East Vs. West
Money, just like anything else, can be new and old. Some people in our country have been wealthy for centuries, and the wealth of their bloodline can go extremely far back in time. However, the attitude of people who have what is considered “Old Money” in contrast to the people who have “New Money” can be quite different. This is shown in the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In TGG Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker all reside in East Egg, New York and are considered “Old Money” while Jay Gatsby who lives in West Egg, New York is considered “New Money”. The people who are depicted as “new money” are materialistic and egotistical; while people who are labeled “old money” are elegant, down to earth, and have good tastes. Mr Gatsby, who resides in West Egg is labeled “new money” and is portrayed as materialistic and egotistical. Mr. Gatsby, the extremely wealthy protagonist in this novel, has a enormous mansion.
It is so large that it is simply ridiculous. Nick depicts it as, “My house was at the very top of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard-it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion” (5). The Mansion is so gigantic, however, it is only inhabited by one man. This clearly shows how important material possession is to Mr. Gatsby. Gatsby also drives a Rolls-Royce and wears pink suits to his large dinner parties that he throws weekly. Also, their is another large mansion besides Gatsby’s. This shows what the majority of the neighborhood is like. The way in which the people in West Egg live reflect their inner personalities as audacious people. Gatsby and the rest of the people who live in West Egg are portrayed as very materialistic and are labeled as “new money” because of the way they show off their wealth through their untasteful possessions. Tom Buchanan, a member of the East Egg comunity, is shown to have amazing tastes, in particular when it comes to the beauty of his home.
Fitzgerald writes, “Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens-finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of french windows glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon” (6). The way in which Nick describes Toms home, makes it sound like a beautiful wonderland. It seems extremely elegant and just simply perfect. Even the setting and time of day match its beauty coincidentally. Furthermore, the intricacy of Toms home reflects what people think of the people who reside in East Egg.
Their tastes seem to be so far ahead of everyone else’s, and they are able to express their minds through crafting these landscapes with ease. This portrays a very pretty picture of what Fitzgerald wants the reader to think about the characters who reside in East Egg. The people of East Egg who are “old money” are further portrayed as elegant and down to earth by what the wear and how they dress. Jordan Baker and Daisy are both two women who are described as very elegant by Nick when he says, “They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house” (8). The main thing that stands out about this is that the dresses are just white. They aren’t too crazy or extravagant. They are very simple and elegant. And they seem to be blowing in the wind just perfectly while they ripple in front of Nick’s eyes. In addition, white is symbolic for purity, which further explains how the author wants the reader to perceive Jordan and Daisy (along with the other people in East Egg).
This seems to further the idea that the people coming from “old money” are much more elegant and tasteful in contrast to the people who are considered “new money”. The difference of lifestyle and mindset between the people labeled “new money” and the people labeled “old money” is quite different in Fitzgeralds depiction. The lavish, vulgar, and untasteful ways of the people labeled “new money” is contradictory to the lifestyle of those who live in East Egg and are “old money”. In the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, people who are labeled “new money” are selfish, materialistic, and egotistical; while people who are labeled “old money” are elegant and down to earth.
The dividing line between the people of West Egg and East Egg is quite serious. The Novel is concluded with Gatsby’s death, who was trying to become apart of the “old money” crowd. But in the end, he fails at getting Daisy and he ends up dead as a result of trying to bootleg his way into the Elitist of the upper class. This metaphor between East and West, may also be symbolic to the East and West coast of America. The East coast is where people originally settled and things are said to be much different on this side of the US compared to the West coast. For all we know, Fitzgerald may have been making the point that people on the East coast are better than the people on the West coast. But we will never truly know, because like Gatsby, he is dead.