COMMODIFICATION AND CLASS DISTINCTION IN THE GREAT GATSBY
MUHTEŞEM GATSBY’DE METALAŞTIRMA VE SINIF AYRIMI

Author : Aytemis DEPCİ
Number of pages : 207-219

Abstract

In the present study Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatbsy was examined focusing on the destruction of the American Dream and the consumerism of the 1920's in the United States. The moral emptiness and hypocrisy of this materialistic society was scrutinized while considering the author’s life and era’s social condition’s which are coherent with the novel itself. The Great Gatsby critiques the Jazz Age, an age of dramatic social and political change which brings along economic prosperity, the rise of cities, changes in class structure, advancing technology, and a shaking up of social mores and cultural conventions. One of the principle theme of the novel is the class distinction between the bourgeois and the aristocracy. The novel focuses on the social life at the time and the determinants of social status, how material wealth is achieved. The commodities and their exchange value reveals the social status of its consumer which is another important feature of the novel. Fitzgerald criticizes the effect of capitalist ideology through its representation of commodification. Fitzgerald revealed the misconception of money equalls happiness which led consumerism and presents the corruption of capitalist and materialist society exhibiting the novel’s protagonist - Gatsby’s rise to immense wealth and his destruction in the end. Gatsby became a victim of the social apparatus of bourgeois system in Althusser’s terms who mistakes fantasy for reality because of the illusion created by the capitalist ideology. This paper explores social discrimination, unequality and moral decay in the era which Fizgerald displays. Money creates an artificial world, an illusion for Gatsby which he thinks he can exchange everything in return and he experiences an alienation among his possessions which coincides with Marx’s thoughts regarding money’s alienating power over human.

Keywords

Commodification, Class Distinction, Consumerism, American Dream, Capitalism

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