In chapter 5, what do you learn about the different attitudes to money and the consumer society?

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renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In preparing for his reunion with Daisy, Gatsby shows his inexperience with wealth and appearance. Gatsby looks at Nick's house and finds its modesty lacking. He first tries to offer Nick a way out of moderation, by offering him a "business" opportunity, but then uses his money to make the meeting place (Nick's) more acceptable. He hires yardmen to fix it up, and sends flowers and food over. Gatsby is trying to create an aura of wealth that he thinks will win over Daisy. Nick is not fabulously wealthy by any means, but he realizes that Gatsby is over the top in his preparations.

While showing Daisy his own house, she is struck, by what he believes his joy, at the gaudy display of wealth. Gatsby himself is wearing a silver shirt and gold tie, while Daisy is outfitted in a lavender hat. This is symbolic of the flashy "new" rich, and the more muted "old" money. The piles of brightly colored fabric and the puppy dog-like attitude of Gatsby drive Daisy to tears. She is touched by his want to please her, but also realizes that his possessions are tacky.

Gatsby's home and possessions are all flashy and shiny, Nick's are honest and modest, and Daisy's are stately and proper.

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The Great Gatsby

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