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Great Gatsby Essay On The Setting High School Essay

1079 words - 5 pages

This question will be discussed with regard to the novel, The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the essay, we will explore some of the ways in which the stylistic features used in the novel affect its popularity over time. In this case, this refers to the relevance to American culture from the time of publishing in the 1920s to present day. Through the use of language, symbolism and the motifs of time and the color green, this essay will discuss how these features have caused an appreciation for the value of the book, culturally.
The juxtaposition between East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes serves as a geographical symbol in presenting Fitzgerald’s American world of materialism and superficiality. In the novel, West Egg was the “less fashionable of the two”, and Gatsby, who lived at West Egg, owned a “factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy.” This suggests that it is the home of the nouveau riche, where homes “rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season”, as a way to display this newly acquired wealth. Gatsby’s replica of a home clearly lacks a classiness that the “white palaces of fashionable East Egg” naturally had. East egg homes were “white”, to represent purity, an allusion to blue blood – East Eggers have been wealthy for generations and this becomes evident in the opulence of East Egg. If Fitzgerald had made West Egg to represent the people who worked for their wealth and East Egg to represent the people born into wealth, then the Valley of Ashes represented the poor working class. There is a stark peripheral contrast between the “white palaces” of East Egg with “ashes” that take the form of houses” in the Valley of Ashes. The juxta-positioning of the homes of these 3 places present a disparity between the poor, working class with the upper strata of society. This has become culturally significant in American culture because this fictional depiction of division between the classes has translated into a distinction in classes in America today. Though the book was set in the 1920s, it still accurately mirrors the shallow materialism of people and the social polarization that perpetuates a widening income gap in America, thus, this novel remains relevant to American culture even in the modern context.
Besides Fitzgerald’s use of the external comparisons between homes of East Egg, West Egg and the Valley of Ashes, he presents the automobile as a symbol of affluence. Owning a car could perhaps even be seen as an ostentatious display of affluence – Tom came down to Louisville in “four private cars” to marry Daisy. His marriage to Daisy was more of a show than a declaration of love, and a grand reception on a “whole floor of the Muhlbach Hotel” was more important than the meaning behind a wedding vow. In a similar vein, Fitzgerald described Gatsby’s car to be of a “rich cream color” that is “swollen here and there in its monstrous length” and “terraced with a labyrinth of windshields.” Gatsby’s car was simply...

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