In The Great Gatsby, how do the people of East Egg and West Egg differ in their attitudes about money?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The people in East Egg and those in West Egg all have a great deal of money, but they have different attitudes about money. The families who live in East Egg have enjoyed wealth for several generations, at least. They take their money for granted because they have always been wealthy. In their world, boasting about having money or showing it off in gaudy ways would be unacceptable and gauche. The Buchanans, for instance, live in a beautiful home on an enormous estate, but their house is one of traditional and understated elegance. 

The people of West Egg are very different in their attitude towards their wealth. They did not grow up with riches or live among wealthy people. They have earned huge amounts of money in short periods of time. Their money is very new to them, and they take pride in displaying what they have achieved. Gatsby boasts of his wealth and shows it off in every way possible. He lives in an enormous mansion that appears to be an imitation of a European hotel. The furnishings of his house, his many cars, his clothes, his staff of servants, his lavish parties--all are displays of his money. Gatsby's behavior emphasizes his nouveau riche status, cause for contempt and disdain among the inhabitants of East Egg.

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The Great Gatsby

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