The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Compare and contrast East Egg to West Egg in The Great Gatsby.

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Further, East Egg is more removed from the city, farther away from the horrible valley of ashes; West Egg is closer.  The residents of East Egg can retire from the hustle and bustle of New York City as well as avoid, for the most part, the sight of the valley -- a constant reminder of the unintended effects of the industry and economy that has made so many East Egg residents so rich.  These folks can escape to their own little world whenever they choose, leaving everyone else to deal with the huge divide between the haves and the have-nots and the corruption of the American Dream. 

Nick alludes to this in the end, when he calls Tom and Daisy "careless people [who] smashed up things and creates and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made...."  The wealthy, high-status residents of East Egg are much more able to avoid anything ugly, any truths they don't want to face, i.e. their own responsibility in creating and maintaining a status quo that prevents others from achieving the American Dream.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As has already been suggested, East Egg is the place where the established wealthy people live.  The homes are old and classic, and there are all the accoutrements of the rich--such as stables and polo fields.  Tom and Daisy live here.  It's the more sedate and dignified of the two Eggs.

West Egg is where the rich Gatsby lives, it's true--but right next to his new, European-inspired mansion is Nick's $80-a-month shack.  Gatsby's money is "new," and he would have had no option to build in East Egg.  Instead, he builds an out-of-place home on West Egg.

Interestingly enough, though, there are plenty of East Egg men and women who show up at Gatsby's parties with people other than their spouses and act like drunken fools once they're there.  Apparently the behavior while on the East Egg must be proper and appropriate to the dignity of "old" money.  A visit to the West Egg, however, aparently allows them to be as wild and dissolute as they wish. 

This dichotomy of East and West Egg appearance and behavior is one of the great hypocrisies found in this novel. 

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muck09 | Student

East egg was a place that had beenaround for awhile where as West egg was were everyone come in wanted to be.

toshortforu | Student

East egg is old money, people who grew up with money, and West egg is new money, people who just got their money