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The Hollowness of the Upper Class in "The Great Gatsby"

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on 23 July 2014

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Transcript of The Hollowness of the Upper Class in "The Great Gatsby"

The Hollowness of the Upper Class in "The Great Gatsby"
Definition of Hollowness
- Without real or significant worth; meaningless:
a hollow victory.

- Insincere or false: hollow compliments.

How these definitions apply to characters in the novel
The definitions relate well to the novel in a variety of similar events. Through out the novel you get a sense that most of the characters that are fortunate to have money, seem unhappy. The characters Daisy and Tom who both have been married for 5 years seem to develop a broken marriage. Daisy`s character seems to never be without a love interests making her dependent and shallow. Tom has never been faithful and has barely any morals while being over bearing and pretentious and overbearing. Tom and Daisy`s relationship is covered up with their wealth. Jay Gatsby also has hollowness characteristics. Gatsby`s motivation for becoming wealthy was all to win Daisy`s affection , in his earlier years. Gatsby seems to stubbornly hold on to the past, trying to recreate memories.
Analysis
Together as a group we had found some quotes, that helped describe the hollowness of the upper class in "The Great Gatsby".
After thoroughly analyzing the following passages from the novel, we were able decipher the reoccurring theme of upper class hollowness in "The Great Gatsby".
"I hope she`ll be a fool- that`s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool". (p.17)
This quote is describing how Daisy wants her daughter to be when she grows up. This demonstrates the hollowness of the upper class by Daisy hoping her daughter will be a fool instead of a proper, intelligent young girl. Daisy is saying that upper class does`t value intelligent woman, and instead value woman who are fun and giddy. She believes that her daughter will have a better life if she acts how the social standard wants her to act.
Conclusion
As a group we have successfully decided "The Great Gatsby," is a incredibly shallow novel, that portrays extreme amounts of hollowness from every character. The quotes we have provided are proof that this statement is true. New York in the 1920`s was crowded with hollow upper class people, with absolutely no sense of morals and intelligence.
"That`s my middle west...The street lamps and sleigh bells ion the frosty back...I see how that this has been a story of the West, after all- Tom and Gatsby, Daisy, and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly un adaptable to Eastern life".
This quote describes how Nick feels about living with Eastern life. Nick feels that since Tom, Daisy, Jordan and himself, are all from the West originally, that they are all simple, pure, and trying to fit into the fast paced city life of New York. This represents the shallowness of the upper class because they all act so fake to fit in to sociably acceptable standards.
“-And we’ve produced all the things that go to make civilization-oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?” (p.14)
This quote shows that Tom is ignorant and racist, reflective of his hollowness as a person. Rather than being sympathetic to the colored people for the exploitation they have been victims of, he instead dismisses them as inferior people, claiming they have contributed nothing of value to the world. This is wrong and simply shows an undeservedly wealthy man trying to argue against others achieving the luxuries he knows he did nothing to earn.
“I didn’t hear t. I imagined it. A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootlegger, you know.” “Not Gatsby,” I said shortly (p.109)
Tom, despite simply coming from a rich family, inherited his money, and feels he is entitled to it. In spite of his cold money, he tries to write off the newly rich as criminals and cheaters, showing his narcissism and hollowness.
“I saw right away he was a fine appearing gentlemanly young man and when he told me he was a Oggsford I knew I could use him good.”(p.179)

Wolfshiem at this point is telling Nick that, no one including himself cares about the welfare of Gatsby, or about his background and how he earned it to much compared to his present day business and how well it is presently doing. Wolfsheim only works and deals with Gatsby for business purposes only to provide improvement and success upon himself. This quote shows the theme money. The characters and the city of New York only care about money and what you do with it. They don't care about you're feelings and emotions and problems showing extreme upper class hollowness; they only care for fun and entertainment and success.
“Usually her voice came over the wire as something fresh and cool as if a divot from a green golf links had come sailing in at the office window but this morning it seemed harsh and dry.” (p.162)
This quote shows how Nick is frustrated and tired off all the rich and rude people with no morals, who assume their better than everyone else because they have money. At this point he realizes how tiring it it to keep up with the secrets, lies, partying, and hollowness of the upper class. This quote shows us how much Nick realizes the upper class only care about themselves or others with money.
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