Difference between East Egg and West Egg

Key difference: The East Egg is where all the ‘Old Money’ families live. These are old established and extremely wealthy families. Whereas, the West Egg, or ‘New Money’, are the people that have recently come into money, mainly due to the economic boom. However, there is this huge gap separating the two classes, symbolized in the book by the bay located between the Eggs.

The Great Gatsby is a novel by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is set in Long Island, NY during the Roaring Twenties, specifically summer of 1922.  The Roaring Twenties represent a prosperous time in American History after World War I. The Twenties were known for their social, artistic, and cultural dynamism, as well as unprecedented industrial growth. The Roaring Twenties become the back drop for the novel and are quite significant in the conflict of the novel.

Fitzgerald places our characters on the East Egg and West Egg. The East Egg and West Egg are based on Manhasset Neck and Great Neck, respectively, two peninsulas on the coast of Long Island, NY. These Eggs are often used as symbols to reiterate the main conflict of the novel, which is the difference between ‘Old Money’ and ‘New Money’.

The East Egg is where all the ‘Old Money’ families live. These are old established and extremely wealthy families. Whereas, the West Egg, or ‘New Money’, are the people that have recently come into money, mainly due to the economic boom. However, there is this huge gap separating the two classes, symbolized in the book by the bay located between the Eggs.

The East Egg is also a symbol for the East, i.e. the Eastern Coast and the moral decay and social cynicism of New York. The West Egg, on the other hand, stands for the West, specifically, the Midwestern and northern areas such as Minnesota, where all of the main characters hail from. Hence, the West Egg is symbolic of the more traditional social values and ideals of America.

Throughout the novel, Jay Gatsby, one of the main characters and one of ‘New Money’, tries to reach out and be equal to the Buchanans, one of the old families. However, they always look down upon Gatsby, mainly due to the fact that he is new money and is flashy with his money. This is despite the fact that over the course of the novel, Gatsby is proven to be a better person than the Buchanans. However, Gatsby is blinded by Daisy Buchanan, i.e. the allure of aristocracy, and pays for this with his life.

Image Courtesy: ovtg.de 

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