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June Post #2: The Great Gatsby and East/West

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message 1: by Mr. Eric Mills (last edited Jun 11, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Mr. Eric Mills | 9 comments Mod
One of the most over-looked quotes from The Great Gatsby is: “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly inadaptable to Eastern life.” Being a New Yorker, born and raised, and living in what many consider a “cow town” here in Colorado for the last ten years, I can relate to the converse of this idea. Comment on the delicate balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood. Use evidence from the text to support your analysis.

Comment to this post using the link below. Write your first and last name along with the class period at the top of your post. Don't worry about formatting for the title of the book if you can't figure it out.

message 2: by Natalya (new)

Natalya Hill | 7 comments Natalya Hill; Period 1
The thematic discussions of seeking adventure and return to home in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are explored in the setting, particularly in the past of the West and the new world of the East. The East represents the new adventure but one that is ultimately exhausting, one that the characters who originate from the West cannot adapt to and thus are led to ruin by.
At the beginning of the book, Fitzgerald describes the protagonist, Nick Carraway, as restless from the Great War, and the Middle West as "the ragged edge of the universe" (3). The stark differences found in the East, its “satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye” (56) are described as a wonderment. In the East, even the mood and way of making conversation changes, "sharply different from the West, where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close" (12), and Nick confesses to feeling "uncivilized" (12), his origins in the West making him feel as though he cannot adapt to the East.
The sensation of not being able to adjust that Nick, Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby all experience initiates a downfall for each of them. For instance, Nick describes "the fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons I had come East" (19), and he implies that back West Tom Buchanan would not be able to have a mistress (Myrtle). This implication is reinforced by him expressing that "'it'd be more discreet to go to Europe'" rather than West if Tom and Myrtle were to leave together. Ultimately, when Wilson becomes suspicious of the affair, he says "'I've been here too long. I want to get away. My wife and I want to go West,'"(123). Within the novel, the West is considered more virtuous. For Tom, his morally corrupt affair with Myrtle and the consequences of it leads to his downfall, and it is the East that allows him this luxury.
While Nick uses the East to be with Myrtle, Gatsby views the East and his extravagant house on West Egg as his opportunity to be with Daisy. "Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock" (180), demonstrates this, and his house alters because of Daisy’s perception of it, such as replacing all the servants and bringing an end to the parties-- as Fitzgerald describes: “the whole caravansary had fallen in like a card house at the disapproval in her eyes”(114). Even when Gatsby is rejected, he refuses to leave and is, ultimately, killed there, love unrequited. Nick views the lackluster investigations into the murder and the lackluster response of the partygoers for the funeral as disgusting, images such as “a drunken woman in a white evening dress [...] But no one knows the woman’s name, and no one cares” (176) summarizing his view of the ‘sophistication’ and excitement of the East becoming sour and apathetic.
The story begins with Nick moving from the West to the East, into the unknown world and its "riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart"(2). The story ends with Nick reflecting on how "after Gatsby's death the East was haunted" (176) and wanting to return home (the known world). If the East is the future and the epitome of civilization, then the West, the past, is the left behind moral foundry. Nick reflects that when he came back from the East he expressed that he felt "that I wanted to be the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever" (2). The Great Gatsby is a story about both adventuring forth (the East) and returning to your origin (West) and Fitzgerald uses the settings to illustrate the idea that the characters being unable to adapt to the East because of their moral foundations in the West leads to their untimely downfall.

message 3: by Izzie (new)

Izzie Hicks | 7 comments Izzie Hicks
Period 2
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby provides insight to the delicate balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace through both its symbolic geography and its characters, all of which add to Fitzgerald’s central theme about the American Dream. The American Dream has always come to mean “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative”, however, in the 1920s, the ideas behind this were becoming morally flawed in that money was a major emphasis and attaining wealth and power was so imperative that one could attempt to do so dishonestly. This concept led to Fitzgerald’s negative critique of the American Dream in his novel. Firstly, the geography of the story is symbolic of different aspects of this renowned American Dream. The East section of the US, and East Egg, represents the impenetrable hierarchy of old wealth, an aristocracy that is formal and respectable, where the “fashionable” and “white palaces” (5) of people like Tom and Daisy are. To contrast, the West is generally renowned for providing opportunities for new adventure and prosperity, the West Egg housing the newly rich. Both Gatsby and Nick live in West Egg and it is regarded as “the less fashionable of the two” (5). In between this is the Midwest, which represents an honest and virtuous way of life, the less wealthy but uncorrupted lifestyle. This is also portrayed in the novel as the Valley of Ashes, a road between the East and West Egg where “ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens” (23). The coming of the newly rich into West Egg, however dishonestly, is representative of the American Dream, but this idea is better understood through the characters of the book as well.
All of the main characters are Westerners: Daisy and Jordan from Louisville, Tom from Chicago, Gatsby from North Dakota, and Nick from the Midwest. Archetypically the West represents new adventure and pursuers of the American Dream. These characters go East to pursue their goals to achieve success and prosperity through hard work—following their own “American Dream”. Nick goes to New York in hopes to become a bond salesmen; Jordan goes to pursue her golf career; Gatsby goes to become wealthy and ultimately seduce his love Daisy a second time. Yet, the end of the book is where Fitzgerald’s negative critique of the American Dream comes into play. After Gatsby’s death, Tom, Daisy, and Nick all leave the East to go back to the West. This event evidences that the characters were unable to adapt to the East and the evolving vision and pursuit of the American Dream is corrupt and flawed—so they leave. With this, the reader can come to the conclusion of what Fitzgerald is attempting to comment on seeking adventure and staying faithful to one’s homeland. If seeking adventure parallels the pursuit of the American Dream, this idea will eventually be sabotaged because it is inherently flawed. In theory pursuing one’s goals and wealth should not be a bad thing, but Fitzgerald is critical of the age of the “Roarin’ 20s”: focused completely on money, material items, and power, the American Dream to Fitzgerald was becoming increasingly dishonest and morally skewed. What made Gatsby great was his relentless attempts at pursuing his ideal dream, but even these pursuits ended in tragedy. The events of The Great Gatsby portray the American Dream as corrupt and as dead. In turn they comment on both the stark differences between East and West and the balance between seeking adventure and staying faithful to one’s birthplace.

message 4: by Jenna (last edited Jun 26, 2016 01:01PM) (new)

Jenna Eisenberg | 7 comments Jenna Eisenberg
Period 1

In The Great Gatsby, one of the most in depth ideas discovered is the study of humans and their culture, specifically about wealth and how the rising billionaires of the early 1900’s diverge from the elite and prosperous families of tradition. Fitzgerald creates a story where West Egg and its occupants symbolize the new wealth, and East Egg and its occupants symbolize the traditional and elite families. The author depicts the newest wealthy people in the West as being unrefined, extravagant, and absent in communal elegance. Meanwhile, the traditional and rich elite families in the East have charm, finesse, and sophistication.

Jay Gatsby’s wealth and lifestyle in West Egg alter qualities in his behavior, as seen in chapter four as he picks up Nick Carraway, “He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American- that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness” (64), Gatsby’s lust for adventure caused him to lose touch with his roots, creating an unbalance and eventually turning him into an extravagant and lonely man. West Egg is restless, unforgiving, and full of hope for people trying to achieve their dreams. This is a very common mindset not only today but in all of history, that moving west means prosperity.

