The Great Gatsby: all about money
Compare and contrast Gatsby's social class with that of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. How does geography contribute to the definition of social class in The Great Gatsby?
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The social classes of Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby are not very different. They both have a lot of money and they both also have very nice houses. I would say that the Buchanans do live a little higher up on the “totem pole” than Gatsby does because they seem to live a more professional lifestyle. In other words, they do not throw glamorous parties at their house like Gatsby does at his. By throwing these parties, it shows that Gatsby like to have people around him, and he seems like he is very hospitable. In the book it is also said that East Egg, where Tom and Daisy live, is more of a neighborhood filled with high-end house unlike West Egg, Gatsby and Nick live. This can be seen by comparing Gatsby’s house to Nick’s house, which is right next door. Gatsby has a lot of money and he has a very big house. He also has a gardener and a butler, who caters to his every need. Nick, however, lives in a very small house, and he does not have a lot of money and he lives alone. Also when Nick was having daisy and Gatsby over for tea, Gatsby had his gardener cut Nicks lawn because it was very over grown and it didn’t look good enough to Gatsby’s liking. Gatsby also has a very reserved and gloomy mood and it can be noticed that he never really gets excited about the situations that take place.ReplyDelete
Also, in chapter seven, Tom Buchanan criticizes Gatsby's parties by saying,"I supposes you've got to make your house into a pigsty in order to have any friends--in the modern world." this shows that Tom does not approve of the way Gatsby lives or his parties.ReplyDelete
On the surface, it would appear as if Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby are all in the same social class. This may be true—however they are on different planes of the social class. Tom and Daisy are more sophisticated and keep to themselves. They still have their rich little social lives, but it is more civilized than Gatsby’s. They have a child, and are deeper into adulthood. Gatsby, however, is more of a party animal. He could be compared to Chuck from gossip girl. He has a great heart, but has been hurt in the past. He acts out on his hurt and comes off as more of a party-animal. Gatsby displays his extraordinary life for Daisy’s amusement in a way. He puts on all the celebrity parties in order to grab her attention one day. He hopes that she would somehow stumble into one of his parties, and recognize the host as a past love—and made him a present love. Gatsby could be classified as more of a celebrity within his social class, whereas Tom and Daisy are just dignified (so they seem) wealthy adults. They live on the same pond, just as they live in the same social class—they live on opposite sides of the pond, just as they live on opposite sides of the social class. Being so close, yet so far seems to be one of the many themes in Fitzgerald’s novel.ReplyDelete
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Fitzgerald created East Egg and West Egg as a way of separating the “fashionable” from the “unfashionable”. Both, Jay Gatsby and the Buchanan’s live luxuriously throughout the novel. They have fancy cars, beautiful clothes, and large estates. Money doesn’t seem to be a big deal to them. Gatsby and the Buchanan’s appear to be in the same social class. However, they live apart from one another. Although, while reading the book, Fitzgerald hints at the fact that Gatsby is far richer than his fellow neighbors. I mean, here he is living in this beautiful, marble mansion next to Nick Carraway. (Who clearly doesn’t have the kind of money Gatsby has). Gatsby basically earned all of his money before he moved to East Egg and the Buchanan’s were born into rich families. So Gatsby probably feels better connected to the lower class. Gatsby almost seemed out of place living in this huge mansion on the less classy side of town. I guess this added to his mysteriousness. It made outsiders want to know more about him. He probably enjoyed the fact that people were so intrigued by him. He liked to show off his achievements and let people know that he was of value. This side of Gatsby showed rather strongly when he wanted Nick to invited Daisy over so she could see his house. Nick says, “… I think he revalued everything in the house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes”. Obviously Gatsby had no real attachment to his possessions he just wanted to please Daisy. He always had a soft spot for Daisy. He planned these "outrageous parties" in hopes that he would run into her and they would rekindle their romance. Daisy and Tom definitely focus more on being civilized and acting their age. Gatsby, however, threw parties regularly and ventured into town quite a bit. Gatsby seemed to be more of a summer romance for Daisy. Tom was more in charge of his life and family. Gatsby was stuck in his past and that is what hindered his future.ReplyDelete
At first it seems that the social class of Tom and Daisy is similar to that of Gatsby. However, as you read farther into the novel it becomes apparent that east egg (where Tom and Daisy live) is a much more sophisticated part of town than west egg. So geographically the Buchanan's are in a higher level of the social class, but not only that! The Buchanan's have are settled down and have calm friends and a loving family. It would be like comparing a single guy who lives next to a college to a nice little family living in Sunnyside. Yes, the single boy will throw raging parties and indulge in worldly pleasures. The little family will have nice get togethers or even bar b q's occasionally, but they would be much more reserved and mature. So you tell me, who is higher in the social class? Obviously it is the family who doesn't keep the whole neighborhood up all night long with crazy parties!ReplyDelete
