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Places and settings are immensely significant in The Great Gatsby as they represent the various aspects of the 1920s American lifestyle that Fitzgerald is depicting. East Egg therefore represents the old aristocracy, West Egg the new, up and coming rich, the valley of ashes represents the moral and social decay of the States and New York city is the avaricious quest for amoral financial gain. In addition, the West can be seen to be associated with the moral and social decay and cynicism of New York, while the East is linked to traditional values. Nick in Chapter 9 recognises the importance of geography in the novel, as he recognises that although the story is set in the East, it is really about the West, as it identifies how all the characters (who come from the West) react to life in the East.
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