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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Gatsby: Achieving Status through Conspicuous Consumption

The presenter examines The Great Gatsby using the context of Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. Jay Gatsby goes about achieving status the same way in which he sets out achieving Daisy, through conspicuous consumption and pecuniary emulation, and in the end Daisy simply becomes another object of Gatsby's consumption. The presenter will attempt to examine the life of the main characters using Veblen's ideas of pecuniary emulation and conspicuous consumption. Jay Gatsby devoted his life to a purpose, to achieving a level of status reflective of pecuniary emulation involving conspicuous consumption. Gatsby is always striving for more and he imagined that if he could possess Daisy, who he believed to be of high value, all his dreams of status and prestige would be realized and he would be content with his lot. Unfortunately, Gatsby strove too high and he fell before he reached the summit.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Taylor Rosekrans (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: English
Location: 218 Hartwell
Time: 1:30 pm Session III