The Great Gatsby

what role do material objects play in this chapter, and what does this say about the major characters? Use textual evidence

Chapter 5 of The Great Gatsby

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The gross materialism of the East and West Egg areas explains the obsessive care that Gatsby takes in his reunion with Daisy. The afternoon is given over to an ostentatious display of wealth: he shows Daisy his extensive collection of British antiques and takes her on a tour of his wardrobe. Gatsby himself is dressed in gold and silver. His Gothic mansion is described as looking like the citadel of a feudal lord. Nearly everything in the house is imported from England (the scene in which Gatsby shows Daisy his stock of English shirts is one of the most famous in American literature). Fitzgerald implies that Gatsby is attempting to live the life of a European aristocrat in the New World of America. This, Fitzgerald suggests, is a misguided anachronism: America committed itself to progress and equality in abandoning the old aristocracy. To go back to such rigidly defined class distinctions would be retrograde and barbaric. This is reinforced by the fact that the major proponent of such ideas is Tom Buchanan, who is clearly a brute.