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In the opening chapters of The Great Gatsby, how does F. Scott Fitzgerald create the...

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moocow554 | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted January 31, 2013 at 9:30 PM via web

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In the opening chapters of The Great Gatsby, how does F. Scott Fitzgerald create the contrast between East Egg and West Egg?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:33 PM (Answer #1)

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"It was a matter of chance that I rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America," Nick Carraway observes early in the novel, as he describes the two nearly identical land masses that jutted into the ocean off the coast of Long Island, and were named simply West Egg and East Egg.  The seemingly innocuous names of these bits of land belie what Carraway describes as "the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them".  West Egg, where Carraway rents what he describes as an "eyesore" for his  home, is also the home of one Jay Gatsby and his mansion, a "factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy", complete with tower, ivy, and manicured lawn and gardens.  Gatsby's mansion, while gorgeous, is not just an imitation of a French manor, but also symbolizes the imitation life he was worked to create since he was a teenager.  Across a small bay were what Carraway describes as "the white palaces of fashionable East Egg", a community of people who consider themselves "old money" and thus authentic and superior in every way to the "new money" of Jay Gatsby across the water. 

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