"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." - Nick Carraway's father - The Great Gatsby.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

East Egg vs West Egg

In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald there are two fictional towns known as East Egg and West Egg. Although East Egg and West Egg have some things in common, they are entirely different within their social aspects. East Egg and West Egg happen to both be part of Long Island in New York, and they are both egg-shaped as well, but they have differences in the way that the societies on each "Egg" live. East Egg and West Egg are separated by a body of water. This body of water symbolizes the separation of the social classes and the distinguishment between the urbanized area and the rural area of Long Island.

East Egg is the more urbanized town out of the two, representing the "new money" of the 1920's. Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom Buchanan live in East Egg; the two tend to flit from place to place and have money to burn, so to speak. Consequently, they have an extremely large house in East Egg and are more elegant and used to an urban way of life versus people that reside in West Egg. East Egg is also home to Jordan Baker, who is a professional golf player; she is also elegant and rather conceited since she has so much money. These three people are examples of "new money" in the 1920's, as well, showing East Egg to be a place where the "new money" prefers to live. East Egg also has a reputation of being elegant and, for lack of a better term, clean. Thus, East Egg is the more urbanized town out of the two, and it represents the "new money" of the 1920's, along with the elegance of the people in the era. East Egg also represents the culture of the 1920's.

West Egg is more rural than East Egg, proving it to be quite the opposite of the urbanized and elegant town. West Egg represents the "old money" of the 1920's, or the people that have worked harder to earn their money. An exception to this "old money" concept is Jay Gatsby; he lives on the very edge of West Egg, symbolizing the transformation from his life as James Gatz, who was a poor son of a farmer, to the overly-rich Jay Gatsby, who is not yet fully accepted into the society of wealthy people. Despite Jay Gatsby's residency in West Egg, the town represents hard working people who don't take the "easy way out" when it comes to making money. Nick Carraway lives in West Egg; Nick turns down multiple offers from Gatsby to go into business with him, but Nick wants to earn his money the way he knows is right- the hard way. George Wilson also lives on the West Egg territory, but he lives in The Vally of Ashes; he owns a car garage, and he is not very wealthy, but he is working in an honest job and not taking the easy way out. The Valley of Ashes being located in West Egg also proves as a symbol that West Egg is the ruins of what used to be a great American Society; this shows that while West Egg represents "old money", it also represents the disintegration of the American cultures and societies from the late 1800's and early 1900's.

Therefore, while East Egg and West Egg appear similar in some ways, they are very different in what they stand for.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Chapter 2." The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print. "Great Gatsby Website - 1999." FCPS Home Page Redirect Page. Web. 2 June 2010.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Chapter 3." The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print. "Great Gatsby Website - 1999." FCPS Home Page Redirect Page. Web. 2 June 2010.


  1. Tom and Daisy are "old money". The East Eggers are the upperclass society who have inherited money and therefore have been wealthy and privileged their whole lives. The West Eggers are the ones who are less cultured from "new" money. Since they have gotten their money recently, they are less familiar with social customs of the rich and are therefore looked down upon as tacky and vulgar. They tend to display their wealth in more ostentatious ways as a means of flaunting it (i.e. Gatsby).

  2. Mr Edge is right!

  3. FYI - The "Valley of Ashes" was the former Corona Ash dump, current site of Flushing Meadows Park (and CitiField): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flushing_Meadows%E2%80%93Corona_Park - It's not in "West Egg" but still in Queens, but sort of a barrier between the urbanized city and more suburban Long Island that the Long Island Railroad passes through.

  4. Oh - and "East Egg" is essentially Port Washington and "West Egg" is Great Neck. If you use Google earth to zoom in, you can see the huge mansions along the water.

  5. This post is completely wrong. Mr Edge and other Anonymous are both right.

  6. West egg is new money; east egg is old money.

  7. read the book!!! West ("less fashionable" (p5)= Nick and Gatsby(who represents new money. His house is a replica...a collosal affair) Daisy and Tom are on the east egg, with a more traditonal mansion.