If Gatsby embodies the gaudy icon that lionized wealth and chased the upper class to impress Daisy, the lady he treasured and loved, then Nick embodies the discreet, introspective Midwesterner directionless in the tempting east. That generates a prevailing personal struggle through the characters and the story. Although Nick is fascinated with the exciting life of New York, he realizes that it is outlandish and destructive. He states, “Or perhaps I had merely grown used to it, grown to accept West Egg as a world complete in itself, with its own standards and its own great figures, second to nothing because it had no consciousness of being so, and now I was looking at it again, through Daisy’s eyes. It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expanded your own powers of adjustment” (104). Nick’s relationship with Daisy alters his views of community values: that money corrupts and blinds self-morals, desires, and relational responsibility. He realizes this conversing with Gatsby, “She’s got an indiscreet voice, I remarked. It is full of- I hesitated. Her voice is full of money, he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money- that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…” (120). Daisy is infatuated with capital, wealth, comfort, and material indulgence. Daisy characterizes the unethical ideals of the highborn East Egg setting. People from the East demonstrate their inattentiveness to other people because they are so wrapped up in wealth and its capability to provide a comfortable lifestyle that they do not ever worry about discomforting others. This relates back to the topic that venturing outside of one’s childhood values and seeking adventure may alter one’s moral intentions.

This personal struggle is also represented through Nick and Jordan Baker’s relationship. He enjoys her high-spiritedness and her classiness, but is disgusted by her untruthfulness and her lacks of concern about other people. Nick recognizes that the wild lifestyle of partying in the East is a shield for the disturbing ethical desolation that the valley of ashes represents, after heading over the dreadful manifestation of Gatsby’s burial. Mellowing from this awareness, he travels back to the Midwest for a simpler lifestyle systematized by more conventional ethical and moral principles, “That’s my Middle West- not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name” (176).

message 5: by Talia (new)

Talia Gordon | 7 comments Talia Gordon, Period 1

One of the most interesting points raised in The Great Gatsby is that of the nature of nostalgia, by which I mean the novel’s simultaneous celebration of the relative perfection of childhood and (on occasion) young adulthood and condemnation of attaching oneself to that perfection, particularly in the case of Gatsby (whose nostalgia run rampant ultimately results in his demise). This is where the significance of the East and the West as symbolic settings in the novel begins to take root. The West represents an idyllic childhood, a more naïve society, whereas the East represents both a place of opportunity and moral devolution. This split is mirrored on a somewhat smaller scale in the East Egg and the West Egg, although both exist within the realm of the East. The West Egg is home to a kind of simplicity not seen on the East Egg, seen in Carraway’s small cottage and “honest” nature, but also in Gatsby’s “incorruptible dream” (p. 154). In contrast, the East Egg is home to interpersonal violence, immense wealth, and ultimately death.
This divide is representational of the novel’s convoluted opinions on nostalgia and the attempt to return to a childlike state of perfection. This is not to say Fitzgerald condemns cosmopolitan ventures-- in fact, if Gatsby had adapted to the East he would have abandoned his dream of Daisy and thus survived the novel. The novel appears to be arguing that nostalgia and a return to childhood are acceptable and in some cases preferable (shown in Carraway’s return to the West after Gatsby’s funeral, which is not condemned, although whether this was Fitzgerald’s intent or the unintended result of Carraway’s narration remains to be seen) but cannot be carried with one throughout their lives to the point that is becomes an obsession. In suggesting that Carraway, Jordan, Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby “possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life” (p. 176) Fitzgerald seems to imply that the tragedy of the cast lies in their inability to move beyond remembered perfection into a more adult life, a theme advanced further by Carraway’s realization that, having reached thirty years of age, he must begin acting differently. However, as convincing as that point may become (at this point in the novel, the reader believes to avoid death and tragedy they must abandon nostalgia in its entirety), Fitzgerald ends the novel by recognizing the inescapable grasp of childhood-- “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (p. 180).

message 6: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Freedman | 7 comments Ryan Freedman
Period 1
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, there is a subtheme of conflict between East and West. While many stories tend to use the West as a land of adventure and the East as a comforting home for characters, The Great Gatsby turns this general literary theme around, stating that ““I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”(177). The last chapter best illustrates the concept of a struggle between the home of Tom, Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan, and Nick, and the place where they are risking their livelihoods as opposed to their lives as western settlers often do in stories. Nick makes this conflict between East and West especially clear when, reflecting on Gatsby’s death, he states: ”even when the East excited me most... it had always for me a quality of distortion”(177). This showcases how different the East and West are from each other.
Nick also describes his home in the ‘Middle West” as warm and cheerful, “the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark.”(177). This makes the West clearly a familiar home for Nick and helps to portray the East as unfamiliar and dangerous. At the same time, Nick describes being bored of Ohio, and Gatz is bored with his middle-class life so he decides to create his Jay Gatsby identity and becomes the quizzical figure he is in the novel. In this way, Fitzgerald creates an interesting contrast between East and West that is quite different from typical stories.

message 7: by Sam (new)

Sam Altman | 7 comments Sam Altman
Period 1

"The Great Gatsby" uses the East to a represent a morally irresponsible way of life. A way of life that pushes the envelope, and soon Nick Carraway realizes that an Western lifestyle is a lot different in contrast to that of the East. "Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known(171)." Honest and Genuine are great words that describe Nick, which makes him an unlikely sympathizer for Gatsby. The idea of morality is juxtaposed between the East and the West. Nick refers to his roots as "cheerful and warm". Nick's past proves to be a similarity in which brings him closer to Gatsby. They both are foreign to the corrupt environment that consumes them. Pop Culture of the 1920s thrives in the East, and Nick feels out of place for most of the book. "He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy" (110). Gatsby longed for his past life, and wanted to retreat from this environment of crime and lavish partying; and while Daisy and the other westerners faded into the East and its temptation, Gatsby longed for something different, and Nick soon came to a new appreciation of his roots and where he came from. "When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn."

message 8: by Gianna (new)

Gianna Neathammer | 7 comments Gianna Neathammer Period 2

The balance between adventuring and staying faithful to one’s birthplace is depicted through the narrator Nick. Nick stays faithful to his childhood and his family. “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since” (1) As it begins the book, this quote makes a large statement about how Nick hasn’t and probably won’t disconnect from his childhood. He keeps his father’s words with him as he goes through life. Although he goes east to Rhode Island, he is still linked to his childhood. He says, “Everybody I knew was in the bond business...Father agreed to finance me for a year and after various delays I came East” (3). He stayed attached to his comfortable childhood as he was around everyone he knew.

This was of course until he moved to the west egg in Long Island and met Gatsby, who lived next door. This is the more adventurous half we see in Nick. He starts branching out from his childhood and birthplace when he first met Great Gatsby who introduced him to the well known party life of the 1920s, as parties occurred almost every night at the Gatsby mansion. They started having adventures together. “‘Good morning, old sport. You’re having lunch with me today and I thought we’d ride up together’” (64). This was when Gatsby started inviting Nick into his life, and Nick eventually becomes a big part of Gatsby's life. He starts to rely on Nick to help him with his ultimate goal- to be with Daisy. Although Nick grows apart from his life at home, he stays true to his values and ideals that he built from his life at home with his family. In the entirety of the novel, Nick follows the advice given to him by his father which was mentioned at the beginning of the novel. “‘ Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’” (1). Throughout the journey that Gatsby and Nick partake, Nick goes through a lot of trouble for Gatsby but never seems to criticize the way Gatsby lives his life. Nick starts feeling comfortable in the adventurous side of his life rather than sticking close to his childhood even though he keeps a nice balance.

message 9: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 7 comments Lauren Page Period 1
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby provides insight to the delicate balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace through the characters, especially through one of the main characters, Nick Carraway. Nick's lust for adventure caused him to at times, lose touch with his roots and birthplace, creating an unbalance and eventually turning him into a somewhat extravagant man. Nick Carraway was born in 1892 in Minnesota, Middle-West of the United States, as the son of a well situated and quit wealthy family. Nick was sent to France, when the United States entered the Great War in 1917, in order to fulfil his military service. After this time, he decided to move to New York to learn the bond business, because the war had changed his perspective of the world. Nick is not the kind of urban people like Daisy, Tom or Jordan. Of course he is well situated but he does not have the need to show that to everybody. He is neither as rich as Gatsby or his Cousin nor poor but he polite enough not to show that to everybody. In my opinion Nick just wants to help the people to see the real world they are living in. West Egg is restless, unforgiving, and full of hope for people trying to achieve their dreams. The West Egg is home to a kind of simplicity not seen on the East Egg, seen in Carraway’s small cottage and nature, but also in Gatsby’s “incorruptible dream” (p. 154). In contrast, the East Egg is home to violence, and immense wealth. People in East Egg come from families that always had money. They're more snobby, greedy, and meaner than people from West Egg, as those from East Egg are generally less-sophisticated, and a more innocent type of people, as they haven't been consumed by material possessions, money, and greed their whole lives. Although both exist within the realm of the East at the time.

