The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, near New York City, the novel depicts first-person narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.
The novel was inspired by a youthful romance Fitzgerald had with socialite Ginevra King, and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island’s North Shore in 1922. Following a move to the French Riviera, Fitzgerald completed a rough draft of the novel in 1924. He submitted it to editor Maxwell Perkins, who persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. After making revisions, Fitzgerald was satisfied with the text, but remained ambivalent about the book’s title and considered several alternatives. Painter Francis Cugat’s cover art greatly impressed Fitzgerald, and he incorporated aspects of it into the novel.
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After its publication by Scribner’s in April 1925, The Great Gatsby received generally favorable reviews, though some literary critics believed it did not equal Fitzgerald’s previous efforts. Compared to his earlier novels, Gatsby was a commercial disappointment, selling fewer than 20,000 copies by October, and Fitzgerald’s hopes of a monetary windfall from the novel were unrealized. When the author died in 1940, he believed himself to be a failure and his work forgotten.
During World War II, the novel experienced an abrupt surge in popularity when the Council on Books in Wartime distributed free copies to American soldiers serving overseas. This new-found popularity launched a critical and scholarly re-examination, and the work soon became a core part of most American high school curricula and a part of American popular culture. Numerous stage and film adaptations followed in the subsequent decades.
Great American Novel
Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. Contemporary scholars emphasize the novel’s treatment of social class, inherited versus self-made wealth, race, and environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream. One persistent item of criticism is an allegation of antisemitic stereotyping. The Great Gatsby widely considered to be a literary masterwork and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel.
The Great Gatsby follows the lives of several characters on Long Island during the summer of 1922. The author uses the events depicted in the book to make a statement about the shifting moral attitudes that characterized 1920s America, a period often referred to as the Roaring 20s because of its dramatic cultural, economic, and political developments.
Jay Gatsby, the main character in the novel, is a man of great wealth who lives in a mansion in West Egg. His nemesis, Tom Buchanan, also a man of great wealth, lives in on an East Egg estate with his wife, Daisy, with whom Gatsby had once involved and whom he hopes to win back. He comes from a historically rich family, while Jay Gatsby comes from a very poor family. Tom Buchanan represents high society and class, while Jay Gatsby, a former bootlegger, creates the illusion of social standing, despite the fact that his wealth now rivals that of his nemesis.
These cosmetic differences have absolutely nothing to do with Gatsby’s or Buchanan’s moral character and everything to do with social class. For example, he is a rather ruthless, immoral, and greedy man, while Gatsby is loyal, kind hearted, and tender. As such, the two men represent the harsh socioeconomic hierarchy that existed in America during the period. The differences between them play out as Daisy, whose heart belongs to Gatsby, sacrifices true love for the wealth and social standing that life as his wife provides.
In The Great Gatsby, his old money endowed him with a good name and status with which Jay Gatsby and his new money could not compete. Let’s take a closer at the West Egg as a symbol of these divisions.
East Egg, the Buchanan’s home, is the land of the rich and famous; only the best of the best people live in East Egg. Sprawling lawns and magnificent estates sparkle and shine under the care of maids and butlers, while the extremely wealthy and important owners relax in style.
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West Egg is a fictional neighborhood located on Long Island in New York City, New York. West Egg is where the main events of this story take place, and where the main character, Nick Carraway, lives. Though Nick comes from money and admits that his family has rarely struggled, he does not have very much money himself and does not have a high-paying job. He recently moved to New York for work and was able to obtain what he describes as a broken-down, flimsy cabin-like home for only eighty dollars a month on the wealthy peninsula of West Egg. Caraway’s house is at the very tip of the peninsula.
Located next to his bungalow are beautiful, superficial mansions that glitter and gleam in the light that reflected off the bay. One of these mansions belongs to a man named Jay Gatsby; the man who inspired the title of the novel. Little is known about Jay Gatsby by the people who attend his lavish parties, but one thing is clear: he has money.
As the novel progresses, the reader learns a bit more about Jay Gatsby and what it means to live on West Egg, as opposed to living on the sister island across the bay. The house where Gatsby lives is described as monstrous and lavish, but Nick believes it is tasteless and lacking sophistication. This implies that the house was created solely for looking “big” and not for serving a purpose. This is a common theme that can be seen on West Egg, which is well-known for having residents who come from “New Money”; new money is a term that implies that a person’s family did not have much money, and it was only recently acquired by the person who intends to spend it.
Gatsby comes from nothing, which is a fact that not revealed until later on in the novel, hence why he lives on West Egg. Nick refers to West Egg as the less exciting and enticing of the two peninsulas and consistently implies that the people who live there are not as high class as the people who live on East Egg.
East Egg, New York
It is a fictional neighborhood located on Long Island in New York City, New York. East Egg is located directly across the bay from West Egg; it is also a peninsula and extends out into the Long Island Sound. In contrast to those who live on West Egg, those who live on East Egg come from what called “Old Money”; that is, families that have generational wealth. People who live on this peninsula were born wealthy and will likely die wealthy, and many of them have never had to work a day in their lives.
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At the very tip of East Egg, directly across from Gatsby and Nick’s houses, is where Daisy and Buchanan live. Daisy is Nick’s cousin; she lives in a beautiful and ebullient red-and-white mansion that overlooks the bay. Daisy and Tom were born into money and do not have to work to keep their money continuously flowing. Just like many others who live on East Egg, their family money bought them their enormous, sophisticated home. Tom is arrogant, while Daisy spoiled and entitled. The two have a complete disregard for how their actions affect others, and ultimately “win” in the end.
This was a permanent move
Before they had moved to East Egg, they lived in Chicago and France but Daisy insisted, “this was a permanent move” (Fitzgerald, 6). With their exorbitant amount of money, they were easily able to invest in “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” (Fitzgerald, 6). With these details, the reader can imagine a lavish property with well kept landscaping. For this reason I included multiple clean-cut trees along with the gardens Nick had mentioned when he first sees the property. At the end of their dock, they had a small green light, bright enough for Gatsby to see from his bedroom.
To Gatsby, it symbolized his dream of a future with Daisy; meanwhile she didn’t know the light was there. He informs her while they had met at Nicks house what he points out “you always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock” (Fitzgerald, 92). After analyzing these quotes, I was able to infer that the house would have a large front and backyard along with the multiple gardens. I also arranged the green light so that is would be far enough away from everything in order for Daisy to not have known about it. Although the author does not include little details of every aspect of the property.