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Probably, most people have lived situations which money played a fundamental role. Maybe an illness like cancer is an evident reason to need money. Also, there are basic needs of daily life, such as food, house, studies, locomotion, clothes, etc. Those needs require spending money to cover them to live appropriately. Most people in different parts of the world cannot cover these necessities, but do we think in them? Sometimes the only thing we think is in our wellbeing and to obtain it, we suppose that we need money.
Money role in the society nowadays involves more than basic necessities. Publicity is one of the factors that make us to believe that "while more we want, more we need", turning a not important product in something that seems to be vital for us like the usage of vanity to make us think that a magical face cream will disappear our wrinkles or to think that an expensive car could become us a popular person. Maybe money, in this way, represents more than a piece of paper which we can change for products or services; trade tells us that nothing in the world is free. To have a life full of luxury could be very comfortable for us. The possession of expensive goods like a big house, a latest model car or enough money to travel wherever we want, seems to be the greatest goal in the life of most people. But, what happen if the desire of possessions is increased? A possible consequence is to start to believe that money could realize our dreams.
A clear example about it is the book "the great Gatsby", where the main character was blind for the color of money; he thought that the solution to all his problems was money. He wanted to obtain feelings from other people by means money because these people around them considered that money could cover up their defects, sins and to make them the best kind of people.
Different from this book is "motorcycle diaries", a book that tells the story of two friends that had a trip through some countries of Latin America to exploring them. Here, the role of money for them was a means for food and a place to take a rest; just basic necessities. For people in poor conditions they met during their trip, unfairness.
Maybe there is no connection between both books, at first sight; however they represent the two heads of the coin. "The great Gatsby" shows to its reading public superficiality, greed, ambition, the idea that money can buy everything while "motorcycle diaries" displays an ideal of fairness, where money plays an opposite role. Here the common characteristic in both cases, money, let us to think in our current society. The values the people had force us to reflect about the corruption, crime, superficiality, etc. that exists between us. Sometimes these situations do not affect in a direct way, but there are lots of people that are suffering for these causes. It seems incredible to think that an object could cause these problems, but it is a reality that we would change.
Money role and social considerations
More precisely, the role of the money in the society implies superficially, an object for interchange, and inside an attractive instrument that can cause an alteration in our mind, emotions and wishes. Money involves a duality assigned by ourselves as human beings.
On the one hand, we have created the money as a nutrient energy that form part of our society and permits us to live suitably covering our basic necessities. Also, money is a tool for personal development; by means the reactions we have about money we can perceive the real value of it and the value of ourselves. When we see the power in us, we see the money as a necessary instrument, and we can use it appropriately and creatively knowing that the value resides inside us. Besides, the manner in which we talk about money represents the feelings we have about it.
Different is the other side of money, maybe considered as a negative side. Sometimes it is said that money is an element of corruption, but the true is that people attitude towards money corrupts them; money is just the cause of corruption, the rest depends on the mind of the people.
These days, some people have the tendency to avoid mentioning how much money they make because they think that they are going to worth the same what they earn. This belief could have born from the mistake in which it is said that success equals money; success is constructed by achievements, while money could be acquired by different means and some of them includes prizes as the most innocent facet, or honestly as hard working, and the lowest, corruption.
Two heads of the coin: "The great Gatsby" and "Motorcycle diaries"
Clearly, money could buy an island, mansions, cars, etc. but, could it buy one`s happiness? "The Great Gatsby" is the best answer to this question. The story takes place west and east egg in the 20`s, in years that seemed to be golden, East egg represented the place where the old aristocracy lived, wealthy and fashionable people. West egg also represented rich people "the newly rich", that different to east egg, these people were characterized for vulgarity, ostentation, lacking of taste and education. People believed that money was the base of social contacts, good taste and popularity.
Jay Gatsby (originally named James Gatz) is the protagonist of this novel. Gatsby was a person that fell in those appearances and wanted to obtain money to be part of those "beautiful people" and to get things that the money cannot buy, as feelings and other significant aspects of human being. Jay lived in west egg, so he symbolizes a new rich. He was the owner of a great wealth; He had a mansion, cars and every Saturday he throws ostentatious parties for everyone that would want to attend. The people who attended to his parties rumored about Gatsby`s wealth origin; most of them though that he was a crook, that his wealth came from crime.