The Buchanans, for example, are a very wealthy family of East Egg, which Tom Buchanan was born into a wealthy family, and the greedy Daisy, who got married into this money and wealthy scene. They live in a extravagant mansion located in the East egg, and are a somewhat of a stuck up family. East Egg is portrayed as more corrupt in the novel, and is considered to have "less morals", compared to the more humble people of West Egg. According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the West Egg is "less fashionable" with "wide lawns and friendly trees." (176) Most of the people that live in the West Egg have morals and ethics to live by, rather than their own money, such as Nick Carraway. They aren't as money obsessed as those in the East. The Mid-West, which represents the new territory of hope and the old pioneer spirit, corresponds to West Egg in New York. For Fitzgerald, there was a certain old-fashioned stability resting on the old, unchanging values and close relationships. The novel mirrors the East-West divide of the whole country in the division between West Egg and East Egg. Nick and Gatsby live on West Egg, which means that they have retained their closeness to western values. The Buchanans on the other hand have become Easterners, they represent the corruption of the East. Another symbol of the East is the middle of New York City. It's the place where Myrtle has her apartment and can meet Tom, where Nick does his work by selling and buying bonds, the place where Gatsby and Tom fight for Daisy and where illegal deals are done. This shows how the East is a place of violence, cheating, lying, and death.

message 10: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Page | 7 comments Taylor Page Period 1
There is a delicate balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one's birthplace. In F. Scott Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby, the balance is represented by the character Nick Carraway. Nick was born in the upper Midwest and was raised with the stereotypical Midwestern values. He came from a wealthy family but decides to go off on his own and make something of himself. He heads East after World War I, in order to escape the uniformity he perceives to permeate the Midwest and to make his fortune. He is an educated man who desires more out of life than the quiet Midwest can deliver and desires the "American Dream" like many others desired at that time.

East Egg and West Egg together represent the ongoing divisions in society. East Egg is where the "real" wealthy people live: those with older money and established credentials. West Egg is where the new money lives, and is not considered as classy. Nick lives in West Egg because, while he has some social credentials that might allow him to live in East Egg, he is trying to make something of himself, in a way like Gatsby, his neighbor, and the western community is for those still constructing their identities. Throughout the novel we realize that Nick is unlike the other characters in the story, he is more down-to-earth and doesn't desire all the glitz and glam that the other characters posses. In chapter three we see that Nick waits for an invitation to one of Gatsby's parties rather than just showing up like many other New Yorkers. And when he does attend, he takes the time to seek out the host rather than just enjoying the party. Nick realizes as the novel progresses that being wealthy and obtaining the sought after "American Dream'' comes with an unnecessary misery and he continues to value his Western morals from his childhood.

message 11: by Kaeley (new)

Kaeley Cahill | 7 comments Kaeley Cahill Period 1

Seeking adventure yet remaining faithful to your birthplace is something I believe every character struggles with in The Great Gatsby. People living in the west were all rich, spontaneous and a little lost and trying to redefine who they were. The East was full of people trying to get to the west. The East acted as a stepping stone to the West and was a place of everybody's past. But both places shared one common hope, a hope for a better, more full, future but somehow the characters were always held back from truly achieving that. They all had one piece of history stuck to them that always seemed to keep them from truly moving forward. One big symbol of the future tying both of these themes together would be the green light. Fitzgerald wrote, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
Gatsby was very lost through a large portion of the novel. His big eccentric lifestyle, was the result of trying to fill a void left in his heart. And the green light was a sense of hope for Gatsby. It reminded him that the future held endless amounts of possibility, but with all this possibility followed a big presence of history and things no one could forget. But using this green light, Gatsby was able to mold both the East and the West together, with the East representing the past he lived and the West acting as the future.

message 12: by Elise (new)

Elise | 8 comments Elise Todd
Period 2

Every young adult/teenager has a desire to explore the world around them. This desire will often contribute to the rebellion experienced by most young people. The characters in The Great Gatsby, although they are not quite as young, are victims of this desire. It is the sole reason they have such drive to distinguish themselves to their loved ones and society. Nick says that they might have been "inadaptable to eastern life" (177), but perhaps that is something they needed to see for themselves in order for them to realize that it didn't work.

For those that stay home and remain near to their birthplace, they will eventually lack the life experience that is necessary to live a full life. On the other hand, one should not completely disconnect from one's family and hometown. Those roots are there for a reason. They hold us down when we get so caught up in our own lives that we lose our empathy. But it does happen often when we leave our homes, and move to a city. This is what happened to the characters in The Great Gatsby. They were simply drawn to the lifestyle of the East because they hadn't experienced it before. Their mistake was that they were so focused on their future that they forgot to acknowledge their past. Nick says “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” (36) He knew that it is healthy to have a mixture of new and old. When it comes down to it, the amount of each depends on the individual. Nobody can tell you how to live your life. What matters is if you decide and come to the conclusion on your own.

message 13: by Isa (new)

Isa Harris | 7 comments Isa Harris: Period 2
Within The Great Gatsby the past and future played major roles throughout the novel. Each character is plagued with redefining themselves as they live in a city where riches matter more than love. The West was where everyone longed to wind up, whereas the East acted as a place of comfort and remembrance. Gatsby speaks of the past quite often and his relationship to Daisy; For example, in chapter 6 Fitzgerald writes, "You can't repeat the past." "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" (110) Gatsby wants to relive his past and change the course of Daisy and his love story. Caraway narrates and speaks about Jay Gatsby's confused and disordered life and how he desires to recover an old idea of himself. As the piece progresses each character strays from their humble beginnings and seek adventure. They are held back by social norms and where they come from, but each strive to move forward and live 'rich' and fulfilling lives.
East Egg represents the old aristocracy of New York, but West Egg defines the newly rich and socially accustomed showing two differing places on a map. Gatsby always found a sense of hope in relation to his two homes which was the green light. This light symbolizes the future, moving forward, and "forgetting" the past. Gatsby's rambunctious lifestyle was his way of filling the void of love he had lost. For him this green light lent him the strength to carry on and grow as a human being, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (180) He blended his two lives together, East Egg his notable past and West Egg his 'future.'

message 14: by Molly (last edited Jun 27, 2016 09:04PM) (new)

Molly Worford | 7 comments Molly Worford; Period 1
In the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald addresses the difficulties of balancing the need to seek adventure with remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood through the novel’s symbolic setting as well as the character’s relationships with one another. The story revolves around the inhabitants of two contrasting locations: East Egg and West Egg. East egg signifies the wealthy elite of traditional and respectable families, with “white palaces” (5) and “colonial mansions” (6). These people come from an established line of inheritance. West Egg, on the other hand, represents new wealth, and is described as the “less fashionable of the two” (5). These locations embody adventure (West Egg) vs home (East Egg) and drive the theme throughout the novel.

