Social status is a theme explored in great depth in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". The author shows that someone who is born to a certain class can never be fully integrated into a different class. To be more specific, no matter how hard Gatsby tries, he cannot become a part of the upper classes, and although he dies a wealthy man, he has never truly gained acceptance, nor through the entire novel does his wealth protect him.
Two of the novel's main characters, Daisy and Tom, are members of one of America's aristocratic families. People of the Old Money are a tight-knit group; their connections with other rich and powerful families have been created in the past and maintained for a long time, so they possess a certain amount of grace, taste and social subtlety that other classes lack. These connections, and other factors, are what make this social class powerful, and therefore they are able to stay safe and comfortable behind their money and status. In the final chapters, Daisy commits an unpardonable crime by running Myrtle down while driving Gatsby's car. Myrtle dies, but Daisy, because of her money and status, escapes without accepting any responsibility.
Gatsby represents New Money. Such nouveau-riche has gained wealth in the post-war economic boom of the 20s, and in Gatsby's case, through illegal activities. However, even with the acquisition of immense wealth, Fitzgerald shows it is impossible for a person born into a lower class to move up the hierarchy. Many of these people are ostentatious and lack the social graces and taste of the Old Money class. This factor is obvious in Gatsby's monstrous mansion, his yellow Rolls Royce and his weekly parties. In fact, the whole of West Egg is described as 'vulgar' (Daisy), if seen through the eyes of the more dignified and reserved residents of East Egg. When the Buchannans attend one of Gatsby's parties, Daisy is appalled by West Egg, stating that it had "raw vigour that chafed under the old...
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