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Immorality, Superiority, and

Greed: The Influence of


Excessive Wealth in the
1920s

By: Scott
Im m o ra li S u p e rio rit G re e d
ty y
Morality
• P: When people have lower morals,
their wealth can often times
increase.
• E: “Civilization’s going to pieces”,
broke out Tom violently. “I’ve
gotten to be a terrible pessimist
about things. Have you read ‘The
Rise of the Colored Empires’ by this
man God-dard?” (Fitzgerald 12)
Morality (cont.)
• P: (Wealthier people) believed that the
problem with charity was not that it was
never enough but, on the contrary, that
there was too much of it and that the poor
were becoming “pauperized” by
dependence on abundant charity.
(Valverde 19)
• I: Both examples from Fitzgerald’s text and
the Scholar’s text indicate that wealthier
people often times think differently than
poorer people. The wealthy seem to have
lower beliefs than those of the less
wealthy. Often times wealthy people in
the 1920’s were openly racist and only
looked out for themselves, while this was
seen less frequently among the poor.
Superiority
• P: As a person’s wealth increases,
their belief that they have a type of
superiority among other people
emerges.
• E: “And I know. I’ve been everywhere
and seen everything and done
everything.” Her eyes flashed
around her in a defiant way, rather
like Tom's and she laughed with
thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated-
God, I’m sophisticated!” (Fitzgerald
17)
Superiority (cont.)
P: I suggest that segregation, this is, clustering that
is involuntary, or better yet, hierarchial (i.e.,
derived from a ranking system that reflects
superiority based on wealth, status or power), is
generally objectionable and should be countered
by public policy measures. (Varady 15)
I: Fitzgerald’s quote shows that Daisy is assuming

that because she is wealthier than many of the


poorer people around her, that she is superior to
them by being more sophisticated. The scholar’s
quote shows that, at a time when one race was
mostly more wealthy than another, the more
wealthy of the two races felt that it was
automatically superior.
Greed
P: As a person becomes continually
more wealthy, they will still continue
to become even more greedy than
they previously were.
E: “I want to get one of those dogs,”

she said earnestly. “I want to get


one for the apartment. They’re nice
to have- a dog.” (Fitzgerald 27)
Greed (cont.)
P: Greed leads to crooked police officers,
crooked politicians, crooked world leaders,
and the endless list of corporate scandals
that daily appear in our media. (Burke,
Cooper 55)
I: Fitzgerald’s quote shows that even the

wealthiest of people can still be very greedy.


Mrs. Wilson, who mostly already has
everything she needs, still wants more
things that she doesn’t need because being
wealthy has made her greedy. While in
contrast, the Scholar’s quote shows that
greed is able to pull people into being
wealthy. Showing that the relationship
works both ways.

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