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Marxism in The Great Gatsby

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Dani Maps

on 2 July 2014

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Transcript of Marxism in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby:
How big of a role does Marxism play between the characters and the setting, especially with East Egg and West Egg?

MARXISM?!
WEST/EAST EGG
Marxism with setting:
"I live in West Egg, the ---well the less fashionable of the two..."
Marxism between Characterization
Not only does Marxism play between the classes, but also between the characters.
The questions that readers must keep in mind are:
Who are the powerful? Who receives most attention?How?
Who are the powerless? How?
Is there alienation evident in any of the character?
Fitzgerald develops his character based on their settings and each role's purpose is about money and wealth status.
Marxism, or the Marxist approach, is based on the philosophy of Karl Marx, in which is the idea of the control and power an industry or person has over the society.

His argument stated that whoever had ownership over production, controlled the whole society and the whole culture.

In a Marxist perspective, we have to understand that with Marxism involved, literature is related to culture.
Also, it is similar to a communist perspective.
West Egg and East Egg
The time in which it is set is during the 1920’w- a time where selling, manufacturing and consuming alcohol was banned.
•When the newly founded ‘American Dream’ was being strived for, the idea that if one worked hard, they would ‘reap’ the rewards, no matter their surname or beginning in life
•This time period, along with the conditions of that time, is critical to the story due to the fact that Gatsby is of a wealthy status due to his bootlegging business.
•The social setting is a group of wealthy, educated people those with a carefree, fun lifestyle, often spent around parties or gatherings and have little concern over people who are not included in their social environment.
DAISY'S POWER
Daisy has power over everyone. EVERYONE
Married to Tom
Considered 'old money'
live in East Egg
Gatsby in love with her

First impression of Daisy is careless and free:
"....an
enormous
couch on which two young women were
buoyed
up as though upon an
anchored balloon."
imagery
big words to emphasize their power
Daisy's power over
Nick
"
The other girl
, Daisy, made an attempt to rise-she leaned slightly forward with a
conscientious
expression-then she laughed, an absurd,
charming
little laugh, and i laughed too...."
The first mention of Daisy, introduces her as 'the other girl'.
Not as 'Daisy' nor 'my cousin'
refers to her as just another stranger/ person
distant
"The
exhilarating
ripple of her voice was a
wild
tonic in the rain. i had to follow the sound of it for a moment, up and down, with my ear alone, before any words came through.
Nick is mesmerized with every detail that is Daisy
He, himself, in this context can relate to what Gatsby sees in Daisy. (scene in which Gatsby is about to meet Daisy.
Daisy over
Tom/Myrtle:
"....discussing in impassioned voices whether Mrs Wilson had any right to mention Daisy's name.
"Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!" shouted Mrs. Wilson." I'll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai----"
Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand"
"The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables. in fact all subjects, vanished into air"
Daisy over
Gatsby
:
The most obvious case of Daisy's power is her affect towards Gatsby and can be seen throughout the book.
Though Gatsby is known as powerful, through Daisy's eyes, Gatsby was a poor man.
"..rich girls don't marry poor boys....rich girls don't marry poor boys"

"Gatsby bought the house so that Daisy would be jst across the bay"

"The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited 5 years and bought a mansion....so that he could "come over" some afternoon to a stranger's garden"

"He knew that when he kissed the girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her persiahble breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. ....At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
Tom Buchanan's Power:
Tom mainly has power over Gatsby and Daisy.
'old money'
East Egg
Wealthy Family
Married to Daisy

First impression of Tom:
"her husband among various physical accomplishments had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football"

"Two shining
arrogant
eyes had
established dominance
over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressive forward.
Tom's power over
Daisy
:
Physically powerful-
"Look! she complained; "I hurt it"
We all looked-the knuckle was black and bloue.
"You did it Tom," she said accusingly. "I know you didn't mean to, but you did do it. That's what i get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of a ---"
"I hate that word hulking"


"....glancing at her impatiently..."

