The novel’s setting takes place in New York City in the early 1920s,
within two areas called “West Egg” and the “East Egg”. These places are a depict
of Great Neck and Port Washington which are in Long Island, New York. These
places in the book are portrayed to be very wealthy and rich, which indeed they
are too in real life. Nick Caraway, one of the main characters in the story
live on the West Egg, in a rather small house compared to the standards of the
houses in the area. Nick describes his own house in the novel as an “eyesore
that’s squeezed between two huge and luxury houses”.
The people who live in these two areas are wealthy and rich, but there’s
one difference between the two “Eggs”. The West Egg is the home of the newly
rich and The East Egg is the home of the already wealthy and rich people who belong
to a “social elite”. People in these areas are not found of religion, politics
or education which can be noticed all through the novel, the people in these
areas are more interested in conforming accommodate certain standards. This
setting is something I find very important because a lot of events takes place
in nuances and suggestions, for example, there’s little to none violence
between the rich. The rich simply does not solve conflicts with violent acts,
not by doing it themselves at least. The violent acts that take place in the
novel like- Tom fracturing Myrtle’s nose or Wilson killing Gatsby- takes place between the two classes; the rich
and the poor. This goes to show that one of the conflicts in the novel is
between the two classes.
As mentioned earlier, the East Egg is the wealthier area and more élite
comparing the two eggs. Gatsby, one of the main characters in the novel lives
in the West Egg and the love of his life, also Nick’s cousin Daisy lives in the
East Egg. This draws a dividing line between the two places, that it’s not just
the water that separates Daisy and Gatsby; it’s also class.
One of the symbols that I found
in the novel is a place called “The Valley of Ashes”. The valley of ashes is
located between the West Egg and New York City, which entails of a long road of
abandoned and desolated land created by the ashes dumped by the industries.
This represents the decay of both social and moral settings which is a result
of the careless pursuit of prosperity and wealth by the rich; which only
indulge themselves with seeking their own pleasure, not others. “The
Valley of Ashes is also a symbol of the dilemma of the poor, like George Wilson
who lives in the dirty ashes which results in a loss of vitality.”
An event that is important to the novel is Gatsby’s introduction to the
plot, this is important because the story is centered around Gatsby. His
introduction in the beginning of the novel is rather mysterious when Nick see’s
the glimpse of him reaching out for a green light in the bay across the bay.
Gatsby’s reputation as being a war hero, ascendant of German emperors and such
really makes you interested in him. When Nick and Jordan’s search for Gatsby
occurs and happens in the novel you get an unexpected and somewhat delayed
introduction to his character. The “build up” in the novel serves to represent
a mystery around Gatsby that never seems to stop.
Another event that is important to the novel is when Gatsby reunites
with Gatsby at Nick’s home, this is significant because Gatsby meticulously
built his life around to maybe one day seeing the girl that he once fell in
love with before in his earlier life. Gatsby is very struck by the love for her
that he accidentally let his guard down, which allows the reader to catch a
glimpse of what hides behind the extravagance in Gatsby’s character.
“When Gatsby argue and fight with Tom, Daisy’s husband represent
Gatsby’s downfall. When Gatsby’s perfect vision of Daisy telling Tom that she
never loved him, it backfires. Because Gatsby let his guard down in a fit of
rage it shows an unwanted side of himself which he has tried to cover up almost
his entire life. By doing this he accidentally kills the character he has built
up his whole life and ruins any chance he had creating a life with daisy.”
One other event that is important
is when Daisy run over Myrtle, Tom’s Mistress driving her and Gatsby back to
Long Island. This is a traumatic event which shows Gatsby’s integrity who
willingly wants to take the blame for killing Myrtle. This shows the cowardice
of Daisy who retreats to her mansion in East Egg, this is the last time Daisy
will be a part of Gatsby’s life even though he is not knowing of it, but he
still protects and loves Daisy.
Gatsby basically dies two times in the novel, the first time is when he killed
his dream of ever being with Daisy again, which is the reason he even built his
life up and the other time is when he gets shot and dies for real. Daisy did
not even attend his funeral and the funeral was very lonely, this emphasizes
the fact that his extravagant dream was over.
The main character in the novel
is Gatsby. Even though the story is told and narrated by Nick Carraway the
story is based and built up around Gatsby.
The theme I’d pick for this novel
is wealth and different class societies. Simply because the novel shows the
distinction between the two Eggs. The Buchanan’s belong to the East Egg and are
very wealthy and belong to the “elite society” whilst Gatsby belong to the West
Egg and belong to the newly found rich, where the wealth he acquired was by
selling illegal alcohol. Even though Gatsby are involved with criminal
activity, he shows a good, sincere and loyal heart where Tom Buchanan shows a
character of envy, bully, and petty behavior.
The views on identity in the
story is shown by Gatsby, who lives his life trying to build up a new identity.
Coming from a dirt-poor family to living an extravagant, luxurious and
glamorous lifestyle which none seems to know how he acquired. He builds up a
personality full of mysteries and confidence, he throws big glamorous parties
which he does not himself attend to keep up the mystery about himself, but also
to maybe one day meet the love of his life, Daisy there. His life are built
upon criminal activity and lies, the rumors about him are glamorous and
honorary but none of the rumors are true. He does not claim some of them, but
he created fake stories, medals and, photographs to back others up.