The Blur of a Severed Merit

By: Tuulia Koponen

A Dangerous Plague and a Dangerous Reward

A dream is a beautiful manifestation humans have an innate impulse to pursue. Their dreams come in the form of some fortune they so dearly desire whether it be a person, position, money, or understanding.


Along the journey, however, difficulties and setbacks are common roadblocks uneasy to venture past. And it is common to get upset, even furious, as they keep popping up and disallow any procession forward. And then a dangerous and devilish plague sweeps in and takes control of the journey.


This plague destroys the good character qualities possessed thus far into the journey and generates devilish character qualities that allow the journey to progress along nicely with little to no difficulties. And then the time comes when the pursuit is complete. The dream has been achieved.


But, instead of the rewarding feeling that comes from having accomplished something, there is a rather hollow feeling. A feeling of bitterness and melancholy. A feeling that the dream that has been accomplished is undeserved. The blur of a severed merit.

The Menacing Goal that is Money

Daisy Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and the United States from Gordon Gecco's "Greed is Good", acquired the same manifestation, or dream, to pursue: money, or monetary fortune. In their pursuits, Buchanan encountered the setback of falling in love with a less than wealthy man when she met him, Jay Gatsby, while the United States faced the setback of the stockholders of major corporations appearing to have ownership of the corporations and not the managements of them.


Detaching herself from the man that clearly adored her as he "looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at some time" (Fitzgerald, 75), Buchanan "married Tom Buchanan of Chicago, with more pomp and circumstance than Lousivlle ever knew before" (Fitzgerald, 75), as the United States allowed its stockholders to be "royally screwed over by these bureaucrats with their estate places, hunting and fishing trips, their corporate jets, and their golden parachutes" (Greed is Good). In the end, both Buchanan and the United States fulfilled their dreams with Buchanan earning the prosperous lifestyle she longed for with riches galore, as the United States earned its honor of being deemed the second great economic power in the world.


However, then came the bitter and melancholy feeling of not deserving this great fortune. Buchanan came across a wealthy Gatsby five years later and realized just what she was missing. but was unwilling to leave her already frivolous, wealthy life behind just as the United States became to be undeserving of being referred to as the second great power when its trade deficit and fiscal deficit reached agonizing proportions.


Both Buchanan's and the United States' merits were severed in the process of achieving their dreams and so came to be the blur of severed merits-when it is unclear and fuzzy as to whether they deserve to have achieved their monetary fortunes for their dreams cost their good calibers, or merits, and severed them in the end.

The Alarming Crave for Power

Banks in the film Inside Job, The United States in Wall Street Journal's "Capitalism Saved The Miners", and Barbara Ehrenreich in her essay "Serving in Florida", all craved to pursue that alarming aspiration, or dream, that is power. Banks yearned to merge together into one massive dominance of power, as the United States aspired to become a prosperous power in the world. Likewise, Ehrenreich longed for the power of understanding how to live a low-wage life living paycheck-to-paycheck.


The setback banks faced in their pursuit was the possibility of "making risky investments with their clients' life savings in the 1980s" (inside Job), as the United States encountered the possibility of putting "'blind faith in the market'" (Henninger, 9). Ehrenreich faced the setback of going "from being a consumer, thoughtlessly throwing money around in exchange for groceries and movies and gas, to being a worker in the very same place" (Ehrenreich, 3). However, banks took the risk of putting their clients' life savings in danger for the dream to emerge and become a dominant economic power for it was too great to pass up just as the United States decided to expect the country to somehow grow and prosper by putting its blind faith in the market for there seemed to be no other option. Likewise, Ehrenreich created an alternate persona in which she never made it through college so she could be unidentifiable during her time as a low-wage worker.


After the dream had been pursued, again, came that woeful and bitter feeling of not deserving having accomplished their dreams. Banks came to be at the verge of financial catastrophe as their clients' life savings were lost for good, the United States developed a less-than-great economic model, and Ehrenreich began to understand low wage life and developed a slight fear of it having scored a job as a waitress at a restaurant in a nearby hotel.


Once again the merits of the banks, the United States, and Ehrenreich were severed and brought about an unclear and fuzzy wonderment as to whether the power they received was worth costing their good calibers, or good merits, in the end.

Works Cited

1. "American Rhetoric: Movie Speech: Wall Street - Gordon Gekko Addresses Teldar Shareholders - Greed Is Good." American Rhetoric: Movie Speech: Wall Street - Gordon Gekko Addresses Teldar Shareholders - Greed Is Good. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.

2. Ehrenreich, Barbara. "Serving in Florida." Barbara Ehrenreich - Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.

3. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. Print.

4. Henninger, Daniel. "Capitalism Saved the Miners." The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 3 Jan. 2014.

5. Inside Job. Dir. Charles H. Fergusson. Perf. Matt Damon. 2010. DVD