The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

1107 Words 5 Pages
In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald writes about the distinctions between the social classes and status during the twentieth century. Fitzgerald's novel takes place in the 1920's after World War 1, which was a time of excess and wealth. The "roaring '20s" set a perfect stage for Fitzgerald to use setting to explain the differences between the three social classes in his book.
Fitzgerald shows the contrasting features between the West and East Egg in New York. Fitzgerald describes Gatsby's house and the house of Tom and Daisy to show the difference between the social classes on either side of the bay. The protagonist of the story, Nick, describes Gatsby's house as, "The one on my right was a colossal affair by
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Fitzgerald continues to use setting to establish class differences when he writes about the valley of ashes. He describes the valley of ashes as a place “where ashes grow like wheat into ridges...where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys...and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up...and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight” (Fitzgerald 27). The valley of ashes is located in between West Egg and New York. Fitzgerald describes the setting of the valley of ashes to show the immense difference between the rich and the poor. In the valley of ashes, the poor appear to live in their own dirt. It is a place where poor people are forced to live because they do not fit with those of the higher social class.
Fitzgerald explains that in the valley of ashes, the “Main street ministering...to absolutely nothing” (Fitzgerald 29). By depicting the setting of the West/East Egg and the valley of ashes, Fitzgerald clearly elaborates the differences between those who were rich and those who were poor in the 1920’s. Fitzgerald as well uses dialogue among the characters to express the differences between the social classes. Tom, a man of “new money” but whom lives and knows how to appear as if he is “old money”, goes to visit his mistress in the valley of ashes. When he visits her, his mistress,
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