The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald writes about the distinctions between the social classes and status during the twentieth century. Fitzgerald's novel takes place in the 1920's after World War 1, which was a time of excess and wealth. The "roaring '20s" set a perfect stage for Fitzgerald to use setting to explain the differences between the three social classes in his book. Fitzgerald shows the contrasting features between the West and East Egg in New York. Fitzgerald describes Gatsby's house and the house of Tom and Daisy to show the difference between the social classes on either side of the bay. The protagonist of the story, Nick, describes Gatsby's house as, "The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard…with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby's mansion" (Fitzgerald 9). Gatsby lives on the West Egg of New York where those who are newly rich live. The "new money" generally have a trashy sense of taste, and have the tendency to flaunt their money. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby as the icon of "new money" because every weekend Gatsby flaunts his riches by throwing extravagant parties which all of New York attend. On the other hand, the East Egg or "old money" have a more classy taste compared to those of the West Egg. Fitzgerald elaborates on the aesthetic differences of "old money" and "new money" when he writes, "Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water…their house was more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay" (Fitzgerald 10). Fitzgerald’s description of the differenc... ... middle of paper ... ...rald continuously shows the distinction between the West/ East Egg and the valley of ashes through the use of setting and dialogue amongst the characters. Although both the West and East Egg have money, they are still different because one side is “new money” and the other is “old money”. This difference may seem minimal, but it contributed to Daisy’s decision to pick Tom over Gatsby. The differences between the social classes define the way the inhabitants of each class is treated and the decisions made by each member of that social class. Each social class is like a world on its own. Fitzgerald delineates class distinction when he writes “I grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures” (Fitzgerald 110). Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Simon & Schuster. New York: 1992.
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