The all out flaunting of money first came about in the 1920’s. In this time period, when people had money, they found some extravagant way to show it. The characters of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, reflected this type of lifestyle. The three characters, Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby, each reveal the theme of money can’t buy happiness, through their own unique way. The Great Gatsby includes three very different characters that all reveal a common theme.
At first, Gatsby seems to be a sophisticated, and intelligent war veteran. However, once one gets past the surface, he comes to find out that Gatsby is frantically hanging onto the past. He reluctantly reveals the truth about events in his past when directly asked about them. His obsession with Daisy almost borders on insanity. However, he made his money work for him by impressing Daisy with his home. Gatsby thought that all of his material possessions would overwhelm Daisy. Still, Gatsby’s personality won over most of the people he encountered. He was an overall charming, and charismatic character that, in the end, proves that money can’t buy happiness.
Throughout most of the book, Tom was a self-centered, materialistic person. Tom thought that Daisy was so in love with his money, that he could have an affair, and it not ruin his marriage. He thought of Daisy as just another one of his shallow, money driven possessions. Tom did, however, show some compassion, when he comforted George after his wife, and Tom’s mistress, was killed. Throughout the novel, Tom blatantly showed his shallow personality through his money-centered actions.
At first glance, Daisy appears to be the most innocent of all the characters, but it is quickly learned that she too is immersed into money. Her extremely shallow personality was very evident when she told Gatsby “rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” Daisy’s words triggered something in Gatsby’s mind, and he realized that money really does matter in relationships. Daisy caused a drastic change in Gatsby’s personality. She thought that having a relationship with a poor man, would soil her reputation. The situation that Daisy found herself in, could have been prevented, if love mattered more to her than money.
Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom represent everything that love isn’t meant to be. They are the ideal example of what life what like in the 1920’s, money, alcohol, and living in the moment. Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom made evident the importance of these characteristics in their time period. Nonetheless, all of the events that took place in the story fall back on one common, repetitive theme, that realistically, money can’t buy happiness.