Imagine a World without Morals

Topics: Materialism

Imagine a world without morals, a lawless world, driven by narcissism, money, and popularity. The only goal is to have each of their own ungodly desires to be filled. Many will try to obtain these desires even at the price of others, without regard for anyone else’s safety, or quality of life, except their own. This is the world that is depicted by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in The Great Gatsby, and sadly, is not too far off from current society today.

The novel is set in the 1920s, when American society peaks, with a new sense of culture and a booming economy. While the 18th amendment went into effect, the prohibition of alcohol made many rich through bootlegging.

The Great Gatsby uses the character’s wealth to demonstrate the prioritization of materialism, and social status, which ultimately leads to a declining sense of morality in society. The role of money is the main motivation for this idea of materialism to especially prevail among the high class, creating a ripple effect across the rest of the nation.

A further sense of lethargy is created around Tom and Daisy, “They spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unresentfully wherever people played polo and were rich together” (pg.17). The couple is using vast amounts of money for no particular purpose except to entertain themselves, displaying their lack of purpose in life. Materialism is so prevalent in their lives that they see no other ways to find peace, besides through grand trips and luxuries.

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The idea of using time wisely is foreign to Tom and Daisy, instead, they would prefer to leisure around, hoping they would feel better about themselves. However, their lifestyle is reflected all across society, lacking a solid work ethic but strongly holding a feeling of entitlement. Even Gatsby, finds himself bragging about his riches through his possessions, “I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall” (pg.59).

Gatsby started as a man who simply wanted a girl, one girl, in particular, Daisy, but to get her he had to become rich, and he found himself too engulfed in his own wealth to even look at reality instead of the perfect life he dreamed of with her. The pursuit of money in the first place was what made Gatsby throw away his own moral compass, using any means possible to obtain that money, even deals with the mob. In the end, Jay was not able to comprehend that wealth is not going to be enough to win over Daisy. On the other hand, Jay is just as wealthy as Tom but he uses a more meticulous way to flaunt his fortune. Daisy seems to hide her true sadness, “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon,” cried Daisy, “and the day after that, and the next thirty years?” (pg.74). She cannot find her own identity in materialism and deep in her heart, she feels the pain of not having her own purpose for life, which is still masked by all of the luxuries around her. Materialism is empty, and she knows, but still continues to indulge in it for the sake of convenience. Consequently, materialism is the foundation for the desire of being socially accepted and thriving to be in a position of higher status.

The top of the social pyramid is where everyone wants to be, however, people are willing to disregard their values and ethics to get there. There is more to being part of high class then being smart with school subjects as seen here, ‘An Oxford man!’ He was incredulous. ‘Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit’ (pg.132). Gatsby may have gone to Oxford, however, they don’t teach how to act and dress in high society. Those traits are learned through growing up in the “high life” or working your way up to it. Unlike Gatsby who cheated his way to being prosperous through illegal means. This is another reason for why Daisy chose Tom over Gatsby, He just wasn’t as fit for being apart of the high class when it came to social situations. While Daisy and Tom may be rich, ‘They’re a rotten crowd, I shouted across the lawn. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together’ (pg.45). They lack any true value as decent human beings, they have no respect for anyone, no moral compass, and no empathy. They are extremely self-centered and even don’t have the knowledge of basic right from wrong. “I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth” (pg.3). Nick points out that some people can be born with money, but on the other hand, people can be born being more honest, hard-working, and generous than the higher class. Overall, the novel points to wealth and social status as the main culprits for creating a society of selfish, immoral people.

In conclusion, the example set by the upper-class displays to society that the pursuit of these empty pleasures, laziness, and vain behaviors are not only condoned but encouraged. Nick and Daisy can be seen progressively losing all of their own morals while Nick learns even more for himself, from their horrible mistakes. The wickedness portrayed in The Great Gatsby can still be seen a lot in our world today, but it is still possible to make this world better, by valuing relationships, instead of materialism.

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Imagine a World without Morals. (2022, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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