76.6% / 1862 words / There are no equal opportuniti… Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 01:26:03
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There are no equal opportunities because people are not equal from birth. Some are
born with a silver spoon in their mouth, others need to make great effort in order to achieve
success. In order to succeed in life , one must be either very tough and enterprising , even without
regard for moral principles. Some from birth belonged to the upper class, and wealth and social
status were their natural enviroment. They already lived the American Dream. Others belonged to the
working class and in order to reach wealth they had to hard work and sometimes use illegal means, but it is
impossible to change their birth history and class affiliation. Fitzgerald in his novel The Great Gatsby
pointed at class inequality, respectively upper class already live the american dream, other try to reach
it, even if wealth can be earned then the lineage can not be procured because it is beyond one\’s
If all men are born equal, there can be no top level to strive for. Thus that no such equality, neither in
position nor in opportunity exists and that a person’s ability is very much dependent on family
background. The novel includes characters from several different socioeconomic classes . In Critical
Theory Today (2006) ,Lois Tyson explains the inequality in socioeconomic class by dividing people
into the “haves” and the “have – not”:
The Marxist theory considers control over the natural, economic and human resources of the world
which separates people. Thus, division is made between those who have and those who do not.
\”Have\” are those who control these things, natural, economic and human resources, and \”do not have\”
all the rest. The Max Weber theory is a theory about the social class. Weber, like Marx, believed that
the class is associated with wealth. However, Weber divided the status and class in his theory, and the
status did not necessarily depend on wealth.
Thus Weber argues that, a person does not need to remain in the same social class forever. As this
depends on factors such as work, wealth and property. With explanation of the Weber class, the
characters of the novel belong to different classes. Buchanan and Jay Gatsby belong to class,
privileged through equity and education. Nick Carraway can be considered a representative the poor
intelligentsia. Thus Wilsons are part of the working class. As for the status, Weber claims: “Status may
rest on a class position of a distinct or ambiguous kind. However, it is not solely determined by it:
Money and entrepreneurial position are not in themselves status qualifications, although they may lead
to them …” (Weber 306).
In comparison with social class, money does not guarantee a certain status. The lack of something is
not an automatic disqualification of a status (Weber 306). Jordan Baker, from the novel,could be seen
as an example of this as her economic situation is unknown but she still has a status that is comparable
with the Buchanans. Weber continues on the matter : “The class position of an officer, a civil servant
or a student may vary greatly according to their wealth and yet not lead to a different status since
upbringing and education create a common style of life” (306). This exemplifies the fact that there are
other factors involved in determining status compared with social class . Upbringing and education can
contribute to a common style of life and values that brings people together.
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald presents two distinct types of wealthy people. First, there are people
like the Buchanans and Jordan Baker who were born into wealth. Their families have had money for
many generations, hence they are \”old money.\” As portrayed in the novel, the \”old money\” people
don\’t have to work (they rarely, if ever, even speak about business arrangements) and they spend their
time amusing themselves with whatever takes their fancy. Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and the distinct social
class they represent are perhaps the story\’s most elitist group, imposing distinctions on the other people
of wealth (like Gatsby) based not so much on how much money one has, but where that money came
from and when it was acquired. For the \”old money\” people, the fact that Gatsby (and countless other
people like him in the 1920s) has only just recently acquired his money is reason enough to dislike him.
In their way of thinking, he can\’t possibly have the same refinement, sensibility, and taste they have.
Not only does he work for a living, but he comes from a low-class background which, in their opinion,
means he cannot possibly be like them.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan are depicted as almost indifferent to other people. Nick state: “They were
careless people, Tom and Daisy –they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or
their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up their
mess”(Fitzgerald 167). In portraying Tom and Daisy as careless toward other people Fitzgerald shows
a mentality amongst the upper class as if the same rules do not apply to everyone. Tom and Daisy’s
mutual arrogance regarding the situation shows how little they value other people’s lives –even lives of
people they supposedly cared about.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan are the typical residents of East Egg as they have always been wealthy
and possess the freedom that comes with it. They are described as people that without any further
purpose drift : “here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo
and were rich together”(Fitzgerald 13). To them, there is nothing more to life than existing in this state
of mind (Barbour 70). Gatsby, on the other hand , is the typical resident of West Egg. With his lack of
family wealth and his self -earned fortune he represents the opposite from Tom and Daisy Buchanan.
