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Materialism and Happiness in America "The Great Gatsby" (Twain) Era and Today
Materialism: attention to or emphasis on material objects, needs or considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual values.
The acquisition of material has been equated with happiness in this country. This is true today, and it was true during the 1920's, the setting of F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. That the majority of Americans believe that wealth and happiness are the same is a result of our market economy that encourages consumption and conditions us to think that we need material possessions to be happy. According to Andrew Bard Schmookler, 'Wealth and human fulfillment have become equated in the predominant ideology of liberal society, even though the great spiritual teachers of humanity have all taught otherwise.' (17)
What happened to Gatsby's generation? The 20's was an age of a consumption ethic that was needed to provide markets for the new commodities that streamed from the production lines (Cowley, 53). The same problem exists today ... our materialistic attitudes are a result of the freemarket economy in this country. …
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