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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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Man dreams of living the life of the elite social class and of the power and admiration inherent within. F. Scott Fitzgerald comes to terms with this American dream in The Great Gatsby, a novel about social life in the 1920’s. The social hierarchy of the times plays a very important role in this novel. Here Fitzgerald illustrates three specific social classes: old money, new money, and lower class, with old money and new money taking center stage. Gatsby himself personifies new money; he made himself into a rich man through shady dealings. Tom Buchanan, on the other hand, represents old money. He received everything he has on a silver platter. He earned nothing but his inheritance. At the time, it was extremely desirable to be old money, because people looked at new money as vulgar and uncivilized. By illustrating social-economic class differences, Fitzgerald depicts the illusion of the corrupted American dream. Old money, living in the guise of the American dream, denies the entrance of new money and the lower class into their social hierarchy. In the novel, Tom has a mistress who lives in the "valley of ashes," where most of the lower class citizens reside. Tom has been seeing her for years even though he married Daisy. No one objects to this because of his old money status. On page 19, Jordan Baker informs Nick of this scandal, "Why- Tom’s got some woman in New York." Jordan also informs Nick of the commonality and wide acceptance of this fact. Tom’s ...
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