While the Buchanans seem to live without goals or ambition, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby’s ambitions
with the schedule over his daily activities (162). One way of determining status is, according to Weber:
“through hereditary charisma, by virtue of successful claims to higher -ranking descent: hereditary
status ” (306). This is what tie members of “old families” together, families like Tom’s and Daisy’s.
Her family was a part of the upper class society in her hometown, Louisville (Fitzgerald 73). Daisy,
who in this case represents the “old money” America, displays her feelings towards West Egg: She was
appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented ‘place’ that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island
fishing village –appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too
obtrusive fate that herded the inhabitants along a short -cut from nothing to nothing. She saw
something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand (Fitzgerald 102). Daisy’s reaction at
the party can be seen as a first hint of proof that Gatsby will never succeed in his attempt to win her
back and get things back to the way they were (Aldridge 54). In Daisy’s reaction Fitzgerald exposes
the opinions of people of her status towards this kind of “new money” and people without the same
high “hereditary status”. By giving Tom Buchanan characteristics that could be described as
unsympathetic Fitzgerald criticizes the upper class which Tom represents. Although Tom has more
money than he could ever spend, and despite the fact that he has been in that position his whole life he
still has the need to show his wealth and power to those who have less than him . He toys
with his mechanic Wilson , who is also the husband of his mistress Myrtle. Wilson wishes to buy his
car with the intention to turn it with a profit. The car deal would not mean a lot to Tom, but it would be
important to Wilson. By delaying the deal, Tom demonstrates his power. Tom also brags to Nick about
his house and the previous prominent owners (Tyson 70). Both incidents could be read as examples of
Fitzgerald’s criticism against the upper class society and the current norms regarding how to treat
people with a different social status. Tom’s behavior is, although unsympathetic, never regarded , in
the society of the novel, as inappropriate for a man of his status, which makes it completely acceptable
for him to treat others with a lack of respect. At one point, Fitzgerald describes Tom and Daisy as
members of a secret society (Fitzgerald 24). By using this metaphor of the secret society Fitzgerald
illustrates the seclusion of the upper class society that Tom and Daisy represents. According to
Aldridge their memberships in this secret society generate a deeper faithfulness between them (49).
Gatsby’s task to win Daisy is therefore not only about getting her to love him more than Tom, but also
to beat the secret society that he is not a member of (Aldridge 52). If the secret society represents
social status, then that is what Gatsby must defeat in order to get Daisy back. The difference in
socioeconomic status between those with “new money” and those with “old money” is exemplified by
the behavior of Tom and Daisy. Fitzgerald acknowledges the difference with Gatsby’s final revelation
of Daisy: “Her voice is full of money, ” he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It
was full of money –that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell on it, the jingle of it, the
cymbal’s song of it… High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl… (113) According to
Aldridge, this quality in Daisy is important, as it is what commits her to Tom. It is not only about
money and Aldridge describes it as a philosophy: “… it is a whole philosophy and tradition of life
belonging to those who have always had money and marking them as a separate breed superior to
those who have not” (Aldridge 55). That also explains what Daisy is not willing to give up for Gatsby ;
if she would choose him she would lose her belonging to that superior breed and she is unwilling to
sacrifice that, perhaps since that is all she has ever known. When Daisy finds out about Gatsby’s
involvement in illegal business, she distances herself from him , and no matter what he says he cannot
change it. The fact that Fitzgerald separates Gatsby and Daisy stresses the importance of social status,
as Daisy is unable to accept the negative impact of her social status that staying with Gatsby would
mean. Tom demonstrates his superior status by reducing the importance of Gatsby’s relationship with
Daisy: “Go on, he won’t annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over ”
(Fitzgerald 127). Since Tom and Daisy have similar backgrounds, he also knows that she would not be
interested in giving up her superior status. That makes Gatsby harmless. Tom and Daisy’s indifference
to other people can be connected to social status.As Tom and Daisy’s status is considered, by their society, to be superior, it also
implies that they have different rights than those of lower status . According to Aldridge the “secret
society” wins over the romantic illusion (55). That could mean that the importance of social status
wins over romance.

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