Literary money and how materialism is a huge concept

Literary theory is a way of seeing things from a different perspective. In literature this isespecially important because it allows us to see different issues happening, or to analyzecharacters from multiple different views. The Marxist and Feminist theory has shown The GreatGatsby in a whole new light, helping clearly identify the division of class and how importantmoney is, as well as the empowerment and oppression of women.Marxist theory shows the social class division between the rich and the poor through thecharacters George Wilson and Tom Buchanan. According to Critical Theory Today, “from aMarxist perspective, differences in socioeconomic class divide people in ways that are muchmore significant than differences in religion, race, ethnicity, or gender” (Tyson, 54), which iswhat is seen in the Great Gatsby. Tom is seen as wealthy, powerful person getting whatever hedesires. His personality is harsh and he takes advantage of many including having an affair withMyrtle, Wilson’s wife. By picking a woman of a lower class, he can assert his dominance uponher easily. By having a public affair his absolute power is shown as nobody can achieve hissocial status or confront him about it. Wilson, on the other hand, is feeble and pathetic, not evensuspecting that his wife is having an affair. He is mistreated by everyone around him and is notgiven any respect or dignity. This division is also depicted in the book where it shows whereeach character lives. Tom, the wealthy man, lives in upper class East Egg where they attendLatiff 2parties and live life lavishly. While George struggles in the Valley of Ashes where “men whomove dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air” (Fitzgerald, 26), there is not muchto look forward to. The division between the rich and the poor is seen very clearly between Tomand George and the way they live.Looking at The Great Gatsby through a Marxist lens has also allowed demonstrated therole of money and how materialism is a huge concept in the issue of Jay Gatsby’s and DaisyBuchanan’s affair. Money in the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy is a powerfulcontributor and is what held them together. Daisy is highly materialistic and goes for the manwith all the money, who can provide her with a luxurious lifestyle. Daisy couldn’t wait forGatsby to come back from the war, especially because he had no money, so she married Tombecause he was well off. Gatsby buys a huge mansion in the later years, very near to Daisy’shome. He fills it with high end things such as a juicer and also throws fancy parties in hopes thatDaisy will see how much money he has now and come back to him. Critical Theory Today states”For Marxism, a commodity’s value lies not in what it can do (use value) but in the money orother commodities for which it can be traded (exchange value) or in the social status it conferson its owner (sign-exchange value)” (Tyson 62)”. This correlates with Gatsby’s characterbecause he uses his money on useless objects in order to boost his social status to impress Daisy.This worked as Daisy only professes her love for Gatsby when she sees the tour of his home. Sheproclaims “They're such beautiful shirts, she sobbed, her muffled in the folds. It makes me sadbecause I've never seen such beautiful shirts” (Fitzgerald, 89 ). She is overwhelmed at how richGatsby has become. When Gatsby dies Daisy does not attend his funeral, she flees with Tomwho can now offer her a life of wealth. This shows that their “love” was only built uponmaterialistic values and the man with the most money got the girl in the end.Latiff 3The Feminist theory lens looks at the female characters in a different way, specificallyJordan Baker and her empowerment. In the 1920’s, women were not seen as equals to men andfaced much oppression. Despite all of this Jordan Baker was an exception and broke traditionalexpectations of what women are stereotypically portrayed as. For one, she was a golfer. This wasunexpected for a woman to be playing sports in that day and age, as it was not as seen woman’sprofession. This meant that she made her own income and was in financial control. As well, shewas an unmarried woman with no kids, which breaks the traditional views that women are to bemarried off in their 20’s. In fact Jordan often dates around very much, moving from various men.In the text it states “Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men…” (Fitzgerald, 58)meaning that she liked to be the dominant one in a relationship. She is also strong minded,cynical and honest which completely differs from the expected behavior of women at that time.She drives, drinks, and attends parties wherever and whenever she wants; she is the ideal visionof what an empowered women looks like at that time. In the Blackwell Guide to Literary Theoryit states “women should enjoy social, legal, and intellectual equality with men” (Blackwell 45)which is exactly what Jordan represents.On the other hand analyzing Daisy Buchanan through a Feminist lens reveals that she isbeing oppressed by men and is the typical stereotype of what a woman “should” be like in thatday and age. Daisy is seen as the ideal trophy wife she is considered extremely unintelligent,submissive and childlike. In the Blackwell Guide to Literary Theory it states “all women arebrought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the veryopposite to that of men; not self-will, and government by self-control, but submission, andyielding to the control of others” (Blackwell 23). This directly relates to how Daisy carries onwith her life. She is very aware that her husband is engaging in an affair but chooses to beLatiff 4unassertive and lenient which is a strike honor, letting her husband dominate the household.Daisy also has a daughter and said “I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be inthis world, a beautiful little fool (Fitzgerald, 22). This shows that she believes that the best thingfor her child is to be simple, beautiful, and simplistic verses being intelligent, which reinforcesthe typical stereotypical behavior that women are expected to have.Overall, literary theory has enhanced the way a text is read by showing multiple differentviewpoints on issues or characters. By using the Marxist perspective it was seen how there is aclass division between the rich and poor and how money has a big influence on relationships.The Feminist theory it showed how women were both progressive and repressive. Using literarytheory helped decompose The Great Gatsby and brought to life key issues that are important to