CLASS WORK West Egg can be seen as representing vulgarity and formlessness, as opposed to theformality and style of East Egg. New York acts as a magnet to both those possessingestablished wealth and those eagerly in pursuit of it. All three locations are the product of the fabulous wealth that modern society creates. But such a precise fixingof their social status and identity in the historical context of the 1920s alone wouldlimit their role and so no justice to Fitzgerald’s handling of them. In the novel, theyare ambivalent locations, which by the processes of Nick’s imagination attain their own particular radiance, for his relationship with them constantly changes.They therefore exist in the time in Nick’s or Gatsby’s experience. Products of wealththemselves some at least of their appeal to the observing eye of Nick or Gatsby existsin that wealth. Just as Gatsby’s imagination transfigures his hose into a place of enchantment, so Nick, a young man setting out to make his fortune, perceives themwith a fresh, optimistic eyes of youthful hope.Yet in his role of narrator after the events of 1922 are over, he adds a note of moralawareness, which marks him as receptive to the realities under the glittering surface. Nick’s dual role of participant and subsequent narrator is an important factor in therepresentation of these locations.East Egg in contrast observes the rules of formality and tradition, at least on thesurface of life. The Buchanans’ world is exclusive, opulent and self-regarding. Itrepresents the status of inherited wealth and power to which the inhabitants of WestEgg are denied access. The ‘white palaces’ glitter along the shoreline, but there is animplication that they are rather like whited sepulchres (tomb, grave, vault) inhabited by people who are just as careless and socially indifferent as the ones who come toGatsby’s parties, but their inhabitants live with more style. Nick criticises them on page 170, ‘They are careless people’.
: Penguin, Critical Studies by Kathleen Parkinson
Gatsby hooked up to a machine linked to something that measures the severity of anearthquake. This is a strange comparison, why did the author write such a thing?It may represent that he has a ‘larger than life’ kind of character, has the awareness todetect even the smallest tremors that may shake society or cause a stir. It is very irony, possibly dangerous as if he is chained to the machine – seeking out large events. Itreally makes readers think ‘Who is Gatsby?’ We feel we want to know him since hischaracter is surrounded with enigma.‘My family have…’ – Nick could have a larger than life persona as well. He wants people to stick to simple morals; he is a man of principles. On the very firstimpression we instantly take a liking to him, we feel in favour for him. His judgementis neutral and allows us, readers to judge the characters and events for ourselveswithout such a degree of bias presented. From the quote, we could interpret that hehas the desire that society would just return to simply basic morals that conducted