It is a well-established notion that in his writings, F. Scott Fitzgerald was able to capture the spirit of the 1920's like few other authors. As a member of the Lost Generation, the group of writers who worked in the years following the First World War, Fitzgerald's novels and short stories are rife with the wealth, luxury, splendor, and decadence of the times. However, behind this analysis of the social order of America during the Roaring Twenties, lies a hidden criticism of capitalism as a corrupt and dying economic system that mirrors the values and ideas of Karl Marx and his Communist Manifesto. Consequently, a predominantly Communist theme that is common in much of Fitzgerald's work is the idea that capitalism transforms everything, and everybody, into a commercial commodity. Specifically, in The Great Gatsby, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, and Head and Shoulders, Fitzgerald displays how Daisy, Bernice, and Marcia are viewed by society as objects to be bought and sold, with their attractiveness as purchases depending largely on their presentation of themselves .
[...] In Great Gatsby,” Fitzgerald expresses his ideas about the transformation of women into commercial commodities through the character of Daisy Buchannon. Daisy is the most desirable object of the entire book, wanted by both Gatsby and Tom, but her most desirable feature is not her personality or her intelligence, but rather her voice: is invariably associated with the things that surround her, her car and her house particularly, and most of all her voice.” Each time Fitzgerald introduces Daisy, he makes a pointed reference to her voice, it's ability to excite and move any listener, and it is clear that everyone around her acknowledges that her attractiveness is due to her voice: Gatsby describes it as “full of money;” Nick speaks of it as a "deathless song." Furthermore, Daisy rarely anything, but instead, or “whispers,” always “compelling the listener forward for her breathless message.” Later descriptions of Daisy's voice, including her song at one of Gatsby's parties, a “husky, rhythmic whisper,” serve to further show that Daisy's voice is the overpowering feature that relates to her attractiveness and desirability, much in the same way that today's consumers value the sound quality of Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. [...]
[...] "Possessions in The Great Gatsby." Southern Review. Vol Issue 2Spring 2001 187- May 2006
[...] However, there is a stark contrast between the two: Marjorie is very popular among the boys of the community, whereas as Bernice is not. When described Bernice's shortcomings to her mother, Marjorie explains: I've even tried to drop her hints about clothes and things, and she's been furious She's sensitive enough to know she's not getting away with much, but I'll bet she consoles herself by thinking that she's very virtuous and that I'm too gay and fickle and will come to a bad end. She further complains that when Bernice talks to boys, she mentions how going to school in New York next or asks them “what kind of car they have and tells them the kind she has.” In short, boys are not attracted to Bernice because she lacks attractive features: she does not wear the right clothes, or style her hair in the right way, and she talks about school and cars. [...]
[...] As an active Communist, Fitzgerald looked down on capitalism, believing that it was responsible for turning human beings into commercial commodities, objects to be bought and sold, with their attractiveness as purchases depending largely on their presentation of themselves. In Great Gatsby,” “Bernice Bobs Her and “Head and Shoulders,” Fitzgerald elaborates on this idea and illustrates how the characters of Daisy, Marjorie, and Marcia, are seen in terms of their attractive features and not their personalities. Furthermore, because the values of capitalism are so ingrained in their minds, all three characters work to reinforce their position as commercial commodities. [...]
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