an affair with a woman who has no money and no class.
  • Daisy was born into money but fell in love with a poor soldier boy--but chooses her rich husband over Gatsby in the end.
  • Mr. Wilson is poverty-stricken and desperate in every way--even desperate enough to kill.
  • Myrtle Wilson is poor but tries to assume the trappings of the rich.
  • Gatsby's father is dignified in his poverty.

In short, people with money are generally presumed to have class; people without money are generally presumed to be lacking in class.  In this novel we see that money is no predictor at all of good or bad behavior. Look at Gatsby;s parties for your evidence of that.

So choose three characters, three levels of wealth/poverty, or any other three points of comparison or contrast and write away!

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