A Contrast of Two Settings in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Society during the 19205 had glorified the state of extreme wealth so much that it conceals the flaws and disappointing moments of possessing such great wealth. F. Scott Fitzgerald author of the novel The Great Gatsby was a highly decorated author known for his modernistic writings. The Great Gatsby was written during the 19205 and exposed the lavish and extravagant lifestyles of the rich during the Roaring Twenties This essay will discuss the great differences of the two main settings; West Egg and East Egg, West Egg was the residential setting where Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway inhabited and on the other side of the bay was East Egg where Tom and Daisy Buchanan resided, While both Eggs were decorated with its ostentatious mansions and housed the wealthy and affluent people of New York‘s society, a physical and symbolic barrier coexists between East Egg and West Egg.

Readers of the novel of The Great Gatsby will first notice the physical and/or visual differences of the two settings of East Egg and West Egg in the first three chapters. East and West Egg both house the rich and prominent of New York, but the way East and West Egg are decorated with homes provide a small glimpse into the much deeper difference between the Eggs. Likewise the way Fitzgerald characterizes the mansion of Gatsby’s and the Buchanan’s gives off the physical differences of West Egg and East Egg since the Buchanan’s symbolically represent East Egg while Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby represent West Egg: The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard — it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, 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.

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Or, rather, as I didn’t know Mr. Gatsby, it was a mansion inhabited by a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so i had a View of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires i all for eighty dollars a month.(Fitzgerald 5) This excerpt from the novel of The Great Gatsby alludes the idea of how West Egg does not have any building regulation since Gatsby’s mansion is so ostentatious and adorned with all these materialistic features while next door where Nick lives, is a small house, which Nick considers an “eyesore”r This relates back to the thesis due to how West Egg is adorned with a vast variety of mansions and homes which is greatly different to how East egg is adorned. Contrary to West Egg, East Egg is where the mansion of the Buchanan’s locate upon The setting of East Egg is very conformed where all the mansions have large lawns and share the same architectural design ”Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening 1 drove over there to have dinner with the Buchanan [in].

Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens — finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoonm”. Nick Carraway leaves West Egg that evening to visit Daisy his cousin and her husband, Tom Buchanan, in East Eggr During his visit he notices how East Egg is vastly different from West Egg with how all the mansions are similar and the lawns are very well kept.

The following contribute to the topic/ thesis because of how the excerpt opens the image of how East Egg is so different from West Egg while both Eggs are the setting for the same type of wealthy and affluent people The Eggs being decorated by mansions did not only show the physical attribution to the differences in both Eggs, but the social events such as the dinner party at the Buchanan’s mansion and Gatsby‘s weekend ostentatious parties also provided a contrast between the Eggst “At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another. The following excerpt from the novel provides a glimpse into the great extravagance Jay Gatsby’s parties would go He would have these parties where no one was cordially invited except for Nick in this case This shows a great difference to the Buchanan’s dinner party over in East Egg.

The party over at the Buchanan‘s were very formal had a small number of guest which consisted of the Buchanans themselves, Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway. The excerpt also provides a glimpse into how careless and reckless the wealthy were, which would allude to the recklessness and carelessness of Daisy and Tom Buchanan in the following chapters. The different ways a party is celebrated in each Egg symbolically represent the great societal difference of each Egg, which refrains back to the thesis sentence, With both Eggs housing the rich and prominent of New York’s society, the physical attribution of each Eggs exposes the great difference between them and the invisible barrier that divides themi Moving on from the physical differences of East Egg and West Egg is how the actions of the residents of East Egg and West Egg contrast from one another.

