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In The Great Gatsby, where does Nick decide to live?

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user6811762 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2013 at 10:55 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, where does Nick decide to live?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:56 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter One of The Great Gatsby, Nick writes,

It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York and where there are...two unusual formations of land.

These two formations of land are called East Egg and West Egg because they are egg-shaped. Nick narrates that he lives in West Egg, the "less fashionable of the two." As it turns out, Nick is between Gatsby's huge mansion that resembles the Hotel de Ville in Normandy on West Egg and the sprawling lawns and white with red shuttered mansion of Daisy and Tom Buchanan.

This physical arrangement of Nick's bungalow places Nick in the position of liason for Daisy and Jay Gatsby, companion to Tom, confidant to Gatsby. Thus, it becomes improbable for Nick to reserve judgments, as he claims he does. Squeezed between the old money and socially prominent and the nouveau riche, Nick finds himself ambivalent and cannot help making comparisons and evaluations of the Buchanans, who, in the end, he calls "careless people," and Jay Gatsby, who he tells, 

"They're a rotten crowd [the East Eggers]....You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."

The juxtaposition of Nick's bungalow, thus, places him in a moral conflict as he must reject the unconscionable Jordan Baker, and the Buchanans. For, he learns that the materialism of the East generates a tragedy of dishonesty and destruction.  Nick considers returning to the Midwest as westward is the direction where values can be reaffirmed.

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