Long Island and new York City in the early 1920s
Great Gatsby is collection in new York City and on long Island, in two areas known together "West Egg" and "East Egg"—in real life, good Neck and also Port Washington peninsulas on long Island. Long Island"s beach communities really were (and still are) house to the rich and fabulous that the new York City area, and Fitzgerald actually lived in a small house in West Egg. Apparently, that listened come his teachers and wrote what that knew, since Nick describes his own residence as "an eyesore" that"s "squeezed in between two vast places the rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season" (1.14).
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These people are rich, and they have actually a lot of of leisure time to invest worrying around how they"re regarded socially. Nobody seems an especially interested in politics, or religion, or even education (you require the degree, however you don"t require to have learned anything): instead, they invest their time conforming to particular standards, prefer not put on pink suits (7.132). This setup matters, because it means that a lot takes ar through innuendo and suggestion. There"s very small violence or also outright arguing—people snap at every other and make snide comments, however these aren"t the type of civilization to resolve things through violence, at the very least not v each other. That"s why the violent acts—Tom break Myrtle"s nose; Wilson shooting Gatsby—take place in between classes. It"s not rich people beating up other rich people; it"s violent conflict in between the rich and also the poor.
East Side/ West Side
(Click the map infographic to download.)
Rich people do choose to invest their time drawing subtle distinctions in between types of wealth. Nick tells us right away that eastern Egg is the wealthier, more elite of the 2 Eggs. Regardless of all his money, Gatsby lives in West Egg, saying that he has not been able to complete his revolution into a member the the society elite. The distance that separates him from Daisy isn"t just the water that the bay; it"s also class.
The second contrast is in between the city scenes and the suburban ones. Favor Nick Carraway, Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby commute into the city because that their particular lines that work, while the women space left behind. This geographical divide ends up gift a gender distinction, too. Yet the city is crucial in other ways, too; Tom just interacts v his mistress in the city, and Gatsby only sees Meyer Wolfsheim there. They both use the city come hide your goings-on native the human being they value on long Island.
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We open up in the early 1920s: simply after people War I, and also right in the middle of Prohibition, when alcohol was effectively illegal. We say "effectively," since plenty of world manufactured, sold, and also drank alcohol anyway—like all the personalities in the book, that seem to it is in constantly drunk, and also Gatsby, that made his money bootlegging: offering illegal alcohol.
But it"s not all champagne and yellow Rolls-Royces. Myrtle and also George Wilson inhabit a totally different setting: the grey sink of ashes that joins the fabulous civilizations of the Eggs and also Manhattan. Fitzgerald didn"t understand yet, however we do, that the excesses that the 1920s fell down with the stock industry in 1929--leading come a much grayer, grimmer life all over the country. Go Fitzgerald suspect that the fabulous lifestyles of Tom and also Daisy"s crowd to be doomed indigenous the start?
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