To proceed, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby‘s symbolically represent West Egg while Daisy and Tom Buchanan represent East Eggt Each and every action of the characters reflect upon where they live Forward on after the examination of the physical differences of East Egg and West Egg, the characteristics of each resident will give off the social difference of the Eggs. “The mansion, however, is much more than a lure for Gatsby’s long lost love; it is a symbol of the man himself and his dream of materialism as a vehicle to success both literally and romantically” (Telgan). The following quote extends the meaning of how West Eggers have a defined goal to why they would work so hard in order to obtain the large amount of money, Due to how West Eggers have to work for their money they would be labeled as ”New Money”. Another piece of evidence that would show the difference between the two Eggs is the following Nick Carraway finishes his conversation with Jordan Baker and learns about Daisy’s and Gatsby‘s past.

As Nick takes a taxi home he notices Jay Gatsby outside looking at Gatsby’s mansiont Gatsby invites Nick to go to the city which he rejects and Gatsby offers another place to go, Coney Island. Nick also rejects his offer and tells Gatsby that he will call Daisy over for tea with him and Gatsbyt Gatsby is in awe by Nick’s action and shifts the conversation to Nick’s bond business. Nick kindly rejects Gatsby‘s offer for help in the bond business and says that he is just doing a favor for Gatsby and expect nothing in return (Fitzgerald, 81-83) The following paraphrased quote shows how West Eggers interact with people. Nick will invite Daisy over for tea and in response Gatsby is willing to help Nick out on his bond business which Nick rejects and explains that he is doing a favor, This shows a great difference between the two Eggs because of how West Eggers do not want to have any hatred against them.

In the novel Fitzgerald was able to include the importance of how residents of West Egg obtained their money compared to how East Eggers obtained their wealth, Furthermore West Egg inhabitants are considered “New Money,” New Money is a termed used to describe someone who rose to prosperity while coming from a non lavish childhood differing from the term “Old Money”, “The West Egg residences are more derivative and imitative, representative of the nouveau riche, affluent new-comers not yet accepted into the highest echelons of wealth.” (Telgan). This sentence explains how West Eggers are the newly rich of society and are trying to fit in by “imitating” the lifestyles of East Eggers, yet they are not accepted by the society of “Old Money.” The following quote provides a framework for the distinct difference of East Egg and West Egg societal representation However East Egg inhabitants are considered “Old Money” Old Money is used to term people who inherit their wealth from their predecessors, They are considered the epitome of class and elegance due to their childhood ”The two Eggs also represent the larger framework of an East symbolic of European antiquity, old money, and corruption, and a West symbolic of independence, new money, and the pioneering spirit” (Telgen).

Telgen provides a framework of East Egg to whoever reading her article by giving a brief list of adjectives to describe each Eggt East Egg symbolically represent ”Old Money” and considered it European antiquity however it also has a negative connotation for being corrupt Due to Telgen readers will notice the wide societal gap of East Egg and West Egg “It was all very careless and confused They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

Gatsby has died and Daisy never visited Gatsby after his death, time passes and Tom meets Nick on the streets of New York. The Buchanan by this time have moved away from East Egg. Nick sees the Buchanans, who symbolically represent East Egg, as careless people who will cause so much damage upon people and once the damage is done they will go and hide using their wealth. East Egg is represented as a setting full of recklessness and arrogance. The way East Egg society differs from West Egg society is the major barrier for the two Eggs. With West Egg and East Egg housing the affluent of society, the symbolical and physical differences between the two Eggs brings out their major differences.The physical barrier of the bay separates the two Eggs however the social barrier of new money and old money is a much more impactful barrier separating the two eggs.

While the setting of both Eggs is affluent and extravagant, the way each Egg is physically decorated by its’ mansions provide a glimpse into one of the great differences between East and West Egg. In today’s world the differences in old money and new money is no longer a major concern but the difference that concerns today’s world is the major difference between society’s top one percent and the large population of people throughout the world who live below the poverty line West Egg and East Egg play an important role in Fitzgerald’s book. The Great Gatsby due to the symbolic meanings they are which is placed upon the entire novel.

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A Contrast of Two Settings in The Great Gatsby, a Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. (2023, Apr 17). Retrieved from


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