In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald successfully portrays that materialism as the corrupt source of the society. Like Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby is a sensitive young man who idolizes wealth and luxury, and falls in love with a beautiful young woman while stationed at a military camp in the South. After Fitzgerald’s first novel was published, he became a celebrity, and fell into a wild, reckless lifestyle of parties and decadence while desperately trying to please Zelda.
Similarly, Gatsby amasses a great deal of wealth at a relatively young age, and devotes himself to acquiring possessions and throwing parties that he believes will enable him to win Daisy’s love. Through different characters Fitzgerald, proves that hunger for materialism or wealth leads to self-destruction. All of Gatsby’s vulgarity, his ‘materialism’ and single-minded pursuit of wealth, was founded upon his willingness to sacrifice himself for his ideal.
He believed that he could attain his ideal through work, effort, and purity or devotion. Hence, Gatsby made his fortune through criminal activity, as he was willing to do anything to gain the position he thought was necessary to win Daisy. Gatsby’s attitude toward material objects differs sharply from Tom Buchanan’s fleshly materialism. For Gatsby, the material world is somehow elevated to a spiritual dimension, and the acquisition of material objects becomes almost a religious ritual. This is precisely what sets up Gatsby’s ultimate doom.
The fact that his ‘materialism’ is itself a romantic ‘faith’ in a kind of vaguely glowing perfection which the material world can never offer Myrtle wishes to climb the social ladder, and so she is determined to do so at all costs. Therefore, she starts an affair with Tom, the fashionably dressed man that she met in the train. Unfortunately, she is killed by Gatsby’s ‘gorgeous’ car. The expensive automobile has a very special meaning. The only things she loves, materialism, kill myrtle.