Thursday, November 29, 2012

You are what you own response

            Lois Tyson's Marxist reading of the The Great Gatsby is a strikingly accurate depiction of how the characters represent the Marxist theory. Tom Buchanan and Daisy are the most obvious examples of commodification within the novel.Both characters world is driven by money; all people and objects are given a sign-exchange.
           Tom Buchanan starts by displaying commodifiction within his relationships with woman. For example, his desire for Daisy who gives him a high social rank. Tyson says, "his marriage to Daisy Fay was certainly and exchange of Daisy's youth, beauty, and social standing for Tom's money and power and the image of strength and stability they imparted to him." (pg 70). This expert shows Tom's want for social dominance and he uses the image of Daisy on his arm to acheive it. Next he displays commodification by having an attraction to woman of the lower class.Tyson comments, "he 'markets' his socioeconomic status where it will put him at the greatest advantage- among woman who are most desperate for and most easily awed by what he has to sell." (pg 70). Tom surrounds himself with woman like Myrtle Wilson to reinforce his self-worth; not only to others, but also to himself. He proves his high social status to himself by getting reactions from lower class people. Daisy is not so innocent herslef, she too displays clear signs of commodification within her personality.
         Daisy's most clear act of commodification is her refusal to love Gatsby after she finds out he is not wealthy or from old money. Tyson comments, " based on a commodifed view of life. She would never have become interested in him had she known that Gatsby was not from 'much the same strata as herself...and fully able to take care of her' and when she learns the truth during the confrontation scene in the hotel suite, her interest in him quickly fades." (pg 72) This quotation proves that Daisy is more interested in her social status and self wealth than her true love.This is apparent again when Daisy accepts the earrings from Tom Buchanan. Tyson says, "Daisy's acceptance of the pearls- and of the marriage to Tom they represent- is, of course, and act of commodification; she wanted Tom's sign-exchange value as much as he wanted hers." (pg 71). This expert also proves that sign-exchange value is more important to Daisy than most other things in her life. She is willing to marry a man who, in reality, she does not love, but has convinced herself to love him based on his sign-exchange value and how it will impact hers.
            Tyson's Marxist reading of The Great Gatsby is precise in the way she depicts each character to be influenced by the Marxist theory. Daisy and Tom Buchanan seem to be the most obvious two, however, Nick, Myrtle and George have all been greatly influenced by the Marxist theory as well.

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