Gatsby and Different Classes

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The critical essay that I found is from Cliff Notes titled “Social Stratification: The Great Gatsby as Social Commentary” by Kate Maurer. The essay discusses the theme that is one of the most developed in The Great Gatsby, being social stratification. Maurer explains that Fitzgerald carefully set up his novel into distinct social classes and he recognizes how each group has it’s own problems to deal with that comes with living during the 1920s. The groups that were created for the novel include old money, new money, and no money. Fitzgerald attacks the rich, which Maurer explains is obvious. He places the rich into two groups, being new money and old money. The Buchannans and Jordan Baker were born into wealth, making them the old money people, where as Gatsby and Gatsby’s partygoers worked for their money and were called the new money people. The characters that are considered no money include Nick Carraway and Myrtle Wilson. Although, Nick may have been born into wealth, he wasn’t nearly as wealthy as Gatsby or the Buchannans and Ms. Baker. Maurer states that Nick turns out to be a well principled man, where as Myrtle keeps trying to climb the social hierarchy to get what she wants by having an affair with Tom. All of the characters are struggling in some way or the other and Maurer goes into a little further detail explaining how Fitzgerald produced these characters to show the meaning of different social classes. I will back up her statements by using examples from the novel to better describe the characters and to make Maurer’s essay more accountable.
Tom and Daisy are both people who were clearly born into wealth. Considering Tom bought Daisy a “string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars” (76) the day before their wedding, says enough. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the 1920s is much more than it is now. This just goes to show how rich is. Not only is Tom rich, but his wife, Daisy also comes from a wealthy family in



Cited: Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print. Maurer, Kate. CliffsNotes on The Great Gatsby. 15 Jan 2013 <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/literature/id-119.html>.

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