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Quotes

Quote #1

Nothing would suit them but that he should go to St. Midas' School near Boston—Hades was too small to hold their darling and gifted son. (1.2)

Notice that the school is called St. Midas. Midas was a King who turned all that he touched into gold, and in a nation that worships wealth, he has been elevated to sainthood. This name brings together the two major themes of the story – wealth and religion, and suggests that this is a time and place where money has replaced God.

Quote #2

The Montana sunset lay between two mountains like a gigantic bruise from which dark arteries spread themselves over a poisoned sky. (2.1)

Wow – not exactly a chipper description, is it? Words like "bruise" and "poison" suggest that there is something wrong with this land, that it has been somehow hurt by the men who have harnessed its resources (like Washington).

Quote #3

If the car was any indication of what John would see, he was prepared to be astonished indeed. The simple piety prevalent in Hades has the earnest worship of and respect for riches as the first article of its creed—had John felt otherwise than radiantly humble before them, his parents would have turned away in horror at the blasphemy. (2.12)

Here is our clearest indication yet that wealth is the new religion in America. Be on the look out for more religious words – "priest," "blasphemy," "sin," "worship," "altar," and so forth. Fitzgerald isn't messing around with the moral indictment here.

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