The Significance of Morality in a Dependent Relationship
An individual’s desire for freedom of independence will always trouble the balancing of close relationships because of the conflicting moralities and responsibilities each individual has. Morality is what an individual perceives as right or wrong depending on their own thoughts. An individual's power in the relationship reflect on their responsibility in the relationship because of the responsibilities they need to carry out. In Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road, the protagonist, the boy, is initially devoid of independence from the man, as the boy has no desire for it because of his responsibility to listen and follow, meaning his morality is what the father says is good or bad. However when the man leaves the thief to die, the son’s morality is challenged as the son’s top priority is for them to be the good guys, but the father’s morality is based on what will help them survive and anything that could threaten their survival is a threat. Ultimately, the boy and the man’s morality compete with each other, resulting in the boy distancing himself from his father and shows a lack of dependency on the man. The Boy demonstrates the idea that an individual’s desire for independence to fit their own morality that eventually leads to the relationship being torn apart because of one’s responsibility.
Initially, The Boy has no desire for independence, he has no sense of his own morality as he never really has been through a situation that puts his mind to rethink the good and the bad of his actions. “After a while [the boy] looks up. Are we still the good guys? he said. Yes, We're still the good guys.” (McCarthy 77). The quote above is the boy asking his father if they’re still the good guys after killing someone in the act of self defense rather than questioning himself on his own morality. The boy relies on his father’s judgement of what actions validate them as good guys or not rather than judging their actions against his own morality. The boy also takes the man’s words with no grain of salt as his responsibility in the relationship is to listen and follow currently. “Because we’re the good guys. Yes. And we’re carrying the fire. And we’re carrying the fire. Yes. Okay.” (129) The dialogue first starts off when the boy asks the man if they’re still the good guys, even when they left the people in the cannibal’s cellar where they’re treated as livestock. Even after witnessing first-hand of his father’s morality and his actions based on them, he still believes his father’s words of him saying they’re the good guys. With the lack of desire for independence from the boy as his morality is based on his father’s actions and words, their relationship still currently is independent on one another as there is no conflicting responsibilities. However, this once changes when the boy realizes their morality conflicts.
Although the boy always believes his father’s words and judgement, the boy starts second guessing him and his father’s morality and how he perceives themselves as good or evil based on their actions when his father strips the thief of everything and leaves him to die. Responsibility is a key factor of how one’s morality could be determined as the situation differs, The boy’s morality is one of an innocent naive boy who hasn’t fully comprehend the necessary evil a father has to go through to keep his family safe. “You’re not the one who has to worry about everything.” (259) This quote is when the father tries to justify himself when he leaves the thief to die, that his responsibility is one where he has to worry about the safety of both of them and to make sure they meet basic necessities to survive. The father has no need to worry for others as the food the thief takes is what will keep the boy alive, which in return is what also keeps the father alive. Due to the father and son having different responsibilities in this post-apocalyptic world, they also grew to have a different view on the world and defines morality differently. “Yes I am. I am the one.” (259) The son states to his father after getting into a conflict of morality, his father believes that he himself has to worry about everything while the son also believes that he has to worry about everything. Both individuals have differing perspectives as they have different responsibilities, the father is worried about the necessities of survival which defines his morality. The son’s worry of everything is the moral standards of his father as the boy’s responsibility and top priority is for them to be the good guys, not for them to survive. This causes their morals to conflict as the boy wants them to be good guys at all times while the father understands the necessary evil for them to survive in their modern time. Ultimately, the result of their morality and responsibility conflicting leads to the boy distancing himself and becoming more dependent.
The boy’s top priority and responsibility is to live and to make sure they’re the good guys while the father’s is to make sure they’re alive, and as a result, they have different beliefs in morality which causes the boy to yearn for independence and as a result starts distancing himself from his father. Due to the boy’s morality and priority of being the good guys, he starts distancing himself from his father as their moralities conflict because of the different responsibilities the two carries. “Yes. But in the stories we’re always helping people and we don’t help people.” (268) In this quote, the boy denies his father on his stories because his stories are fabricated to make them seem like the good guys yet they’ve never truly helped someone on the roads. The boy starts distancing himself away from his father as them being the good guys isn’t true anymore because of his father’s actions. “And I can go with you? Yes, you can. Okay then.” Initially, the plan was when the father dies, the boy will die as they’re each other’s reason for living, they were dependent on one another. Though, when the boy realizes how they’ve never really been the good guys, he decides to distance himself away from his father and become more dependent. This is proven when his father dies, he decides to keep on living without him, the boy doesn’t need the man anymore. A relationship that initially is one where each other are dependent on one another, ultimately changes to one where the boy isolates himself from the man because he wants the independence to make decisions based on his internal responsibility to be a good guy.
Ultimately, when an individual yearns for independence in a relationship that is dependent on one another, the relationship ceases to exist because of the difference in their morality that comes from the basis of their responsibility. When the son and the father were dependent on one another, their morality aligned as the son always listened and agreed with his father’s judgement. Overtime the boy starts realizing during the story’s climax, that their morality’s aren’t as aligned as he thought, causing the boy to distance himself from his father as the boy’s top priority is always to be the good guy in life, while his father’s was to protect the boy and ensure his survival, even through the necessary evil. The boy demonstrates that when an individual’s morality does not align with the other person in the relationship, the relationship will cease to exist as they have a different responsibility to carry out in life, causing the individual to distance themselves to independently carry out their own beliefs on what’s right or wrong. When an individual’s morality that is based on their responsibility, conflicts with other people, it results in a strain in the relationship that eventually leads to the relationship to cease from existing. 2019-11-21 05:31:35
By definition, wealth is the abundance of valuable possessions or money. The concept of being wealthy can mean a great deal of different things for different people. For some, wealth is all about prosperity, and living in a massive house, with the newest fashion, and having a plethora of currency to their name. For others, wealth is just having the sufficient means to support themselves, along with their family, and have enough money to support them through retirement. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, By F. Scott Fitzgerald, the theme of wealth is explored in several different fashions, and showcases the different philosophies and outlooks on life that separated the wealthy and impoverished in this era.
