Wealth in The Great Gatsby and Howard’s End

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
Examines the treatment of wealth and identity in E.M. Forster’s `Howards End` and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.

This paper explains how Forster, in his work “Howards End”, writes of the power of wealth with genuine credibility, using it to build an image of England and British society. The paper then analyzes the means by which F. Scott Fitzgerald deconstructs the alleged ‘perfection’ of power in “The Great Gatsby”, and shows how a simple human virtue exposes the truth of a false and fragmented society. The paper highlights how whilst it is the men who acquire the wealth, it is those same men who demonstrate an acute inability to deal with the emotion of true love. The paper also notes that Forster treats the power of wealth with caution, Fitzgerald with contempt.
This story deals with gentlefolk, or with those who are obliged to pretend that they are gentlefolk. Mr Bast is obliged to pretend. He is a man who is desperate to self-educate, to learn the language of the rich in order to enter their world : He would never follow them, not if he read for ten hours a day. Some are born cultured. Forster portrays him as a tragically disillusioned person, who mistakenly believes that as a result of befriending the wealthy, he can experience life on a higher level : He was itching to talk about books and make the most of his romantic hour. Wealth, to his mind, equates to luxury. And because for Mr Bast it is simply a dream, he accordingly romanticises his aspiration. This fruitless yearning suggests that wisdom is an automatic product of wealth; that it guarantees completion of soul. Forster uses Mr Bast as a tool by which to reveal the legitimacy of this belief.

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