“Carelessness”, Moral Corruption and Materialism
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“They were careless people.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a novel about a man, who tries to make it rich by following the American Dream to pursue the love of his life. Through Gatsby pursuit of the American Dream, Fitzgerald illustrates the themes of “carelessness”, moral corruption, and materialism. Fitzgerald uses his depiction of the rich, the easterners, to exemplify the theme of carelessness.
Jordan Baker’s instance with the car is an example of the careless theme. While driving with Nick she told him “it takes two to make an accident.” Her lack of care describes the moral corruption of the rich. The irony is that “hate(s) careless people”, but she is as careless as anyone else. Her careless in her driving is a reflection of her careless and her moral corruption.
Jordan Baker’s golf scandal is a reflection of the “careless”, and morally corrupt theme. There was “a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round” during a golf tournament. This proves her lack of morals because she had cheated to maintain her stature as an excellent golfer. Her lack or care and lack of morals are a cause of her eastern heritage.
Gatsby’s parties are occasion in which many morally corrupt individuals gather to do careless deeds. The car crash at Gatsby’s party is done on accident. The accident was an act of carelessness caused by the intoxication of the individuals. The parties are used by Fitzgerald to depict the social gatherings that the high-class individuals attend with no regard for anything or anyone. They live their lives in accordance with materials and have no care for anything except money. And “money makes the money.” Tom Buchanan is a rich, east egger, who possesses the same moral corruption and carelessness that all other east eggers possess. Tom Buchanan is a morally corrupted individual from the start of the novel. “Tom’s got some woman in New York,” who is his mistress. Since Tom is cheating on his wife, Daisy, he can be described as a morally corrupt individual with a lack of care.
Tom had always been cheating on Daisy even when his daughter “was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where.” Daisy Buchanan, Tom’s wife, is a careless individual, who could be characterized a “dumb blonde.” Though it mentions that Daisy never drank, on the day before her wedding she was “as drunk as a monkey.” The alcohol can be used as a tool of moral corruption. She debated marrying Tom or waiting for Gatsby to return from the war, but her “carelessness” and moral corruption and materialism lead to her marriage of Tom. Her life, from then on, was nothing more than a life of a materialism and carelessness.
The materialistic value that the easterners possess is characterized through Daisy’s reaction to having a baby. Daisy displays her baby like an object rather than a human being. She tells everyone that they “ought to see the baby,” like its an object. The baby is used by Daisy to represent something about herself. She has a baby because it makes her look good, but in truth she has someone take care of her and has no real interaction with her.
Gatsby makes a transition into the “careless” state when he pursues Daisy. Gatsby was raised on a farm with no money and he works hard, the American Dream, and struggles to be successful. Along the way he meets Daisy and decides in order to get Daisy he needs to be her type. To be her type he must conform to the morally corrupt values of the easterners. He throws parties to gather attention and he is measure by his possessions and not by who he really is.
Gatsby has also gained his money through corrupted means. He is known to be a “bootlegger.” Alcohol is associated with corruption, but he is selling it illegally, which makes it more corrupt. Gatsby is not such a “pure” individual himself and it seems that Nick is the true to heart western boy.
The Great Gatsby illustrates the American Dream and the corruption behind it. The richer one becomes the more morally corrupt and materialistic they become. Even Gatsby had stumbled in the ditch of moral corruption before he died and realized her was chasing a dream that was also corrupt.