The juxtaposition between the two locations is emphasized by Gatsby himself. A man of relatively new wealth, Gatsby gained economic success and a plush mansion to go with it. The extravagant parties that he throws show the adventure and excitement that goes along with West Egg, with people from all around New York coming by in search of adventure. All kinds of people “got into automobiles which bore them out to Long Island, and somehow ended up at Gatsby’s door” (41). Gatsby is the embodiment of West Egg, and the theme of staying faithful to one’s childhood home is conveyed through the relationships that Gatsby has. Tom, Daisy, and Jordan are all inhabitants of East Egg who leave their comfort zone after getting sucked into Gatsby’s world. However, when Daisy decides to stay with Tom instead of leaving him to be with Gatsby, she epitomizes the idea of staying faithful to one’s home. In the end, this is a choice that each character makes in turn, leaving behind the idea of Gatsby and West Egg and the excitement that was brought with them. Nick Carraway left New York to return home, and Tom and Daisy disappeared from contact with him. The novel detailed the excitement of leaving one’s home in search of adventure, but showed that a delicate balance must be maintained in order to keep sane. In the end, it became more important to stay faithful to one’s birthplace.

message 15: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bridgeygelato) | 7 comments Bridget Galaty
Period 2

In leaving one’s home, there is a great prospect of adventure. Whether this comes as a short trip to a neighboring city or an extended relocation for college or a job, in going to a new place, one is sure to encounter new experiences. For some, this change is thrilling, and they quickly adapt to their new surroundings; many others shudder at the idea of change and maintain a tight hold of the known. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby shows the inherent flaws of both approaches.
Jay Gatsby is a prime example of the first type of person. It is revealed that Gatsby came from a poor Western family, raised in a working-class background (98). Upon moving to the East, he seeks to adopt the grandeur of his new world, holding lavish parties and living in an enormous house. In adapting, Gatsby loses the sensitive quality of his past. He has made few true friendships as evidenced by that fact that many had attended Gatsby’s parties, celebrating him and his actions, but at the time of his death, Nick is the only one left who actually seems to care (164). Gatsby is unable to escape the superficial persona that he has created and is stuck in the role of an idol rather than a person.
Daisy shows the downfalls of inadaptability to a new environment. In the East, it is expected that a wife be doting and refined. Daisy attempts to fit this role, holding fancy dinner parties (8) and owning a nice car with a chauffeur (85), but it is clear in her interactions with Nick and Gatsby that she remains tied to a simpler, more delicate, past (89). Her inability to accept the East and its ways is much of what drives apart her relationship with Tom (130). This weakness makes her meek and distances her from the rest of the characters.
No one in The Great Gatsby truly achieves a balance of the ideals, and this is their primary downfall. In order to survive in a new and different environment, one must embrace the culture of the new place, but must also retain a sense of their past. To do so allows one to maintain a certain individuality while not being entirely out of place.

message 16: by Alec (new)

Alec | 7 comments Alec Farmer

The human psyche often yearns for experiences. This thirst can be quenched in a number of ways. Some individuals choose a way that deals with repetition in life, and thus allows for personal interactions to be the source of their experiences. Whereas others may take the more adventurous lifestyle, obtaining experiences through new people, places, and events. F. Scott Fitzgerald seems to take interest in these two vastly different lifestyles, and offers his opinion on the issue in his early 20th century masterpiece The Great Gatsby. The different characters throughout the novel seem to be pushed and pulled as their new Eastern/New York lifestyle comes in opposition with their Western upbringing; however, Fitzgerald does not decide that one is inherently better, but that a balance of the two of them is the best way to quench the thirst for experience.

Fitzgerald establishes these two differing lifestyles as being represented by regions of the United States. The East and more specifically New York are represented by the lifestyle of adventure and extravangance. This connection can be determined from the descriptions of Gatsby’s parties “By midnight the hilarity had increased. A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian… and between the numbers of people were doing “stunts” all over the garden,” a description which creates a lively and adventurous atmosphere (Fitzgerald 46). These descriptors are used for various aspects of the Eastern lifestyle. Fitzgerald writes of the Western lifestyle as being juxtaposed to that of the East. Gatsby’s father is a man who spent his life in West, “a solemn old man, very helpless and dismayed, bundled up in a long cheap ulster”, a description such as this is used to indicate the vast difference in these lifestyles (Fitzgerald 167). The West is shown as a place where extravagance and adventure are not imperative aspects of life; whereas, the East is a place where both adventure and extravagance thrive.

The ensemble of characters are used to demonstrate the pulling away of an individual’s birthplace in the search for adventure. The majority of the key characters come from the West, and are shown to be in search of a life of adventure in New York. Nick Carraway is the most recent arrival in West Egg, New York. He goes to Gatsby’s parties, travels to the city, witnesses various love affairs, and has very adventurous experiences; however, his narrations give glimpses into the fact that he may be missing his home “A silver curve of the moon hovered already in the western sky” (Fitzgerald 120). While serving not just as a descriptor for the setting, this line is able to draw great mental connections. The use of the silver curve creates images of a silver lining, which is used to create optimism, and the moon itself holds nostalgia for the passing of the day. Thus the line is able to serve the purpose of showing some form of nostalgia that Nick holds for the West. Over time his frustration with the departure from the life that he once knew becomes very apparent “I’d had enough of all of them for one day,” the quotation demonstrates how the continual search for adventure and abandoning of Nick Carraway’s upbringing had sickened him (Fitzgerald 142). This frustration culminates into Nick’s view of the East as being a place where a woman may die and people may act as if they know her, but in reality “no one knows the woman’s name, and no one cares” a disturbing bit of narration to show that out East the narrator believes people don’t establish the relationships found in the west (Fitzgerald 176). Gatsby is another character who can be studied in order to show this ideological battle, and more specifically Gatsby’s death. Upon the arrival of the Gatsby’s father, there is an immediate shift in culture and tone. At first the father suggests that the body should stay in the East as “Jimmy always liked it better down East. He rose up to his position in the East”, and this is very telling as Gatsby’s sense of adventure not only caused him to create a new identity for himself but it also allowed him to rise and live a life luxury (Fitzgerald 168). But when the funeral had actually arrived Nick Carraway described how “I began to look involuntarily out the windows for other cars. So did Gatsby’s father… Nobody came”, this quotation serves to exemplify how the Western lifestyle that accompanied both the father and Nick Carraway led them to believe that other people would show up for Gatsby’s funeral, but they did not (Fitzgerald 174). This serves as a cautionary tale seeing as while Fitzgerald does show the importance of adventure and new experiences in life, as Gatsby had in the East, but if one is to lose their connection to their upbringing they may lose who they are and what values are important to them.

message 17: by Josette (new)

Josette Axne | 7 comments Josette Axne Period 2

In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream is a recurring theme throughout the novel. Each character is connected to the goal of living the American Dream by the use of the motifs of the East and West Egg. In chapter 9 Nick goes through a lengthy stream of consciousness of himself, he states “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all-Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.” (184) This important quote in the novel brings the motif of the East and West Egg to a conclusion.
The East Egg is full of people and families that always had money. It is full of innocent people who have been consumed by the concept of the American Dream as something they should hope and strive for since they have been consumed by money, and possession. In The Great Gatsby Tom and Daisy Buchanan are a family of the East Egg. Tom was born into a wealthy family and Daisy married into the “American Dream” because of the money, stability, the livelihood, and easiness of it. In the novel, East Egg is portrayed as shady and unethical compared to the West Egg. The West Egg on the other hand is described as “less fashionable” that have “wide lawns and friendly trees” (9-10). People who live in the West Egg aren't completely captivated by the ideals of the American Dream and how there is good moral and ethics to live by. Nick Carraway does live by the idea to have good morals and ethics, and that is why he helps Gatsby out with Daisy and declines Gatsby’s offer of a job to make more money because he has dignity. Nick struggles with the idea of seeking adventure but remaining faithful throughout the novel, which is why he becomes afraid of the East after Gatsby’s death. “...the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of coordination.” (176) The East was misrepresented beyond Nick’s eyes of the truth. The East was actually an image that was full of corruption, and the portrayal of beauty and wealth was just there to hide the image. After the funeral of Gatsby, Nick moved back to the Midwest because he figured out that the artificial values in the East consumed people so much that it gave them hope but in the end destroyed it, and I believe Nick was on that way to destruction but backed out in time because he saw Gatsby seek out the East because of Daisy and saw all the corruption that lead with it.
Gatsby should have lived in the East Egg because of the money but since he was so focused on repeating the past and trying to portray a version of the American Dream which he was using to get Daisy to fall in love him he lost his morals and ethics which resulted in him getting killed. Even though Gatsby shows off with his wealth and tries to fit in the "aristocratic" society, the fact that he is living in West Egg, shows that the distance between East and West does not become smaller.
So when it is said that The Great Gatsby is a story of the West, all 5 of those characters all are from some part of the west. Each of them are living in the East and are trying to grasp the concept of the American Dream but in the end sees the false image and return back to the West, and to good morals and ethics.

