In the book “The Great Gatsby” Fitzgerald uses setting to emphasize the differences between the social classes. The lower class areas that are described in this book as repressive restricted dark dull places where repressed people walk in a slow melancholy stuperous state. Whereas, the upper class areas are described as happy gay carefree places where people are pleased with the success they live in. The rich are the winners in life, and the poor are the striving losers. The setting clearly marks the bounderies for the social classes demarkating the divisions between them.
The rich all live in flashy impressive palaces. The Gatsby’s house is an enormous mansion where Gatsby often hosts many lively parties. In this passage from “The Great Gatsby” on page nine Nick describes Gatsby’s mansion. The one on my right was a collosal affair by any standard–it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.
The fashionable East Egg, where Tom Buchannan lives, proudly displays its beautiful white palaces before its glittering waters. Tom’s mansion has an Italian garden and a half acre of roses. In this passage from “The Great Gatsby” on page twelve Nick describes a walk into the Buchannan mansion. We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosycolored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house.
A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up through the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling–and then rippled over the wine colored rug making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. Note how the passage above uses happy bright colorful words to describe the setting such as “bright rosycolored space” and “gleaming white against the fresh grass. ” The upperclass areas are all described in this fashion. The poor all live in ugly uninviting places. Nick and Gatsby live on West Egg.
Gatsby is very rich but his money is not old money so he is not considered to be as a prominent as those with old money. Nick describes his small house as an eye sore. To see his gal, Tom has to go to the gas station in a place Nick calls the Valley of Ashes. In this passage on page twenty seven Nick describes the Valley of Ashes This is a valley of ashes–a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.
Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight. The term the valley of ashes is a metaphor to desrcibe the poor as a nonadvancing community of people without hope. The setting of the poor is dull and bleak full of people who constantly try but cannot leave. There is a garage inside the Valley of Ashes Nick describes as a shadow of a garage unprosperous and bare on the inside.
Nick describes the man who owns the garage as a spiritless man anaemic and faintly handsome. There was much use of symbolism in the setting of this book. I found the way how the less prominent people (Gatsby and Nick) live on West Egg and all the bigshots live on East Egg very interesting. It is not that the poor are dull slow and hopeless, but they are that way to the rich people in comparison. And to top it off, the rich people have all the power in society. This symbolism helps support a theme of this book the desire for wealth leads to the destruction of the American dream.