The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Looking through the list of party-goers, find and paraphrase at least three pieces of evidence that the old money is in East Egg and the new money in West Egg.

Expert Answers info

Anne Riley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write235 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Fitzgerald cleverly uses names and descriptions to clarify which of Gatsby’s guests are from East Egg and which are from West Egg.

Even the names of the East Eggers sound sophisticated and high-class. These are the people who hail from established families, and their names and reputations precede them. Names such as Voltaire, Endive, and Chrystie suggest class. Nick notes that “Beluga the tobacco importer” is there with his girls. He takes note of the Stonewall Jackson Abrams family and the Blackbuck “clan” who “flipped up their noses” at everyone else.

While the East Eggers do show a certain carelessness, they are not afraid to flaunt themselves. For instance, one man named Snell attends Gatsby’s party a few days before he must report to prison, and he becomes so intoxicated that his hand is run over by Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s car. Another example is Mrs. Chrystie, who attends the party with a man other than her husband. East Eggers know they can get away with anything, and they have a certain swagger about them that makes it clear they will. Yet, they always act sophisticated and worthy.

By contrast, West Eggers are the newly-wealthy members of society who must work for their living. They do not have generations of family backing them, and their behavior is more reckless than that of the East Eggers who must worry about scandal. The names of West Eggers are more common: Mulready, Corrigan, Pole, de Jong, Myer, Palmetto. They are “all connected with the movies” or “theatrical people.”

There is a certain controversy surrounding West Eggers. One couple is divorced (frowned upon by sophisticated society), one man ended up killing himself later on, one man killed his wife, and many gambled. Claudia Hip attended with her chauffeur, and Benny McClenahan always arrived with four different women each week. These types of reckless scandals would hypocritically be looked down upon by East Eggers.

The difference: East Eggers have family name and money to back them. West Eggers make their own money, but there is a chance they will lose it eventually. They party and act as if they have nothing to lose. East Eggers will party in a more toned-down fashion, knowing they will always have that money and clout.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial