In Chapter IV, Nick lists the names of various guests from East Egg and West Egg that he observed at Gatsby’s parties during the summer of 1922. The list is remarkable in its content and implications, a colorful catalog through which Fitzgerald satirizes the upper class while simultaneously clarifying, without explicitly explaining, the social distinctions developing in American society during the Roaring Twenties. The names and their connotations effectively contrast East Egg, the bastion of old money, with West Egg, the home of the up-and-comers who are making money hand over fist in the new decade.
The guests from East Egg bear names that suggest generations of staid Yankee tradition and the heritage of the antebellum South; the names of guests from West Egg are primarily those of European immigrants of various ethnicity and occupations. The contrast emphasizes the accelerating social divide in the country. At Gatsby’s parties, the Chester Beckers, the Leeches, the Ripley Snells, and Dr. Webster Civet find themselves in the company of the Poles, the Mulreadys, the Bembergs, Don S. Schwartze, and a promoter named Da Fontano. Polishing off the list of East Eggers are Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia and Mrs. Ulysses Swett.
Although the East Eggers and the West Eggers occupy the same general territory in Gatsby’s gardens, the social barrier between them remains inviolate. The Blackbuck clan, “who always gathered in a corner and flipped up their noses like goats,” would find no common ground with James B. (“Rotgut”) Ferret, nor would they want to. Guests from West Egg, unrestrained by social convention and free of the ingrained attitudes and behaviors bred into them by wealthy American ancestors, seem to have a much better time at Gatsby’s riotous extravaganzas, although several of the East Egg contingent are not immune to bad behavior either.