A period dubbed “The Jazz Age” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the 1920s were a time marked by modernism, hedonism, and the overall change in philosophy in Americans. As new music, literature, and art swept through the United States, Americans started to pursue just having a stable life less and less. The land of the working man was now the land of the pursuit of happiness and riches. This new outlook on life was evident throughout the entirety of The Great Gatsby. In the novel, there are two wealthy groups which are separated by a fairly large body of water- those who were born into a long lineage of wealth (east egg), and those who worked their way up to their riches (west egg). Gatsby, one of the main protagonists of the novel, is a member of this new money (west egg) group, and is said to have gained his fortune through bootlegging, amongst other illegal activity, with the fictional Meyer Wolfsheim. Born James Gatz, Gatsby grew up impoverished in rural North Dakota, and lived far from the glitz and glamour of those in Long Island. While working as a clam-digger on Lake Superior, Gatsby would meet millionaire Dan Cody, who offered him a job as his general assistant. Dan Cody was the epitome of wealth and lived a luxurious life, and was everything Gatsby wanted to be in life. Under Dan Cody, Gatsby learned to live as if he was a man of wealth himself. After the death of Dan Cody, Gatsby makes it his mission to become a wealthy man just like Cody, which he would indeed accomplish (though not through the most legal methods). This road from rags to riches by Gatsby is the epitome of the overall philosophy of Americans during the 1920s. According to an essay done on the 1920s by the Gale database, society chased the American Dream both sedulously, and at times, recklessly during this time. Gatsby is a prime example of a man in the 1920s who will stop at nothing to achieve wealth and the american dream, no matter how foolish it may seem at times.
As the manner in which the wealthy achieved their riches are separated by the East Egg and West Egg, their reasoning on what wealth truly means, are also separated by the East Egg and West Egg. In the East Egg, wealth is looked at as a materialistic aspect of society, or a measurement of their power; the more money you have to your name, gives you the authority to boss those with less than you around. This is displayed directly in the novel when the main protagonist, Nick Carraway, is describing Tom, a member of the East Egg, in very harsh fashion. Nick says, “His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked…” (Fitzgerald, 7). By using phrases such as, “fractiousness…” and, “gruff husky tenor” Nick is implying that the wealth of Tom gives him the right to tell the entire world how to behave, and how things should be done. Tom himself goes on to say, “ Now don’t think my opinion on these matters are final.. Just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you are.(Fitzgerald, 7)” Even though Tom begins the remark very genuine by implying he cares for the opinion of Nick, he then makes himself once again seem like the ruler of all by saying he is more of a man than Nick. However, in the West Egg, their wealth is frowned upon, and even though they are still wealthy individuals, they are looked at as less than those from East Egg, because they did not live their entire life as high-class wealthy individuals. This belief is highlighted when Tom is stating his disdain towards Gatsby for supposedly having an affair with his wife, Daisy. Tom says, "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out...Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they'll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.(Fitzgerald, 130)" By saying this, Tom is showing his belief that those who were not born into wealth are inferior, calling Gatsby a “Mr. Nobody from Nowhere”. Tom, along with other inhabitants of East Egg, believe that their wealth is worth more than their West Egg counterparts, because they come from a long line of wealthy individuals, thus making their riches more high-class. However, in retrospect, this belief by the East Egg residents is quite ironic, because the West Egg occupants worked hard for their money, and were not just handed their wealth on a silver platter.
While the East Egg and West Egg represents the class of elite wealth in the 1920s, The Valley of Ashes represents the social class who do not belong to either the East Egg or the West Egg, the impoverished. Nick Carraway first introduces the dumping of industrial ashes in the beginning of chapter two, calling it, “ A fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens… (Fitzgerald, 23)”. While the West Egg represents the birth of the American Dream, and Americans pursuing fame, riches, and doing whatever fills their hearts with joy, The Valley of Ashes represents the death of this same exact dream. While those in West Egg were able to complete the task at hand, and create their own destiny, their counterparts in The Valley of Ashes represent the social and moral decline as a result of the unrestrained pursuit of riches, as the wealthy fill themselves with whatever brings them pleasure. A perfect example of life in The Valley of Ashes is George Wilson. Nick describes George as, “... a blond, spiritless man…(Fitzgerald, 25)”,which highlights his weighed-down spirit, as a result of being tied to The Valley of Ashes. His uninhibited pursuit of the American Dream caused him to lose his morals, spirit, the most important person in his life, and ultimately, his life.
Wealth represents many different things for many different people in The Great Gatsby. For some, wealth is just a materialistic aspect of society, while for others, wealth is a measure of your social power, or a rank of your status. But one thing holds true to all characters of the novel, wealth is the main root of motivation for all people, from the social elite of East Egg, to the impoverished inhabitants of The Valley of Ashes. F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the fact that even though wealth can fix many of things, it can not bring happiness, nor can it aid an aching heart.
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