The Great Gatsbyquestions
“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars”. This quote said by Garrison Keillor, metaphorically exemplifies the true meaning of hollowness and shallowness. Hollowness and shallowness were a major part of people’s characteristics in the 1920’s ‘easy money’ era because of the great economic boom. During this era, people earned their money by corruption with smuggling alcohol during prohibition. In addition, people earned their money by people unknowingly investing in major stocks. A few people earned their money with hard work; it was mostly made easily for them.
Throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the shallowness and hollowness of the upper class is persistently shown. Hollowness and shallowness of the upper class are shown in The Great Gatsby through Tom’s disrespect and segregation for people in the lower class; Daisy’s love and addiction towards ‘gold’ and money; and Tom and Daisy’s lack of respect for their morals by cheating on each other which leads to the tragic downfall of Jay Gatsby. Shallowness and hollowness of the upper class is shown in The Great Gatsby by Tom’s disrespect and segregation of people in the lower class.
Tom Buchanan is characterized as a dominant white male who is the highest class of society; however, he disrespects people who are not in his class abhorrently. Tom treats George very poorly because he is from the isolated “Valley of Ashes”. Tom treats people that are in the lower class with racism and disrespect. In addition; he makes people in the lower class sound ‘unworthy’ of his time or presence.
‘Civilization going to pieces,’ broke out Tom violently ‘I’ve got gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empire by this man Goddard?? ’ ‘Why,no,” I answered, rather surprised by his tone. “ Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody outa read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be- will be utterly submerged; Its all scientific stuff its been proven” (Fitzgerald, p. 14) This quote demonstrates the shallowness of Tom and his disrespect towards other races and people in the lower class. Shallowness and hollowness of the upper class is shown in The Great Gatsby by Daisy’s love and addiction for wealth and money.
Many people may look at Daisy and call her a ‘fool’ for her addiction to money. Eventually this not only corrupts her in the murder of Myrtle; however, her shallowness leads to the death of Jay Gatsby because of the carelessness of Daisy; which allowed Gatsby to take the blame of the death of Myrtle. Daisy represents the carelessness of most women in the Upper Class for her addiction to wealth and status.
Daisy is characterized as ‘the smell of money’; therefore, it is obvious that Daisy loves Tom for his money rather than his personality. I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool,” (Fitzgerald, p23). This quote exemplifies the shallowness and hollowness of the woman in the novel. Daisy describes her daughter to Nick and Jordan as a girl who will be like her because she is in love and is manipulated into love with the idea of money. “They’re such beautiful shirts’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such-such beautiful shirts before” (Fitzgerald, p 89).
This quotes further more proves the shallowness and hollowness of Daisy because she is in love with the belongings of Jay Gatsby rather than his actual personality. Daisy obviously values the belongings of Jay Gatsby rather than the effort that he is to try to impress her. This shows shallowness by Daisy because it proves her love or addiction to wealth and money. Shallowness and hollowness is further more shown in The Great Gatsby by the lack of respect of Tom and Daisy have on themselves which eventually leads to the death of not only George; in addition, Jay Gatsby.
The shallowness and hollowness of the upper class is perhaps the main reason of the tragic death of Jay Gatsby. Tom cheats on Daisy; and Daisy cheats on Tom; therefore, they have no respect for each other, for themselves and their family; therefore they are careless and hollow. The anger that the affair and Tom brought to George Wilson allowed him to snap and murder Jay Gatsby. The shallowness of the upper class with the cheating, affairs and lying eventually lead George to murder Jay Gatsby.
In addition, Tom’s respect of George with the poor treatment allowed Gatsby to be murdered. God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You can fool me, but you can’t fool God! ” (Fitzgerald, 150-152). This quote exemplifies the innocence of people in the lower class like George Wilson and it also shows the shallowness of the people in upper class such as Tom, and Daisy. Shallowness and hollowness are shown through out the novel The Great Gatsby by Tom’s disrespect towards people in the lower class, the shallowness of Daisy and her addiction for money, and the lack of self-respect for the upper class people like Daisy and Tom.
Shallowness is perhaps the main characterization of the characters whom is rich in this novel. Shallowness and hollowness eventually leads to corruption with the death of Jay Gatsby. In addition, all female characters in the novel are shallow because they are manipulated by the love of money. People might argue the reason for shallowness and hollowness by people in the upper class in general is money. Remember though, like in the novel The Great Gatsby “What goes up, must come down,”.