message 18: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Stoker | 7 comments Nadia Stoker
Period 1
The character Nick Carraway represents the tethered feeling to a home/hearth and the need to branch away from this place in The Great Gatsby. Following Gatsby’s death, Nick reflects upon his time in the East and he is attuned to the changes it has caused within his own identity as well as which elements of both places he identifies with most in the end. “We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back from dinner through the cold vestibules, utterly aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour, before we melted indistinguishably into it again,”(175-176). In this excerpt, it is evident that Nick is very self-aware of the relationship he has to his surroundings. He realizes that there are moments during which he feels an intense feeling of “home” or belonging to a place. Nick goes on to discuss his relationship to his birthplace by saying, “That’s my Middle West--not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow.” This description of the Middle West pays careful attention to the feeling of youth and returning to the comfort and familiarity of a place you know well; of a place that knows you just as well in return. With the images of winter time, Nick expresses that it is feelings and items and occurrences that can make a place feel like home rather than a location on the planet. He doesn’t identify with the stereotypical representation of the Middle West with its prairies and wheat, but rather the childhood he experienced there and what meaning that has been instilled in that place.
The characteristics of the place in which you dwell define your feelings toward it which can be further exemplified by Nick’s relationship with the East. “Even when the East excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old--even then it had always for me a quality of distortion,”(176). In this excerpt, Nick acknowledges that the wealth and extravagance that the East promises is indeed enticing, but he will always belong to the West within his identity despite the flaws it does possess. The balance between home and abroad is maintained when Nick realizes he must return to his true home though some parts of him identify with the excitement of the East.

message 19: by Chiara (new)

Chiara | 7 comments Chiara Walz
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the east and west to represent two different lifestyles in which the characters deal with the balance of adventure and staying faithful to one’s birthplace. The east represents old money, the elite, and corruption, whereas the west represents new money, opportunities, and ambition. Nick and Gatsby both live on the West Egg where the people have made money from their ambition in opportunities like buying bonds, or being self-reliant. Daisy, Nick, Tom, Jordan and Gatsby are all originally from the west, however they all move to the eastern Unites States. In the story Daisy and Tom live on the East Egg where they are attracted to the glamour and success.The East is an upper class society, and the wealth is often old family money; Tom and Daisy come from an established family, therefore fit into the east. In the Great Gatsby Tom and Daisy Buchanan have become easterners who have been corrupted by the culture; they have lost the values from their birthplace while addapting to the eastern lifestyle.
Nick prefers living on the West Egg; he talks about how the long cold winters bring the westerners together. The east is superficial and corrupt. For example, Myltle has her apartment in New York where her and Tom meet. The east is also where most illegal business is done, and most importantly this is where the battle over Daisy happens between Gatsby and Tom. After Gatsby dies, Nick returns to the west in order to find his previous culture from his birthplace after the chaotic adventure of Gatsby ends. The Great Gatsby is a story where the east is a place of adventure, and the west is the birthplace of the characters; they struggle to find a medium of the two. “ I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all-Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.” (176)

message 20: by Brynn (new)

Brynn Gauthier | 7 comments Brynn Gauthier
Period 2
Our adventures are often marked by the pursuit of truth. This has always made me curious about how we define all of our experiences before we decide we are, indeed, venturing. Are we false until the moment we decide something is unfamiliar? And so what happens when your ventures lead you somewhere marked by artifice? When truth in this reality is elusive and diaphanous, impressionable to selfishness and privilege and theatricality?

In The Great Gatsby, Jimmy Gatz is faced with a reality in which truth refuses to be real. And that is preferable. It comes with money and a dream and a girl, or at least the possibility of this girl. It comes with “a universe of ineffable gaudiness” and “turbulent riot” that for so long only persisted as “a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing” (99). It comes with being Jay Gatsby and a refutation of his childhood, of a given actuality. Jimmy Gatz’s truth was “loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn green jersey and a pair of canvas pants” (98). Gatsby was the man “who borrowed a rowboat, pulled out to the Tuolomee, and informed Cody that a win might catch him and break him up in half an hour” (98).

Gatsby balances a level of loyalty to his past in his understanding of what it is like to not live in excess, to not be intoxicated by feverish carelessness and unhindered volatility. The truth he has contrived in the effacement of his past continues to inform his present invention. Gatsby is a product of a dreamer, an exaggerated and vivid and effervescent whimsy. He recognizes his roots, he remembers his roots, he blames his roots, he refuses the implications of his roots, and he seeks distance from these roots. That is his balance. The balance of a truth beyond his control and the truth he has created. The balance exists because Jimmy never truly is Gatsby. A parallel to the American Dream and it’s tired and flirtatious and fatal pursuit, Gatsby is in a constant process of being defined. And in his definition, Jimmy is continuing to imagine how to further distance Gatsby from Jimmy. So one cannot exist without the other. Jay Gatsby, after all, was “the conception he was faithful to the end” (98).

message 21: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 7 comments Hannah Patrick, Period 1

In The Great Gatsby, one of the main themes Fitzgerald touches upon is the conflict between East and West, birthplace and adventure, doing so through the microcosm of East Egg and West Egg. Fitzgerald describes East Egg as a place of old money, with "colonial mansions" (6) and “white palaces” (5), meaning it's inhabitants come from long lines of inheritance. Contrast this with West Egg, "the less fashionable of the two" (5), full of inhabitants like Gatsby who recently acquired their wealth rather than being born with it.

Jordan, Daisy, and Tom are representative of the East Egg, people who came from wealthy backgrounds and are continuing to be faithful to their birthplace by living lives of sophistication in the East. Nick, a person who embodies the adventure of West Egg, says he feels "uncivilized" in the East (12). Along with Gatsby, Nick represents the ideals of adventure and creating one's own life embodies by the West. However, while the East is regarded as more sophisticated, it also has fallen victim to more corruption relating to wealth while the West is illustrated as a place of moral purity despite being less sophisticated. When Gatsby gained a huge amount of wealth to impress Daisy it was representative of the Western ideals of self-made life and morally pure love based on connection between two people rather than background. However when Daisy left Gatsby to marry Tom, a fellow Easterner with a background of wealth, it illustrated the Eastern ideals of staying true to one's birth place and marriage based on money which can be argued as more morally corrupt.

This contrast is most likely related to the time period Gatsby takes place in. During the 1920s, the government became much more tied to money and large corporations, along with the idea of the American dream, inevitably turning society towards a certain level of corruption. This is in contrast to the older idea of the American dream, which was creating a better life for oneself, tied very closely to Westward expansion. Fitzgerald is from "the lost generation," a group of writers who were caught in between two very different Americas and two very different American dreams, which Fitzgerald expresses through the dichotomy of East and West Egg. Expressing the conflict between adventure and faith to one's birthplace through the characters in Gatsby reflected Fitzgerald's own conflict in the changing times of the twenties.

message 22: by Veronica (new)

Veronica (veeleen) Veronica Nation, period 1

Every person, in some form of the phrase, seeks adventure. Where to venture to, however, is entirely varied, as each person’s mind works differently from another’s. There are those who believe that they will always stay in the place they grew up in, partly because that’s all they know, and mostly because it feels like home. On the contrary, there are those who wish nothing more than to leave their hometown, to find themselves somewhere else. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, similar to the characters of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Like Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and, of course, Nick Carraway, the majority of the inexperienced and hopeful new onlookers will find themselves straying in between their original homes and their newfound homes.

Take Nick Carraway who finds himself stuck between East and West Egg, the two different cities that are the main settings of the book. On one hand, the Minnesotan man is comfortable living cheap, quiet, and out of the way in West Egg, while his cousin and cousin-in-law over on East Egg are more into the party aspects of life. Visiting, Nick finds himself both interested and tired of the drinking and dancing of East Egg, always returning to West Egg, even if he does it “waiting for the four o’clock train” (42).

The important thing to remember is that people often return to their roots, to where they feel comfortable and safe. However, it is necessary to venture outwards because it opens up new opportunities. Nick in East Egg is the necessary adventure, but his home is West Egg and he always returns to it because it is what he knows and how he copes with change.

message 23: by Devan (new)

Devan Nagy | 7 comments Devan Nagy
Period 2

Individuals constantly search for a sense of home in an unfamiliar place. When branching out to a new location, people often look for ways to hold ground to their roots as they gain new experiences. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, character Nick Carraway represents the delicate balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s childhood. When Nick is reflecting on his life at the end of the novel, he says that “even when the East excited [him] the most, even when [he] was aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio...even then it had always for [him] a quality of distortion”(176). Nick is describing how despite his understanding of the luxury that comes with the wealth of East Egg and the new adventure involved in being in its presence, he desires the feeling of home. While he is daydreaming about the opportunities that come with seeking East Egg, he reminds himself of the importance to remain faithful to his home of the Mid West. These contrasting thoughts therefore provide a balance for his life and how he chooses to use his new wealth. Nick is able to find the feeling of home when adventuring to new locations such as New York. He says that New York is his “Middle West- not the wheat or the prairies… but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lights and sleigh bells… I am part of that… a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house”(176). Nick is understanding that he has created a balance between his past home of the Middle West and the new busy lights of the city of New York. He is able to identify the feeling of his childhood in New York without the scenery that would usually be associated with it. He does not throw away the idea of home but instead welcomes it in the new location he is living in. Therefore the balance of seeking new locations while maintaining an attachment to one’s birthplace is seen through Nick realizing that the luxury of the East does not satisfy his need for gaining a feeling of presence from the Middle West.

message 24: by Rose (new)

Rose Cobb | 8 comments In many ways, the Novel The Great Gatsby is a piece exploring the theme of self definition, and how to maintain one's roots in tandem with the insatiable craving for adventure and purpose. Just as many of Fitzgerald's works, he navigates this concept though the notion of wealth and those who have attained it, in stark opposition to the backgrounds of many of his characters, who hail not from wealth, but rather it's counterpart. Within this particular story, the humble origin from which many of his characters hail is the Western United States, particularly the American Midwest. Nick is from Minnesota, Daisy from Louisville, James Gatsby from a n agricultural background in North Dakota. The Midwest, by this time, had been established as a hub of both agricultural and mass production factory endeavors, as opposed to the Economic and Political Hub of New England. This is simplified by Fitzgerald as the differentiation between East and West being described as quite simply a dichotomy of new money and old money. This is in line with the American Ideal of the West being established as a plane of rugged individualism and hard fought opportunity, where one could obtain success, but only with considerable ingenuity. This story deals most heavily with the concept of the East though, the unattainable and intrinsic lavish of old money. Right from the get go, the east is established as the more desirable of the two, depicted as such: "Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of Fashionable East Egg glittered along the water" (5). The homes and residents of east egg are often described as desirable, or fashionable, and idealized to no end. This is particularly prevalent in the relationship between the Characters Daisy and Gatsby. He is fascinated by her due to her wealth and allure, having met her when he was only a soldier, wearing his uniform around her to keep his wealth or lack thereof entirely ambiguous(53). To him, she represents everything he could desire, leisure, wealth, and the socialite lifestyle which he only found truly in the years before he died. It is for this reason that he strives so desperately for both her affection and lifestyle, as far from any sense of authenticity as that might have eventually led him. This speaks to the idea of adaptation between Western and Eastern Life, as James Gatsby himself forces to adapt, making money through illegitimate means, in crime, and making it out so that it looks as if he truly has been rich forever, as untrue as it might be. If there is a delicate balance to be had between staying true to ones roots, and aspiring for self reinvention, James Gatsby, or rather James Gatz, has thrown it to the wind. This is made evident through the way in which his funeral is left nearly unattended , as in his pursuit of a making a name for himself, he has established very few legitimate human connections, all for the sake of an image that eventually led to his demise.

message 25: by Evan (new)

Evan Austin | 7 comments Evan Austin
Period 1

The ultimate decision regarding settlement is based upon the aspect of familiarity. The experience of one’s childhood greatly impacts mating choices and where people end up settling. However, before final settlement begins, adventure is pertinent. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby displays this unique movement of people through the main character, Nick Carraway.

Everyone’s childhood has a significant impact on his or her subconsciously desired living environment. If a person grew up in a small town, their resulting adult life would seek the quaintness and community experienced at a young age. Yet, most people go through a circle progression in their settlement, which starts with a strong attachment to childhood, a rejection of this environment during the late teens and early twenties, and finally a search to relive the childhood surroundings. At the beginning of the novel, Carraway writes, “Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe…” (3) which portrays Nick’s rejection phase and search for an adventurous lifestyle, thus his move East. Throughout the book, Carraway constantly associates places with themes such as the East being a fast paced arena of deteriorating moral values whereas the west is a slow-moving society of traditional moral values. His desire for adventure in the fast paced East finally comes to an end in Chapter 9 when he writes, “Even when the East excited me most… it had always for me a quality of distortion… [so] I decided to come back home,” (176). When Carraway’s yearning for adventure was finally satisfied, the return back home was inevitable.

message 26: by Ray (new)

Ray Hootman | 7 comments Ray Hootman
Period 2
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the symbols of West Egg and East Egg to comment on the delicate balance between finding adventure and staying truthful to one's roots, and also reflects on the relationship between the east and west and their inhabitants. All of the story's main characters, Daisy; Tom; Nick; Jordan; and Gatsby, are from the west and move east to find success in their perspective careers and/or fulfillment in their relationships. Daisy and Tom live in East Egg, which represents old money, and Nick and Gatsby live in West Egg which represents new money. East Egg is home to the inherently rich, and West Egg is where new comers and some working class citizens live. These neighborhoods are parallels to the American east and west. Since America's foundation, the west has always been a place for new comers. The wild west was new territory, which directly correlates to the idea of new money. For example, a vast quantity of people migrated to California during the gold rush, in hopes of striking gold. This can be connected with Nick's movement to West Egg in hopes to further his career in selling bonds. East Egg and the east are related in similar ways. The east coast and East Egg represents old money and those who have inherited their money from their family. Fitzgerald explains East Egg and one of it's inhabitants, Tom, by writing, "His family were enormously wealthy--even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach" (6). The Eggs are symbols of the east and west, and Fitzgerald uses these symbols to discuss the differences within the country and the balance between adventure and one's roots.

The relationship seen between the two sides of the nation and the two eggs can also be seen in the different characters. The east and west are home to two different types of people who come from different backgrounds, and have fundamentally contrasting goals and morals. This is shown through Gatsby and Tom, where Gatsby represents the west, and Tom represents the east. Tom and Daisy came from similar financial backgrounds, so it made sense for them to get married, and even though he eventually cheated on her he knew that Daisy loved him and wouldn't leave him. Tom says, "Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now" (131). Gatsby on the other hand had to work for his money, and had to work to gain love from Daisy. Gatsby says, "She only married you because I was poor" (130). These contrasting approaches lead to conflict between the characters and also symbolizes conflict between the east and west and their ideals.
Even though our main characters have found some success in the east, they can't seem to adapt, which is reflected in their inability to establish healthy relationships with each other. This shows that where we come from truly has an impact on the rest of our lives. It has an impact on what jobs we take, what pass time we chose to partake in, and the people we surround ourselves with. It shows that even when we leave home, parts of it are always with us. This novel teaches us that their is no place that can replace a true home. In fact, Gatsby journeyed in order to find a piece of home that was left in Daisy. There is a fragile balance between experiencing new things and staying connected to your roots, but often we find that there is no place like home.

message 27: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 7 comments Kyle Friesen
Period 1

