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Question Number 1: Explain how Fitzgerald uses setting to em

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Hannah Chow

on 6 June 2014

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Transcript of Question Number 1: Explain how Fitzgerald uses setting to em

Question Number 1:

Explain how Fitzgerald uses setting to emphasize the differences between the social classes.
in literature, the setting is the time frame and the location in which the narrative takes place
environment and setting also has an important effect on characters, their makeup (genetic or otherwise), how they behave, and personal characteristics
the setting is almost always influenced by the narrative, or vice versa
settings can be in any time period, whether past, present, future, alternate timeline, or undetermined timeline
settings can also be in real and determined cities, fake cities but real locations (like states or countries), alternative worlds, and more

What are the social classes present in
The Great Gatsby

Example 1: Valley of Ashes
Example 2: West Egg

Example 3: East Egg
Example 4: New York
Other Examples:
Other Examples
discussed by: Hannah Chow, Katie Klain, Aidan Kim, and Jonathan Pillado
Old Money: people who are rich and did not have to work for it (wealthy before 1920s). They live in the East Egg; an example is Daisy and her husband.
New Money ("nouveau riche"): people who had to work for their wealth, which coincides with the Roaring Twenties. They live in the West Egg; an example is Gatsby.
Middle Class: those who make a decent living, and are rather middle of the road. An example is Nick Carraway, who lives in West Egg.
Lower Class: those who work menial service jobs and barely make enough money on which to live off of. They live in the Valley of Ashes; an example is Myrtle and her husband.
What is the definition of setting?
How does an author utilize the setting to help refine the story?
authors, including Fitzgerald, use the settings to help enhance the story by providing a set of boundaries to the time and place that the audience can comprehend, and use as guidelines to understanding the story
authors also use settings to create distinction and contrast between important points in the story
it can also connect different points of the story to create a more cohesive timeline of events
The social class that lives here is the New Money (new millionaires who made their money purely during the 1920s).
Characteristics: looming and intimidating, tacky to the point of being almost garish, unnecessarily extravagant
It represents how the many young millionaires in the novel have found themselves suddenly rich and in the upper class without prior preparation, giving into their vapid fantasies and banalities and flaunting their wealth through appearance.
Examples of this wealth: enormous mansions, flashy cars, and huge numbers of servants.
The social class that lives here is the Old Money (upper echelon; affluent people that have gained their wealth through years of climbing the social ladder).
Characteristics: stylish, sophisticated, and classy without having the garish qualities of the West Egg
Because all the families in the West Egg were wealthy before the 1920s, their style is more refined and "old-fashioned" compared to the whirlwind trends and fast pace of the Roaring Twenties. There is also an air of aristocracy, smugness, and superficiality .
Nick Carraway's separation from Gatsby's mansion because of the lake shows the distance between social classes, along with the difficulty of access.
Nick is able to see the lights from parties at Gatsby's mansion from across the lake, showing that even though he had befriended Gatsby, he had not joined the upper class and was merely another spectator.
A last, prominent feature of the setting is the color green, which appears as a motif throughout the novel. It symbolizes wealth (money is green), desire (envy and lust), and exclusion/reclusion.
The setting of The Great Gatsby is in Long Island, New York during the Roaring Twenties (1922)
All in all, the rivalry between the established families and the nouveau riche acts partly as a setting as it establishes the social backdrop of the story.
Another establishing factor of the social backdrop is the origins of each of the characters. The Old Money families often boast of wealthy lineage, which is a prominent indicator of class rank, while many of the New Money people are varied in their backgrounds. Although Gatsby is originally mysterious about his origins, it is eventually revealed that he is from a more humble, modest background.
The Time Period
The Great Gatsby is set during the 1920s, also known by the moniker "The Roaring Twenties.
There was extreme economic prosperity during this period, along with the cultural and economical distinction of major cities in America like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
There was also the flourishing of jazz music, Art Deco, and flapper culture during this era, along with a stress on lower morals and criminal activity such as bootlegging. Technology was also prominent, including automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity.
Lastly, this era also emphasized modernism and break from traditions and formalities, along with the break from the bleak and somber attitudes during WWI.
This usage of this era as the setting of The Great Gatsby helps further distinction between social classes--the New Money class represents flapper culture and the attempt to break away from harsh and binding tradition, while the Old Money class wishes to keep these traditions in place. Extravagant wealth is shown through the new adoration of technology and modernity that appears during this time period. Furthermore, the industrial growth and economic prosperity allowed quick money in staggering amounts for people of all backgrounds, shown with Gatsby's rise to fame and fortune.
The social class that lives here are the lower class, or poor
Characteristics: garbage dump, a place the wealthy can dispose of its indiscretions. It is a dirty, dusty, hopeless place that exists between the 'palaces' of the Eggs
Example: "fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens," referring to the mountains of ash that have collected here after being dumped.
The setting of this novel is in Long Island, New York, near New York City. This is a very easy place to show social status because there are so many different parts of New York that are both rich and poor, like slums compared to State Street. Along with this, New York (and especially New York City) flourished economically during this time, and became very culturally distinct and relevant in the Roaring Twenties.
Characteristics: Large, diverse, and booming during the Roaring Twenties.
It represents how a huge and diverse place can be segregated harshly by its social classes, and shows how the time period plays out in urban centers--some of the most important areas during this era.
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