The narrator of the story is a Gatsby`s friend, Nick Carraway a young man, neighbor of Gatsby. He studied in Yale and moved to west egg to learn about the bond business. During the development of the story, Nick helps Gatsby to take up again contact with Nick`s cousin Daisy. Daisy Buchanan was married with Tom Buchanan; both were a rich couple and belong to east egg. Years ago, Gatsby met Daisy, when she was single, and fell in love with her, but in that moment he was training to be an officer in Louisville. Daisy loved money; she was rich, sophisticated and a beautiful woman, but also she was bored, sardonic and ambitious, but Gatsby could not see that. Maybe that is the reason because Gatsby lied her about his background, telling her that he came from a wealthy family. Then Gatsby had to leave to fight in the war. Daisy decided to wait for him, but after she decided instead to get married with Tom Buchanan, who really came from a wealthy family.
During the whole story, money is a relevant topic; characters consider money as something that gives them more value and significance. In the case of Gatsby, he thought that money could be the key to win Daisy`s hearth. He did not worry about the means he would obtain money and become a wealthy man to win Daisy back. All the people that attended to his parties were interested in the luxury and attention, not in the host, because anybody was worry to meet him. His funeral was a demonstration about it, nobody attend, except two or three persons. Gatsby believed that his dreams could become in reality thanks to his fortune, but the only thing he got was loneliness.
The other head of the coin is represented by the book "motorcycle diaries". This story tells us about an adventure of two friends, one of them well-known, Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Ernesto recounts his story about Latin America journey he done with his friend, Alberto Granado. They started their trip in Argentina finishing in Venezuela. Ernesto was a student of medicine, while Alberto was a biochemist. Both traveled across Latin America riding "The Mighty one" with limited quantity of money in their pockets. They were cold and hungry, but the lack of money could not beat their dream to explore Latin America, and that strength was fundamental for the events they would live during their exploration. They visit countries, like Chile, here they visit Chuquicamata copper mine, the primary source of wealth of Chile where they could see injustices towards mine workers; the company was exploiting them. The mine workers had poor work conditions and their salary was very low, so it causes an impression for Ernesto and his friend generating a desire of justice. Also in Peru they visit an isolated leper colony. There Ernesto and Alberto could appreciate the conditions where leprosies live; those were not bad conditions superficially, but morally those people in first place where isolated from the rest and were treated as different. Indeed they were different because of their illness, but Ernesto and his friend prefer to create a bond of fraternity in which leprosies felt integrated as the rest of the people, because those were their rights.
In general the presence of the topic of money, in this book, involves something secondary. Ernesto and Alberto preferred to explore those countries and realize the situation where the workers and poor people live. They preferred to consider real values and to fight for others because they could see the unfairness that money cause in the world; the reality that not much people have a great fortune while the majority is hungry and homeless. They decide to fight against the selfishness and ambition of the powerful minority to give the people who need a good life quality and eliminating differences of rights. They learned that the simplicity of life, fraternity and unselfishness can bring more happiness than brings a wealthy life.
Comparison between both books
Comparing these two books we can see that there is something similar. Certainly, the tendency that people had in "The great Gatsby" about money was similar to the people who have the power in terms of money in "Motorcycle diaries", clearly noticed in the mining company of Chuquicamata; the aspect that money can do everything, even to have influence the life of other people.
Generally the differences exist in people character. In "The great Gatsby", people had not developed their character because they were influenced by the fashion of the moment; they corrupted their values to have a better life with commodities and lack of interest for the other people. Also some of them who did not own of a fortune believed that to dress elegant clothes or to act like a millionaire could be acceptable in that time. In other hand "Motorcycle Diaries" characters were the opposite. They wanted to change the world, they were worried for other people and their values were well established. The two aspects let us to think that whether money means corruption depends on the character of each person and the significance they want to give it.
These two cases appreciated in these two books in our current society, are more revealed. First of all, corruption even is a polemic topic and because of the media people is more informed about it. Society has being stole for ambitious and powerful people. Those people transfer money by indirect ways for other purposes like business. However still exists people that want to change this situation, but they have not he power and influence to make the world fair.
To avoid this problem we have to start to think that material development does not means a better society; many times is the opposite. People discus about money thinking that it could be an instrument of our happiness or to transform our dreams in reality, but the only thing that can help us to achieve our goals is opened our mind and to make an effort to improve ourselves; all the things accomplished with merit have more value. The example that our society could follow, is to recognize that each people have different lives. Some of them have born with the ability to manage lots of money and it was gives them the opportunity to work with money. This situation is different from ambition because some people, who are better in some disciplines, have the role to work with money and they use it for appropriate purposes.