Sense of place has a strong bearing on our identity and The Great Gatsby confirms this. Throughout the book, different characters are either tethered to the places they frequent or make judgements and decisions based on where they are. From the beginning of the book, Nick makes pointed delineations between East Egg and West Egg (22), and in the following scene, place is discussed a lot as Jordan talks about California and Tom has to deal with business from Chicago. In this way, Fitzgerald develops characters based on where they are and how they see their surroundings.
The contrast of birthplace to the rest of the unfamiliar world is really an exercise in identity, then, as moving from place to place changes our sense of place. Staying at home would mean a singular world view and an identity based around that world view. Seeking adventure is a way of experimentation that, while having incredible potential awards, could bring danger into our lives in both a literal or figurative sense. When Nick talks about the leading character’s “deficiency in common”, Fitzgerald is saying that these characters put themselves at odds with each other because they didn’t understand something about their interactions with each other, probably based on their own personal beliefs and identities-especially those surrounding their sense of place. Not to say that the setting of the book is the sole reason for the conflict of the plot, just that where these characters were put them in the mindset to be in the situation that they were in. For instance, Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy’s house, specifically the green light on her dock, as an “enchanting object” (88) led him to romanticize a possible romantic relationship with Daisy, which drove the plot towards the events in chapter 7.
So in the end, experimenting with identity can be healthy and wise from time to time, and changing setting can be an efficient way to do that. However, like a lot of things in life, an element of pragmatism must kept up in order to keep our lives together, or else romanticized, uncommunicated conflicts like those in The Great Gatsby are bound to happen.

message 28: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Ripley | 7 comments Jackson Ripley
P. 2

Especially towards the end of the novel, the characters' origins are reflected at great length. Though it was revealed long ago that "[Gatsby's] parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people..." (98), Carraway's roots lay in some small town in the Midwest, Daisy had always lived a priviliged life, and her husband even more so, few neglect their past as much as Gatsby. In the early stages of their friendship, he even lies to Nick, claiming "I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West--all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years." (65).

Nick constantly uses his simple background to compare his own upbringing to those of Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. In this way both he and Daisy are the most loyal to their homeland, with a constant need to return just for the sake of there own sanity. Daisy often speaks of going back to her friends in Chicago, and Nick simply wishes to return to the simple farm life of the Middle West, as he feels that the bombastic Long Island Sound is not for him. Such a life is better suited for men like Gatsby and Buchanan, who enjoy the company of others, if for nothing else than to show off their great estates and wealth.

Early in the narrative, Nick finds that his move East was one of necessity, as his quiet Midwest home had become "...the ragged edge of the universe-- so [he] decided to go East..." (3). However he does not go East in search of adventure. Of course he has Daisy there, but his primary drive was to make some money, live simply, and eventually return to a more familiar setting. His residence at West Egg was never permanent. This alone implies an inherent loyalty to his homeland, but negates any desire for adventurous pursuits. Daisy undoubtedly is the more adventurous, always wanting to race around in fast cars, go into town on hot days, and attend Gatsby's parties (though the primary reason for this, of course, may simply be to see Gatsby). But this attraction to adventure is complimented by her own desire for the familiar, this time though, centered around Gatsby, as many things are. When he left to fight in the war, she waited for his return, turning away new suiters coming to take her away. She of course turned these men away, holding out for Gatsby's homecoming. This is her "homeland," and this feeling of youth and familiarity is what she wants to return to throughout the novel. She remains loyal to this idea of home, just as Nick remains loyal to his humble roots.

message 29: by Greer (last edited Jun 30, 2016 07:14AM) (new)

Greer Ramsey-White | 7 comments Greer Ramsey-White
Period 1

It is within human nature to be curious. Curiosity leads us all to wonder and dream, and then in turn, pursue in seeking for the unknown answers. This pursuit of adventure only leads to growth, whether it strikes victorious or futile, as we thrive on experiences. We as humans are at constant battle, within ourselves, of trusting whether or not to venture into this unknown as it can fail, or be of benefit. To balance this contradiction, we utilize what is most familiar to us as a safety net to use in the utmost uncomfortable settings. This safety net allows us to feel a sense of control and validate the dauntless decisions we make. Where we feel alienated is when we seek the most comfort back to where we have already established a sense of identity and morals. F. Scott Fitzgerald highlights this aspect through his characters in his novel The Great Gatsby as they yearn for the fast, luxurious lifestyle of the East in New York, yet yield back to their roots that had been grounded in the West that compensate for their lack of adapt to the East.

Although Gatsby seems to have it all – fame and fortune – he lacks relations with almost everyone from the east until Nick arrives. Fitzgerald writes, “[...] my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes” (50) where Gatsby is shown to alienate himself at his own parties due to the short of any connection with people. Where his past comes to play is in the comfort of his love, Daisy. As it is revealed later in the novel that the only reason Gatsby came out to Long Island was to reunite with Daisy (Fitzgerald 78), he sinks back upon that time with Daisy where he was most in love and comfortable with his life. Gatsby is shown to long back for the west as he ultimately fails to sustain a content life in the east: “What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?” (Fitzgerald 150).

The narrator, Nick Carraway, also exemplifies a balance between adventure and origin. Nick shows to have traveled to the east in order to gain a sense of fulfillment in quest of something new: “the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe – so I decided to go East and learn the bond business” (Fitzgerald 3). Although he begins with this crave of a new lifestyle, Nick ultimately ends up returning home to the West as he realized the East just wasn’t for him as “it had always for me a quality of distortion” (Fitzgerald 176).

The existential crisis the characters face – as they seek for adventure, but not sustain full satisfaction – derives from the contradictory values the West and the East stand for (the East being wealthy lifestyle while the West, traditional). With finding one’s roots once again, instills a regaining of one’s sense of self. Without it, the loss of a sense of meaning and drive can alter one’s identity.

message 30: by Kate (new)

Kate Hartshorn | 7 comments Kate Hartshorn, Period 1

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby revolves around the adventurous character Jay Gatsby. While Gatsby does not always actively seek new adventures, he creates ones for those around him with his various parties and business endeavours. In his own life, Mr. Gatsby was able to completely reinvent himself, changing everything including his name to pursue, “his Platonic conception of himself.” (104). In his new life he meets people and has opportunities that he could have never dreamed about if he was still James Gatz.

Balancing his past and present selves allows Gatsby to find moments where he truly treasures his life and finds awe in all that he is able to have. While he initially seems to have disregarded his past Daisy reminds him that some of his desires will always be just out of reach. Their relationship and different roots contribute to Fitzgerald’s reflection on origin and flight to greater opportunity in his novel.

Although he initially fled from his childhood, and everything associated with his past life, Gatsby later recognized its value in shaping him as a person. If Gatsby had never needed to work for an entirely new life, then he would never value his success or have the mindset that hard work would get him what he wanted. This relates specifically to his relationship with Daisy; he is patient enough to wait for her, but still does everything he can to get her sooner. As Mr. Carraway says, “‘Gatsby bought the house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.”” (83).

Gatsby’s later returns to his past are voiced by his father who says, “Of course we broke up when he run off from home but I see now there was a reason for it. He knew he had a big future in front of him. And ever since he made a success he was very generous with me.” (181). The two sides of Mr. Gatsby, his past and present selves are brought together in his connection to Daisy. Around her he still feels his boyhood wonder of witnessing a lifestyle so different from his own, but he appreciates it in his current state as someone who has worked to achieve the life he wanted.

