I need text passages from The Great Gatsby: descriptions of the various settings and the characters' morals and lifestyles in these different places.   

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 1, when Nick explains his first few days after moving to the East, he describes both East Egg and West Egg. He says that West Egg is "the less fashionable of the two" and that there was a "bizarre and not a little sinister contrast bvetween them." Nick calls East Egg a place of "white palaces" that "glitter." A while later he describes Tom and Daisy's mansion and grounds in a way that captures the glamour of East Egg and the way the Buchanans live.

The Valley of the Ashes stood between the Eggs and New York City proper, but if you consider it part of New York, a detailed description of this poor industrial area can be found at the beginning of Chapter 2. A brief description of the city itself is found in Chapter 3 when Nick remembers going to work. It begins, "In the early morning the sun threw my shadow westward as I hurried down the white chasms of lower New York to the Probity Trust."

Nick's descriptions of the Midwest both open and close the novel. Early in Chapter 1 he describes the Midwest and the lifestyle there. The most beautiful passage describing the Midwest occurs in the novel's last chapter. It begins:

That's my middle-west--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns but the thrilling returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow.

The characters' moral values are shown throughout the novel. Nick sums them up by saying that Gatsby was worth more than all of the East Eggers put together and by calling the Buchanans careless, destructive people.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question