In The Great Gatsby, how do West and East Egg represent the differences in the characters of Gatsby and Daisy?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

East Egg and West Egg represent the difference in social class between Gatsby and Daisy. The people of East Egg have inherited great wealth and social prestige. Their families have lived in the East for generations; they feel proud of their traditional heritage.They have attended the finest private schools in the East and gained a particular kind of selfish sophistication. They move within their own narrow, snobbish social circle and feel superior to those who are not members of their privileged class. This is Daisy's world.

West Egg is the home of millionaires, also, but their money has not been inherited, and they haven't had it very long. They have earned money quickly during the economic boom of the Roaring 20s, through legal and illegal means alike. The people of West Egg lack formal education and a tradiitonal family heritage that goes back several generations; they lack sophistication and flaunt their wealth, proud of how much money they possess. Gatsby is typical of the West Eggers. He was born into poverty in North Dakota, far from the Eastern establishment, and earned an immense fortune through his association with a gangster. Unlike the people in East Egg, Gatsby is not a snob and does not understand that having money will never make him socially acceptable in upper-class society.

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The Great Gatsby

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