Materialism In The Great Gatsby

What are examples of materialism shown in this novel?

i need as many examples as possible please

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the above answer, there are also the following examples of materialism:

Cars: Tom and Gatsby sport the most expensive autos on the market.  Wilson wants to buy Tom's car, but Tom won't sell it to him.  As a result, Tom holds his superior car status over Wilson.

Women: They are status symbols, too, just like cars.  Men like Tom collect mistresses like model-Ts.  In the end, when they're an old model or dead, he gets a new one.  Remember, Myrtle is killed by a car.

Liquor: This novel takes place during Prohibition, a time when alcohol was banned from public consumption, but that doesn't stop it from flowing to excess during the parties.  Champagne and Mint Juleps are in nearly every chapter.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The entire notion of how relationships are formed and how they are maintained is done so through a materialist lens.  The world Fitzgerald depicts is one where success is predicated upon wealth and the acquisition of wealth.  In this world, material wealth is the same as value.  People are valued based on their monetary acquisition and this becomes the guiding focus in the social world in the novel.  Gatsby is convinced that the more money he makes, the greater the chance his allure to Daisy will increase.  He believes that she will love him based on his money.  Jordan and Tom are also individuals who value money and wealth and are participants in a world where materialist objectifications reign supreme.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Look at Gatsby and his house and its contents.  Those are perfect examples of materialism.

Gatsby is a single man who lives alone.  Even so, he has this huge mansion which is surely much bigger than he needs it to be.  He has all these books that he has bought to make his house look classy -- he hasn't even had the edges of the pages cut so they can open.  He has his clothes sent over from England -- remember the part with Daisy looking at his shirts and crying?  All of these are examples of materialism because they show Gatsby wanting material things as a way to impress other people.

anna95s | Student

The luxurious and exaggerated description of Gatsby’s party Nick is invited to, underscores the materialism the society possessed during the 1920s. Although Gatsby recalls it as his “little party”, it is actually a huge festivity with numerous people who come to enjoy the orchestra playing under the stars, elaborate food prepared, and drinks provided at the bar. Most of the people who come to the party are the newly rich people living in the West Egg. Fitzgerald uses the symbolization of colors in order to contrast such newly rich to the aristocrats living in the East Egg. The “yellow cocktail music” played by the orchestra, and the “girls in yellow” are both featured with the color yellow in order to stress the fake and cheap image of the West Egg community. On the other hand, Jordan’s “golden arm” is described with a gold color which symbolizes the genuine, classical, and heavy image of the East Egg society. The extravagant appearances of the guests, their hair in “strange new” ways wearing “golden and silver slippers”, expose their desire to flaunt their wealth and be a part of the aristocratic society, indicating the materialism existing at that time.

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The Great Gatsby

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