Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marks Off for Marxism

"You are what you own: a Marxist reading of the Great Gatsby" by Lois Tyson looks to put forward the idea that the entire book, instead of glorifying the capitalism it so glorifies, is actually an assault on that same capitalism. The idea that in the book " the American dream not only fails to fulfill its promisebut also contributes to the decay of personal values"(Tyson 69) can certainly be seen, as Gatsby and Tom Buchanan certainly lose their morality with the increase of their wealth. And the idea that Gatsby wants Daisy not for her use value, but for her sign-exchange value. And Tyson talks about how the only people not "well off" were George and Myrtle Wilson. Tyson calls it "The Great Gatsby's most obvious flaw"(Tyson 75). But overall, this theory fails to represent an idea that it IS actually a theory. The essay keeps mentioning parts of the novel that are what it calls "flaws", but it never explains how they are "flawed". Tyson also says that "Nick believes in Gatsby because he wants to believe that Gatsby's dream can come true for himself"(
Tyson 77), but Nick keeps talking about how he despises what Gatsby is in the novel. Tyson continues to talk, but most of it is just commenting on how much the novel actually puts down Capitalism. SO WHAT? All of the other theories actually tell you a so what, whereas Marxist doesn't.

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