Fitzgerald could have written this novel within a single (and real) social class: the upper class. In fact, all major characters would, in our world, fall into this "upper class" school of America. Both Gatsby, and the Buchanans, as well as our man Nick Carraway, are filthy rich. We are fully aware of that due to their lavish lifestyles. However, these lifestyles are very different. You see, Fitzgerald DIDN`T, in fact, stay within a single social class. He used Foster`s highly regarded component of GEOGRAPHY to split this upper class into two specific classes. Fitzgerald set apart those RICH in social establishment, from those poor in social establishment. By "social establishment" I mean the strength of connections to the surrounding society. Many who know the Buchanans might say of their relationship, "oh we go way back", or, "yah the Buchanans are solid people." While (as we see in the novel) Gatsby`s party goers say of him things such as, "Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once," (p. 44)as well as several other sketchy, unsure remarks. Nick Carraway fits in this West Egg, "socially unestablished" class because he is new to the area, and sort of beginning a new chapter in New York.Fitzgerald needed a host of (for lack of a better term) rich people to interact with, and work the magic of love affairs, and lavish parties, while he also needed INDIVIDUALS. We wouldnt have the same untainted point of view of Nick Carraway that we have if he was an East egger- biased because of social ties and friendships. Not to mention the importance of Gatsby, and his profile of parties and the "good life". By creating these two similar, yet different classes in his novel, he is able to stay in the rich environment so vital to his SPECEFIC plot, while still bringing the character diversity necessary to ANY good book. And boom goes the dynamite.ReplyDelete
When many first read The Great Gatsby, they assume that Gatsby and Tom are of the same social class. But this is simply not true. Tom and Daisy Buchanan are of the true upper class. They live in the classy East Egg, with a large house, tons of money, nice car, and a cute daughter. They have even traveled the world together for many years. Their lives are a primary example of how the stereotypical upper class lives. But Gatsby's class is slightly different. Gatsby is trying to pull a two-faced move on the reader. He appears to be the richest, most successful, and most popular man on the East Coast. But this is all a facade that he has built up. In reality, Gatsby is NOT rich at all. His mentor did leave him thousands of dollars, but his mentor's wife legally took the money before Gatsby ever got a cent. Instead, through sneaky and sketchy business deals, which included fixing the 1919 World Series, Gatsby gained money. He was originally born a poor farm boy, to uneducated and dull parents. Gatsby throws parties and has an extravagent house in order to be accepted by the upper class. The biggest difference between Tom and Gatsby is that Tom belongs in the upper class, while Gatsby is desperately trying to prove that he deserves to be in. The geography of the East and West Eggs show this division of class. The East Egg is where all the accepted upper class live. While Gatsby could certainly afford to live there, he doesn't, because he knows he doesn't truly belong. Gatsby instead lives in the less fashionable West Egg, which shows the clear division of the two classes: the upper class and the want-to-be's.ReplyDelete
When it comes to a person's social class in comparison to the place where they live, even today it matters for sure. There is the nice part of town with the fancy houses and nice lawns, and then there are always the run down houses that don't make an everyday person pass by and really notice the house. Gatsby seemed to be the exception. He has a nice house and nice things and seems to be wealthy, but in reality he was just somebody who everyone thought was rich and threw nice parties. What he had wasn't considered wealth. Money was just handed to him. He did illegal things for money, like fixing the World Series. What Gatsby really has is just a dream. He wants what Tom has. REAL wealth, the wife, the kid, the house and everything. His wealth was only a dream to him. Tom and Daisy on the other hand really WERE wealthy. Gatsby lived in a false reality. He thought he was fancy and that money could just come and go, but he was wrong. The story for a while makes you think that Gatsby lived where he did because he wanted to stand out from everyone else on the West Egg. He tried to gain attention by throwing these parties, and it was just to cover up a lie. I personally don't think that he could afford to move to the East Egg, so he tried to be better than everyone on West Egg. That just shows that looks can be deceiving!ReplyDelete
Social class was everything to them. Gatsby, Tom and Daisy were all filthy rich, but the geography of where they lived is what separated them. There was East Egg and West Egg on Long Island. Tom and Daisy lived on East Egg and Gatsby and Nick Carraway lived on West Egg. Those who lived on West Egg were those who recently came into money and had no real connections to speak of. They were like the loners of Long Island that threw parties just to get to know each other and to climb the social ladder. However, those who lived on East Egg already had a bunch of connections. They were the rich snobby ones that had tea time and tennis time scheduled out in their planners with their girlfriends once a week every week for the rest of their lives. They had their life all complete and knew exactly where they were on the social hierarchy. Just because all of them were rich does not mean they are in the same sphere. Everyone who went to Gatsby’s parties talked about him behind his back. Some even went so far as to speculate that he was a murderer, yet they still showed up at his parties every week. Tom and Daisy however had quaint dinner parties that they went to and had at their house with respectable business men and whatnot. Geography really is everything when adhering to the laws of the social classes. It’s a crazy world they lived in.ReplyDelete
While Gatsby’s social class was not far off from Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s, in a way he was on a different level of his own. Tom and Daisy’s wealth was well known due to having a wealthy and predominate family name. Having this allowed Tom and Daisy to have a solid and concrete foundation to the social class. Tom and Daisy’s lifestyle is that of a very prestigious and well known life style due to their family name. This was more of a professional lifestyle they were able to live. Gatsby’s quick rise to wealth was because of illegal activity, thus not forming much of a firm concrete foundation in the social class as that of Tom and Daisy. Gatsby’s wealth was more of a “quick rich” route that he was able to pull off by illegal acts. Tom and Daisy’s geographical location also contributed to their wealth. In the book it states two different places, The East Egg and the West Egg. The East Egg harbors a house belonging to Tom and Daisy, and is that of a high end wealthy neighborhood. The West Egg, where Gatsby resides is known for being less classy. In many wealthy social classes, names are a huge contributing factor as well as wealth, and due to Gatsby’s lack of having such a “solid” and “concrete” family name with a background that goes back way with the other predominate family names, this enabled Tom and Daisy a much easier way to live their lifestyle of luxury than that of Gatsby, who was continuously whispered about throughout the social class on how he obtained his wealth.ReplyDelete