There are no equal opportunities because people are not equal from birth. Some are
born with a silver spoon in their mouth, others need to make great effort in order to achieve
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success. In order to succeed in life , one must be either very tough and enterprising , even without
regard for moral principles. Some from birth belonged to the upper class, and wealth and social
status were their natural enviroment. They already lived the American Dream. Others belonged to the
working class and in order to reach wealth they had to hard work and sometimes use illegal means, but it is
impossible to change their birth history and class affiliation. Fitzgerald in his novel The Great Gatsby
pointed at class inequality, respectively upper class already live the american dream, other try to reach
it, even if wealth can be earned then the lineage can not be procured because it is beyond one’s
If all men are born equal, there can be no top level to strive for, so that no such equality, neither in position nor in opportunity , exists and that a person’s opportunities is very much dependent on family background. The novel includes characters from several different socioeconomic classes . In Critical Theory Today (2006) ,Lois Tyson explains the differences in socioeconomic class by dividing people into the “haves” and the “have – not”:
From a Marxist perspective, differences in socioeconomic class divide people in ways that are much more significant than differences in religion, race, ethnicity, or gender . For the real battle lines are drawn, to put the matter simply, between the “haves” and the “have -not”(54).
In a Marxist perspective it is the control over the natural, economic and human resources of the world that divides people, the division is made between those who have and those who do not have.
The “haves” are those with the control over these things, the natural, economic and human resources, while the “have -nots” are everybody else.
Max Weber’s theory on social class. Much like Marx, Weber believed that class was related to wealth. However, Weber separated status and class in his theory, and status was not necessarily dependent on wealth. Regarding social class, Weber points out four social classes and they are: “a) the working class as a whole… b) the petty bourgeoisie c) the property less intelligentsia and specialists… d) the classes privileged through property and education” (Weber 305). Weber also writes : In the generational sequence, the rise of groups a) and b) into c) (technicians, white -collar workers) is relatively the easiest… In banks and corporations as well as in the higher ranks of the civil service, class c) members have a chance to move up into class d ) (Weber 305).
This means that, according to Weber, a person does not, necessarily, remain in the same social class forever as it is dependent on factors such as work, wealth and property. With Weber’s class definitions, the characters in the novel belong to different classes. The Buchanans and Jay Gatsby belong to the class privileged through property and education, Nick Carraway could be considered to be a member of the propertyless intelligentsia and the Wilsons are members of the working class.
On the subject of status , Weber claims: “Status may rest on a class position of a distinct or ambiguous kind. However, it is not solely determined by it: Money and entrepreneurial position are not in themselves status qualifications, although they may lead to them …” (Weber 306).
In comparison with social class, money does not guarantee a certain status. The lack of something is not an automatic disqualification of a status (Weber 306). Jordan Baker, from the novel,could be seen as an example of this as her economic situation is unknown but she still has a status that is comparable with the Buchanans. Weber continues on the matter : “The class position of an officer, a civil servant or a student may vary greatly according to their wealth and yet not lead to a different status since upbringing and education create a common style of life” (306). This exemplifies the fact that there are other factors involved in determining status compared with social class . Upbringing and education can contribute to a common style of life and values that brings people together.