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

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

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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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76.6% / 1862 words / There are no equal opportuniti... Essay
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 cla
2021-07-12 23:57:52
76.6% / 1862 words / There are no equal opportuniti... Essay
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