A clash of two complete opposite worlds is the only manner in which I could describe the difference between Chapters one and two of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”. In the first we find glamour and high class parties, the next a moral wasteland painted in a shade of grey were we find futile attempts at a better life. Looking over all the inappropriate choices is Doctor T.J. Eckleburg…or is it?
The narrator Nick Carraway kicks off the book by telling us a bit about his past and how he ended up in West Egg living next to the hero of the novel Jay Gatsby. Tom and Daisy are also introduced as well as their upper class lifestyle. The East Egg is aristocratic and slightly conservative. The Buchanan’s wealth falls under “old money” (inherited from solid and famous families) and their superior “get-togethers” like refined wining and dinning is both admired and envied by many. Not too far away in West Egg the “nouveau riche” (those who have recently made their fortunes) like Gatsby, are at play with lavish displays of wealth and deportment. Wealth, glamour, luxurious parties and everything that someone could think of the upper class, is highlighted in Chapter one yet we are made aware of some important flaws and that everything is not as perfect as it would seem.
In Chapter two we meet Tom’s lover Myrtle (a vital and sensuous “gold digger” but merely an object of desire for Tom) and her husband George Wilson a handsome ghost of a man. We start to see that the rich are merely interested in self-indulgence and don’t care whom it may affect or destroy in the process. The party which Nick, Tom and Myrtle attend emphasises the lack of morality and how a little money and a little taste of power can influence some people to behave stupidly. The valley of ashes is dirty, unpleasant, poor and lifeless and is the main idea of Chapter 2. It is a desolate place where the American Dream is dead and its ashes are scattered over the poor people living there, like George...
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