Spending Too Much and The Great Gatsby

I went a bit crazy at the shops yesterday. I even spent £19 on a conditioner (does my hair really deserve that?) The art shop couldn’t accept my card if the amount was under £5, so I circled around the shop again looking for something enticing. When I came back with a fifteen-pound notebook the cashier looked rather… surprised. “Oh… right” I think was the answer.

To be honest, I needed a treat or two. Everything I bought (I told myself) I needed. However, it got me thinking about Gatsby, and how meaningless possessions are shown to be by F. Scott Fitzgerald. When Owl Eyes exclaims that there are “real books” in Gatsby’s library, he is surprised that anything real exists in his superficial life of parties and possessions. Whether Gatsby reads these books is a different question – he is a man who can afford to decorate his house/palace with the real thing. Daisy too is buried deeply under wealth:

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the think folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.”

Daisy doesn’t seem to understand her feelings towards Gatsby, and consequently tries to explain it through wealth. Alternatively, we can just see her as a character spellbound by the wealth in front of her, mistaking it for love. I adore this novel, like so many others, as there is so much you can understand from it.

I guess the message for today is not to get too carried away. Live simply, and you’ll be alright. Pay attention to the good things in life: friends, family and memories. I do enjoy having the things I own, especially my books, but I aim to not let them consume me.

It's good to meet you! I started Tolstoy Therapy back in 2012 to share my healing journey through anxiety and PTSD with books. I also climb mountains, go on solo adventures, and write over at livewildly.co.

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