Free Great Gatsby Essays: East and West

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The Division between East and West in The Great Gatsby The division between East and West is a significant theme in The Great Gatsby. The author has projected the historical East/West division of the States on the division of class and society in the 20th century. The Mid-West, which represents the new territory of hope and the old pioneer spirit, corresponds to West Egg in New York. For Fitzgerald, there was a certain old-fashioned stability resting on the old, unchanging values and close relationships. Some of these values are: honesty, human respect, divinity, idealism, romanticism, faith, ambition, community, and other spiritual values which are all personified in Gatsby. The novel mirrors the East-West divide of the whole country in the division between West Egg and East Egg. Nick and Gatsby live on West Egg, which means that they have retained their closeness to western values. The Buchanans on the other hand have become Easterners, they represent the corruption of the East. The main characters, Daisy, Nick, Gatsby, and Tom are all from the Mid-west. While Tom and Daisy Buchanan live an East Egg, being attracted by its glamour, excitement and promise of success, Nick enjoys living on West Egg. He mentions the friendship between Mid-Westerners, who are brought together by their extremely long and cold winters (in contrast to the New York summers' heat). Nick's neighbor Gatsby is a wealthy person, who spends a lot of money giving parties for strangers only to meet Daisy, the dream of his life. He is seen as representing "new money" because he has no good education and no family background over several generations, he is self-made, invented by himself. For this reason, he is not accepted as being dignified enough to enter the exclusive "old money" upper class. Tom and Daisy are "old money", rich and from old established families living on East Egg, which the millionaires inhabit. The East symbolizes fashionable life, sophistication, the "modern society" and the land where anything can happen. This is the world of brutality, corruption, carelessness, materialism and failure of emotion. By moving to the East, the Buchanans lose contact with the deeper values. They are superficial, aimless, irresponsible, empty and lonely. They have no desires, their talks are meaningless and their spiritual values are forgotten or dumped. Another symbol of the East is the Centre of New York.
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