November 13, 2012
In Louis Tyson’s Marxist reading of the Great Gatsby, she argues many points that I agree with, however I still have problems with the argument of the label of commodification that is used on Gatsby. In this argument, Louis claims, “…he commodifies his world just as they do (The Buchanans’). In fact, one might argue that he commodifies it more”. Daisy is said to be a symbol or idea, of Gatsby’s commodification. In the reading, Tyson says, “Possession of daisy would give Gatsby what he really wants: a permanent sign that he belongs to her socioeconomic class, to the same bright spotless airy carefree world of the very rich that daisy embodied for him when they first met.” This seems to be an over simplification of Gatsby’s feelings for Daisy because it seems not to take into account, that Gatsby loves Daisy and she is not just a “sign-exchange value”, as Tyson’s Marxist interpretation would imply. For example, we can see this through the many actions that Gatsby does through out the novel… “Gatsby occupies in his magnificently furnished mansion is his simple bedroom and during the only time we see him there his purpose is to show it to Daisy.” Undoubtedly Gatsby is caught up in the economic climb of his society, but if he were truly commodifying Daisy, he would not have taken the fall for Daisy when she hit Myrtle because there is no logical economic gain to be taken advantage of by going to prison. Regardless of the value of Marxist theory, it seems to be a cold and almost robotic way of looking at literature.