In The Great Gatsby, how does time and place change in the novel  according to the situations?

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namurchi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of The Great Gatsby is New York, primarily East and West Egg.  Old money aristocrats live on East Egg while the nouveau riche reside on the West Egg.  The two juts of land are physically similar, but society views its inhabitants differently.  The setting of Tom and Daisy's home is reserved for lazy days and polo playing.  On the other hand, Gatsby's house is continually lit like the "World's Fair" in hopes of drawing Daisy over to his side of material indulgence and freedom. 

When the setting leaves the two Eggs, the reader finds himself in the Valley of Ashes, where Wilson and Myrtle reside.  This morally decaying wasteland is watched over closely by the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg.  This is where Tom must travel to carry out his misdeed of adultery. 

When all is over, the East Egg is the only setting unaffected.  Tom and Daisy have their same perfect existence, while Gatsby and Nick of the West Egg, and Wilson and Myrtle of the Valley of Ashes, are all destroyed.

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The Great Gatsby

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