The famous novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, is a renown piece of American literature. This novel revolves around a rich, hopeful man by the name of Jay Gatsby who desires nothing more than to get back together with his old lover, Daisy. Daisy though, is already married to a wealthy man named Tom, and even though Tom is cheating on her with Myrtle, Daisy still loves him. Gatsby, having been born in a different class than Daisy, fears he may never be able to live the life he imagined with her because of his penniless past.
This shows that in society, people are extremely separated from one other due to actors such as class and wealth driving them apart. This is shown through the characterization of Myrtle and Daisy, the conflicts of Gatsby and Myrtle, and Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism. Through the characterization of Fitzgerald’s characters Myrtle and Daisy, he supports the idea that people are separated by wealth and class. In the novel, Tom brings Myrtle, whom is from the Valley of Ashes, to an apartment in New York. The Valley of Ashes is a fictional place in the novel where less-privileged individuals live.
While Myrtle and Tom are at the apartment, they host a party where Myrtle begins to behave differently. As the narrator notices the change he says that, “With the influence of the dress her personality had also gone through a change. The intense vitality that had been remarkable in the garage was converted into impressed hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment” (Fitzgerald 30-31). This is describing that everything about Myrtle changes when she begins to interact with the New Yorkers at her party.
This reveals her strong desire to be accepted by the upper-class people who she surrounded herself with because they wouldn’t accept her otherwise. The narrator is describing how her personality changed when being around a different class because they are so separated that she feels like she wouldn’t belong with them otherwise. The character Daisy is almost the exact opposite of Myrtle.
This is revealed during a scene in the novel where the narrator is awaiting for Dais’s arrival to his home. Under the dripping bare lilac-trees a large open car was coming up the drive. It stopped. Daisy’s face tipped sideways beneath a three cornered lavender hat, looked out at me with a bright ecstatic smile” (Fitzgerald 85). Daisy rrives in an extravagant car is big and is wearing expensive clothes that show how she, unlike myrtle, is very wealthy. Because Daisy is of a wealthy class and the narrator who she is meeting up with, is as well, she doesn’t act out of the ordinary and dresses as she usually does.
Unlike Myrtle, Daisy doesn’t change herself when around others because in this scenario they from a similar class so the separation that that Myrtle felt is not present for Daisy. The characterization of Daisy and Myrtle show that the separation of class in society acts as a barrier between individuals and separates them. Yet another instance where the idea of the division of individuals through social standings and money is proven, is through the conflicts with Gatsby and Myrtle. Gatsby is a very wishful man who only wants to be reunited with Daisy.
However, there is a barrier withholding him from getting to her. This barrier is made obvious when the narrator begins to describe Gatsby’s past. “However glorious might be his future as Jay Gatsby, he was at present a penniless young man without a past, and at any moment the invisible clock of his uniform might slip from his shoulders” (Fitzgerald 149). No matter what Gatsby oes, he can’t change the fact that he is originally from a lesser class and that Daisy would only love him for his wealth.
The barrier still remains even though Gatsby gains wealth and rises in social status because of his origins and the type of money he has. Gatsby has ‘new money’, where as Daisy has ‘old money’. Gatsby is internally conflicted because he wants Daisy but his money and past keep them separated. This proves the idea that individuals are separated by money and social standings because Gatsby couldn’t have Daisy because of their differences in wealth. This internal struggle with Gatsby shows the authors se of conflict. Another example of this is Myrtles conflict with money.
The place where Myrtle lives, The Valley of Ashes, is a desolate and run-down town. Its covered with ash and is very vacant. “The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land, a sort of compact main street ministering to it and contiguous to nothing,” described the narrator upon his first arrival to the valley (Fitzgerald 24). This is an example of the external conflict between people in Valley of Ashes, such as Myrtle, and money. Myrtle lives in the valley solely because she can’t afford to live nywhere better.
Myrtle spoils her self when she is with the wealthy Tom because he has the money she doesn’t. In this novel, the poor are legitimately separated from the upper class to the extent that they even live in separate areas that reflect the amount of wealth they have. Fitzgerald shows that individuals are separated because of wealth and class through the conflicts with Gatsby and Myrtle. Fitzgerald also uses symbolism throughout the novel as a means to show how individuals are divided because of their amount of wealth.
While the narrator is in the Valley of Ashes he describes ow run down everything is. “The interior was unprosperous and bare; the only car visible was the dust covered wreck of a ford with crouched in a dim corner” (Fitzgerald 25) The valley of the ashes is a very poor place that was designed for the poor to live in. This description of the Valley of Ashes is an example of symbolism because it indicates that people were so poor they lived in a run-down place, separated from everyone else.
This shows that people are separated because of wealth because there was a physical separation between people with wealth and those without. The Valley of ashes was a place for the eemingly poor, where as the Eggs (East and West) were designated for the rich. When the narrator visits East egg, he is taken back by the extravagance of Daisy’s house. ” Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheer red-and- white Georgian colonial mansion, overlooking the bay.
The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile” (Fitzgerald 6). Daisy is rich and lives in huge luxurious mansion away from the poor. East egg is basically a place where the amazingly rich live, away from those in classes beneath them. The Rich and poor are divided into separate communities n which they do not need to interact with each other, reveal that noth the Valley and Eggs are symbols representing the separation of class.
Fitzgerald uses symbolism such and the Valley of Ashes and East Egg as a way to prove how individuals are separated due to wealth and class. Through characterization, conflicts, and symbolism Fitzgerald supports the idea that people are separated because of how much money they have and what social class they are in. Fitzgerald shared through his novel the ideas that money tears people apart. It can destroy hope and ruin love and divide a people amongst themselves. Money can destroy the bonds between people.
Whether it’s the lack of it or an excessive amount, it tears people apart even today. People still live in secludes areas depending on their wealth. Poor people live in cramped rundown neighborhood, where as the rich nowadays like in spacious houses in nice neighborhoods. Through the novel, The Great Gatsby, the theme of separation is constantly shown to tear people apart. If only people could overlook class and lose their want for more money and live together in harmony. Then romances such as Daisy and Gatsby’s wouldn’t have such a bitter end.