"Even alone I can't say I never loved Tom" she admitted in a pitiful voice. "It wouldn't be true"
Tom over
Gatsby:
" Who is this Gatsby anyhow?" demanded Tom suddenly. "Some bootlegger"
Gatsby's power
Wealthy Man
Daisy is in love with him
Mysterious/rich reputation among his guests.
Gatsby's power over
Tom
:
"Daisy and Gatsby danced. I remember being surprised by his graceful , conservative fox-trot- i had never seen him dance before. then they sauntered over to my house and sat on the steps for half an hour, while at her request i remained watchfully in the garden"
Tom over society:
"She walked close to Gatsby, touching his coat with her hand. Jordan and Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby's car, Tom pushed the unfamiliar gear tentatively, and we shot off into the oppressive heat, "
Tom over
Wilson
:
"I almost married a little kike who'd been after me for years. I knew he was below me. Everybody kept saying to me: 'Lucille, that man's way below you!'"
"well, I married him" said Myrtle"

His voice faded off and Tom glanced impatiently around the garage.
"The interior was prosperous and bare; the only car visible was the dust-covered wreck of a Ford which crouched in a dim corner"
Wilson over Tom:
"He had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world, and the shock had made him physically sick"
Myrtle's Power
Her power over Daisy:
Her weakness towards Tom/Daisy:
"In one of the windows over the garage the curtains had been moved aside a little, and Myrtle Wilson was peering down at the car. ....Her expression was curiously familiar- it was an expression I had often seen on women's faces, but on Myrtle Wilson's face it seemed purposeless and inexplicable until I realized that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan Baker, who se took to be his wife. "
"The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom's ear, whereupon Tom frowned pushed back his chair, and without a word went inside"

"She might not have the decency not to telephone him at dinner time."
"Hold on" I said "I have to leave you here"
"No you don't, " interposed Tom quickly."Myrtle'll be hurt if you don't come up to the apartment. Wont you Myrtle?"
"Come on" she shrugged "I'll telephone my sister Catherine."
Feminist Criticisms
Feminists overlap with Marxism.
In the first chapter of the novel, Tom makes a remark on being the dominant race.
Showing that other forms of criticism (race) overlaps Marxism
Powerful suppress the powerless.
"Well, these books are all scientific," insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. "This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things. "
"We've got to beat them down"
"'All right,' I said, 'I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool-that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool"
the main reason being that he is married to Daisy
although Gatsby is wealthy, he does not possess the complete status of living the high life, or being considered as 'old money'.
"She had told him that she loved him , and Tom Buchanan saw. He was astounded.....and he looked at Gatsby, and thenback at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as some one he knew a long time ago"
Gatsby's power over
Daisy
shirt throwing part
Gatsby's weakness:
"Please don't." her voice was cold, but the rancor was gone from it. She looked at Gatsby."There Jay", she said--- but her hand as she tried to light a cigarette .......
"Oh you want too much!" she cried to Gatsby. "I love you now-isnt that enough? I cant help whats past"
"Then I turned back to Gatsby-and was startled at his expression. He looked-and this is said in all contempt for the babbled slander of his garden-as if he had killed a man"
Wilson's surroundings, as well as the car, is similar to his life and situation
"She's not leaving me!" Tom's words suddenly leaned down over Gatsby. "Certainly not for a common swindler who'd have to steal the ring he put on her finger"
Gatsby's death was the final sign or proof that Tom truly won the battle between winning Daisy.
"Well, about six weeks ago, she heard the name Gatsby for the first time in years"
"....his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting,
frightened, but graceful
....
Nick's power:
Gatsby's name is often heard around his parties and "people were not invited-they went there"
"I had actually been invited"
The fact the Nick was actually invited, proves to readers that Nick had power over Gatsby, knowing his relation to Daisy. Also, thus making Nick feel significant and known to the host of these very well-known parties.
The scene in which Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy over, is another source of Gatsby's power.
"What day would suit you?"
"What day would suit you? he corrected me quickly.
"You're acting like a little boy" I broke out impatiently.
Wilson's power over the rich
Karl Marx stated that one day, the poor would overthrow the rich as they will realize how much power they have.
"Oh, I'll stay in the East, don't you worry," he said glancing at Daisy and then back at me, as if he were alert for something more"
"You live in West Egg," she remarked contemptuously"I know somebody there"
East:
"....where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close, in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself"
WEST/EAST EGG CONTINUED..
About half way between West Egg and New York the
motor-road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside
it for a quarter of a mile,
so as to shrink away from a certain
desolate area of land.
This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic
farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and
grotesque gardens where ashes take the forms of houses
and
chimneys
and
rising smoke
and
finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling
through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars
crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and
comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up
with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which
screens their obscure operations from your sight.
In the novel, this twist, or turn of events DOES happen:
Wilson (poor), comes to the realization that they yellow vehicle that killed his wife, was in fact Gatsby(rich), thus , at the end of the novel, he murders him.
Though both character die, Wilson conquers the battle and is a representative for the weaker individuals of the society because of his actions of standing up.
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