How is West Egg different from East Egg?
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East Egg is the location where the rich people who have family money and prestige, what would be called old money, meaning that the person or persons inherited the money from a previous generation live, therefore, the family has been wealthy for a long time. For example Daisy and Tom Buchanan live in East Egg because Tom's family is old money. The dwellers in East Egg would be considered Easterners, cold, indifferent and not to be trusted.
West Egg is where the newly rich settled, bought or built extravagant houses to show off their newly acquired wealth as is the case with Gatsby who is considered new money, which would be regarded with suspicion, as is the case with Tom who suspects that Gatsby has made his overnight fortune through bootlegging. The dwellers in West Egg or Westerners would be considered honest and hardworking people.
"The difference between East and West Egg is a similar contrast in cultures. The way the characters line up morally correlates with their geographical choice of lifestyle. The Buchanans began life in the West but gravitated to the East and stayed there. Gatsby did as well, though only to follow Daisy and to watch her house across the bay."
East Egg and West Eggappear as identically-contoured formations of land, “enormous eggs,” separated only by “a courtesy bay.” However, the eggs are dissimilar in “every particular except shape and size.” On West Egg, “the less fashionable of the two,” the houses are built with no regard to codes or restrictions, as Nick's house is a bungalow sandwiched between two mansions. By contrast, the houses on fashionable East Egg “glittered” with “white palaces.” We see the difference between nouveau riche or new money, with the possible implication of lack of refinement or class (West Egg), and old money, with well-groomed houses and lawns accompanying well-groomed, well-bred occupants, who, on the surface, are characterized by gentility (East Egg).
The West Egg residents symbolize pioneers, almost a sterotype of the rugged West. For example, in the West an evening “was hurried from phase to phase toward its close,” in contrast to the pleasure and relative unimportance of work in the East, where making the most money with the least amount of effort seems to be the goal. West Egg, in its eclectic “melting pot” neighborhood, takes on the symbolism and character of the Old West, the land discovered in the fulfillment of dreams. Conversely, elite East Egg comes across as sophisticated, superficial, and smug.
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