The Great Gatsby is set in four main settings. New York City, West Egg, East Egg and The Valley Of Ashes.
East Egg represents the “old money”, which is money inherited from parents or relatives. East Egg is classifies upper class, they come from families who have always had money. People who live in East Egg tend to be more snobby and greedy compared to people in West Egg where the “new money” is, money that is seen as “dirty-money”, or “wannabe money” which is made through organised crime generally. People in West Egg tend to be more innocent and sophisticated as they haven’t been consumed by material possessions, money, and greed their whole lives. The author describes West Egg as “less fashionable” with “wide lawns and friendly trees”. And East Egg is seen from West Egg as “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered among the water”.
New York is a place where businessmen thrive, and the rich go to entertain themselves with shopping and affairs. New York also represents the idea of the “American Dream”, a place where wealth, hope and enormous possibility can occur. The first time Nick visits NY he describes it as “glowing sunshine,” and the air on Fifth Avenue is “warm and soft, almost pastoral”. The second time he visits he describes it as”Over the great bridge, with sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up in white heaps and sugar lumps….is always the city seen for the first time, in it’s first wild promise of all the beauty and mystery in the world.” However when he returns with Gatsby, Tom and Daisy, Daisy describes it as “so hot” and the room they are in “was large and stifling,” and ” opening the windows admitted only a gust of hot shrubbery from the park.” The perception of the city changes in proportion to the amount of conflict that the characters bring with them. This is an idea that helped me to understand illusion
The Valley Of Ashes
The Valley of Ashes is a run down place located on the way to New York from West and East Egg. The community is filled with lower class and very hard working people. The narrator describes the Valley of Ashes by saying, “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke”. It is a place with a lot of poverty where the people who live there, wish to leave it but cannot. An example of this is Myrtle dyeing trying to leave the Valley. The valley is created because of industrial dumping, both the people and environment are suffering. The Valley of Ashes help me to understand illusion because the ashes symbolise death, with more selfish people arising from them. Every generation the pile increasing representing the American Dream. It is also representing the moral and social factors decreasing resulting from wealth as the rich remain self centred to pleasure themselves.