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Materialism In The Eggs In The Great Gatsby

1218 words - 5 pages

The society of the mid nineteen-twenties, as depicted by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his novel “The Great Gatsby”, is one of glamorous parties and shallow, superficial and material-based relations. East Egg is home to the more apathetic portion of New York’s elite, which cares only for their money and view the world around them as disposable. West Egg, however, is full of hardworking people who are willing to peer beyond one’s surface to discover the true potential locked within one’s self. Though both Eggs are similar in the fact that they are both very careless due to their social status, the two vary greatly when it comes to their levels of compassion towards others, as well as their morals. East Egg and West Egg, although similar in nature, ultimately demonstrate differences in value, integrity and responsibility.
Throughout the novel, East Egg demonstrates time after time the shallow underbelly of New York’s upper side. The inhabitants of this section of the city are what are known as the “old money”, meaning they come from families with money passed down through generation upon generation. Nick Carraway demonstrates unto the reader the grandeur of the area when he says, “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water…” (Fitzgerald 5) referring to the homes opposite the bay of his. The people who occupy these homes, such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker, have never had to work a single day in their lives to secure and maintain their lavish and luxurious lifestyles, and will never have to because of the money that their families have procured throughout the generations. People here are reckless, and tend to not want to take responsibility for their actions. Jordan demonstrates this mentality when, after being told that she is a terrible driver by Nick, responds with “It Takes two to make an accident.” (58) This is very reminiscent of the carefree lifestyle of Americans in the roaring twenties, a decade of joy and partying after the First World War, which spanned four years and saw the deaths of millions of innocent people. Lastly, East Egg exhibits extreme frivolity, and the inability to explore and express a deeper, more interesting meaning to the world around them. Daisy demonstrates this, firstly when she asks of the others, ‘“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon?” cried Daisy, “and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”’(118), and then when she cries, saying to Gatsby that “It makes [her] sad because [she’s] never seen such beautiful shirts before.”(92). This goes to show that in East Egg, relationships are based more on what one can provide in a materialistic sense than what one can give emotionally. All in all, the East can be seen as petty and childish, with little more to them than their money and ostentatious charm.
Though it is often shown in different, more thoughtful ways, West Egg still exhibits a strong preference towards the materialistic idealisms of the time...

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