The Great Gatsby Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

The setting of The Great Gatsby is one of the most influential components of the novel. Perhaps the most significant places in the novel are the West and East Eggs. In the story, the eggs are described by Nick, the narrator, as, “…a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay” (Fitzgerald 9). However, the appearance of the two eggs is almost all they have in common as Nick point out when he says, “To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size” (Fitzgerald 9). As the story progresses, the dissimilarities between the two eggs begin to emerge, yet there is always a faint, common element among the two. The setting affects the events of the story and the clashing characters according to where the scene takes place, and which area each character is from, influencing the characters’ attitudes, background, and current lifestyle and values.
The two main homes that are described in the eggs are Gatsby’s and the Buchanan’s. Gatsby’s house is described as, “…a factual imitation of the Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new… and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (Fitzgerald 9). Gatsby’s mansion is garish and is used as an attempt to win Daisy’s attention and affection. His home is the site of lavish parties where denizens of both eggs gather. The parties at Gatsby’s house last all night and many come and go, “…like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” (Fitzgerald 43). Gatsby has dozens of crates of food delivered, caterers, and orchestras for his parties. These parties are not a rare occasion, though; he has them at least ever two weeks or so. Life on the East Egg greatly contrasts the ostentatious affairs at the Gatsby’s home. The Buchanan’s home is described as, “a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay” (Fitzgerald 11). Obviously, such a mansion is not modest, but it is considered to be more tasteful than the houses on the West Eggs. Upon entering the home, time after time in fact, Nick finds everyone sitting around or on the telephone. When he entered the Buchanan’s house for the first time, he found Jordan and Daisy, “…buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon” (Fitzgerald 12). Later, Gatsby and Nick venture to the Buchanan residence together to find Daisy and Jordan, “…upon an enormous couch, like silver idols, weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans” and Tom on the telephone (Fitzgerald 122). The scenes that play out at the Buchanan’s mansion are much unlike the parties and visitations at Gatsby’s mansion. This contrast highlights the vigor and excitement of the newly rich of the West Egg and the carelessness and laziness so prominent in the East Egg.
Though the eggs are both occupied by the rich, the West Egg is associated with the newly rich whereas the East Egg is associated...

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