For what do New York City, the valley of ashes, West Egg and East Egg stand in The Great Gatsby? In which way are they different from each other?

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West Egg symbolizes "new money," the people who have had to work, or otherwise earn their fortunes, rather than inherit them. West Egg is where these people, who want to fit in with the "old money" folks from East Egg, live, because all of the homes and estates in East Egg are passed down from one generation to the next and cannot really be purchased. This is why Gatsby has to settle for West Egg (when he would really rather live nearer to Daisy in East Egg). The homes in West Egg, homes like Gatsby's, seem a little gauche, over the top, new to the kind of understated elegance that characterizes the people in East Egg.

East Egg is where the very rich people who have inherited their fortunes live. They don't have to try hard to prove that they are wealthy and classy, because they possess the self-assuredness of someone who's never had to work for their money. The Valley of Ashes represents the detritus of society: the people, the garbage, the...

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Nick is middle class


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