Setting of the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1096 words) Published: March 24, 2001
The settings and backdrops in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are essential elements to the formation of the characters, symbolic imagery and the overall plot development. Fitzgerald uses East and West Egg communities to portray two separate worlds and two classes of people that are technically the same their status, but fundamentally different in their ideals. The physical geography of the settings is representative of the distance between classes of the East and West Eggers. Every setting connotes a different tone and enhances the imagery of story line. From the wealthy class of the "eggs", the desolate "valley of ashes", to the chaos of Manhattan. The imagery provided by Fitzgerald becomes an important tool in establishing the characters and their story. The separation between the east and the west shows the division between the people who are from each side. Generally, the West Coast represents a more laissez-faire attitude and is seen as the "new" land or world. Many people have dreamt of "going west" in search of a new life or vast treasures in the "wild" lands. Fitzgerald associates these qualities of the West with the characters Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, who live on the West Egg. On the other side of the spectrum lie Tom Buchanan, Daisy, and Jordan Baker. These characters are associated with a stereotypical East Coast mindset which is more strict, traditional and ancestrally based, as opposed to the "new" and "wild" West. They resent anything that is unfamiliar to them such as the West Eggers with "new money" and no traditions. The distance and mindset of the East and West are symbolically integrated into the East Egg and West Egg which are representative of the social class of which the characters come from. The physical settings establish the identities of the characters through their wealth and houses. The West Eggers represent the social class of the nouveau riche, people who have made fortunes recently in their generation...
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