When Mr. Gatsby’s adventures eventually kill him his past returns in the shape of his father, Mr. Gatz. In a way, this represents that Mr. Gatsby’s past was always with him. After his death, no one in his new life other than Nick was there for him. He was abandoned, with only his father and Nick to offer support. Mr. Gatsby may have created an entirely new life in his adventure to becoming a new man, but in truth all that he really had to fall back on was his past.

message 31: by Hana (new)

Hana Lauer | 3 comments Hana Lauer
Period 2

In the book, The Great Gatsby, it can be seen how crucial the delicate balance of seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood is to the main characters. Daisy, Tom, Jordan and Nick all knew this aspect and kept the West close to them as being a “safe haven” to go back to whenever a problem might occur. For example, Tom and Myrtle had a backup plan of going back to the west if something happened with Daisy founding out about the affair. Also, at the end of the book, Nick decides to move back to the west after all the crazy things that happened in the east. All of the characters, knew this balance of seeking adventure but being faithful to their original home except for Gatsby. Instead of using the west as a “safe haven” like the rest of the characters he completely cut off his home life and only seeked adventure like when he traveled around on a yacht for 2 years. He never went home. And when a memory of his past comes to visit him, his father, rewarding him with buying him house; Gatsby doesn’t even give the decency to let his father into the house. This shows that Gatsby does not take care of a balance between adventure and home by totally discarding home. This imbalance leads Gatsby to a very lonely life considering that he doesn’t know anyone in the East since he didn’t grow up there, people from the East did not know him; many though “He doesn’t want any trouble with anybody.”(p. 43). The result of Gatsby living a miserable, lonely life proves that it is needed to have a balance between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood.

message 32: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Schwartzberg | 7 comments Jacob Schwartzberg
The main difference between Jay gatsby and Nick is made apparent through this quote. Nick becomes conscious of the moral confusion that the East is engulfed by and feels that the constant comparison with the West means that it is a story largely based on that side despite the novel setting being predominantly on the East. On the other hand, Gatsby is living lavishly without cares of long term plans or thought-out goals. This is juxtaposed to how Nick reminisces about the relaxed and cultured lifestyle that the East aspires to be yet the West successfully provides and ends up moving back.

This is evident of the tension and discomfort that can arise from clashing allegiances of origination and habitation. Whereas some pursue adventure and others look to continue on within the roots with which they were brought up in, The Great Gatsby is a novel which highlights the delicate nature of striking this balance. Having lived in Colorado my entire life, my journey is yet to be flavored with any home other than my birthplace which creates an inclination to desire that journey even more. Unlike where the East was always compared to the West, my experiences have had little to be likened to, thus teasing what could be as opposed to opening my eyes to what really is.

message 33: by John (new)

John Bickle | 7 comments John Bickle
Period 1

Yearning for excitement and thrill is a very normal human concept; all people have some desire to be excited. This sensation can quickly become overwhelming, and people can come to be lost on their paths towards adventure. In order to balance the often terrifying experiences included in these adventures, humans tend to return to their roots. In returning home, comfort is restored, and this balance is achieved. As people grow and mature, they almost always undergo a certain degree of rebellion, often turning into lust for the new and exciting, the desire for adventure previously described. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, exemplifies this desire, primarily through its narrator, Nick Carraway, and his changing ideas concerning his place of residence.

In the beginning of the novel, Nick already has a desire for the exciting lifestyle of the East. Upon returning from World War I, Nick states that his home in the West, “instead of being the warm center of the world... now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so [he] decided to go East” (3). The war made him restless, and being the young person that he was, he desired excitement and thrills, two things the East could provide. The West, to Carraway, symbolizes his youth—innocent and peaceful. The East, however, symbolizes the fast-paced, exciting, and restless lifestyle he now desires. Other characters also show this restless desire for thrills, such as Tom Buchanan, who Nick states “would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game” (6). People generally tend to become restless, in search of adventure and excitement, at some point in their lives. As they continue to age, though, they often return to the homes from which they came- nostalgia as their guide- with hopes of recreating the youth they remember so fondly.

By returning home, people can achieve a balance to their desires for adventure. In describing his memory of the West towards the end of the novel, Nick states that he associates it with “street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark,” and that he is “a little solemn with the feel of those long winters” (176). The feelings he associates with his past play a large part in his decision to return home. He continues, stating that “after Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me… distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction” (176). No longer does he yearn for the excitement and thrills that the East holds. Instead, he realizes that he is unfit for the Eastern life, ultimately deciding to return back to his home in the West. The balance he achieves between adventure seeking and childhood memories provide for Nick Carraway a life of both comfort and excitement, a balance all people naturally attempt to achieve.

message 34: by Elise (new)

Elise Norton | 3 comments Elise Norton
Period 2

On a certain level, The Great Gatsby could be approached as a coming of age novel despite Carraway’s ultimate retreat into his familiarity with Western origin. Originally, Carraway describes his Western origins as a “ragged edge of the universe” (3), prompting his adventure into the world of wealth and modern industry. It can be inferred that Carraway is originally restless with the safety of “home”, and, as any changing human is compelled to do, seeks a guileless attempt at change. He views the east as a place of prosperity. “We’ve produced all the things that go to make civilization” (13) Daisy, representative of eastern value, says to Carraway.
“You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,” (12) Carraway states upon his arrival in the East. This bestows his first insecurity about adaptation, something he doesn’t overcome until beginning an affair with Jordan (who symbolically says “I’m pretty cynical about everything” (16) ) and establishing a reputation with Gatsby. While eventually assimilated into eastern America, Carraway’s ability to emotionally assimilate deteriorates quickly as he observes more and more the emptiness of wealth, and the wealthy’s societal ability to indulge in moral corruption. While the East is described as a place of promise, Carraway realizes that this promise masks morality and authenticity, and that a changing world has no time for mindfulness. Carraway reflects, “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” (35), which is a notion towards the various spectrums of lavishness, from the decrepit yet honest Valley of Ashes to the artificial luxuries of Daisy and Tom’s residence and relationships. Modern promises and the American dream, eventually, become unsustainable.
Carraway’s growth as a character results in a recession into the place he came from. Reflecting on the east, it is said, “there are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired” (79), as well as“the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing” (99) provides insight into the artificial and precarious nature of wealth. His return to the west is not a regression, but a conscious reaction to disillusionment. “When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever,” (2) opens the book. It is this quickly introduced observation of the ordered world’s disorder that implements the west and east as symbols of honest nostalgia amidst an immersion into modern and moral disarray.

message 35: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie W-B | 8 comments Mackenzie W-B
Period 2
Fitzgerald's description of the West coast is emblematic of a faithfulness to one's birthplace, whereas the description of the East is symbolic of a spirit of adventure. As a Minnesota-raised man, Nick Carraway supposedly possesses old-fashioned midwestern values of hard work, honesty, and fairness. Even between East and West Egg on Long Island, West Egg is rich with "new money," and home to people who didn't inherit their wealth, but instead earned it. Carraway's narration serves as a grounding root throughout the novel. Even as the materialism and greed of 1920s New England overtake his surrounding environments, the narrator's voice stays reliable and trustworthy as a statement of his longlasting Western values. Throughout the novel, the West signifies humbleness and a place of centeredness for Nick Carraway. After experiencing the fast-paced lifestyle of the East, the narrator returns to his homeland as a way of staying faithful to his morals. He says, "After Gatsby's death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes' power of correction" (185). While the East offered him spontaneity, adventure, wealth, and frivolity, in the end Carraway craved the humble values of his upbringing.

In contrast, the East is representative of the spirit of adventure. Nick Carraway, and many of his friends who came from the West, initially fled the West in pursuit of something "new" in the East. With the influx of money, material things, and young people moving to the city, the East represents the collision between the desire to be carefree and the reality of careless decisions. Throughout his time in New York, Nick witnesses and partakes in the exorbitant lifestyle of the socially elite. While this lifestyle of course offers a huge sense of adventure, the narrator also sees the way that this thoughtless behavior leads to corruption. At one point Tom breaks out, "Civilization going to pieces..." (17). It could be interpreted that the quote means that the East is going to pieces, as a result of materialism and social corruption. For this reason, Nick decides to return to his home in the West once Gatsby dies, balancing his desire to experience adventure, with his lifelong need to honor his morals.

message 36: by Estee (new)

Estee | 5 comments Estee Dechtman
Period 2

Every person has a spark that drives them to achieve greatness. A spark that ignites a passion within to be adventurous and try new things. The Great Gatsby is a perfect example of how when a spark is ignited the balance between remaining faithful to ones foundation and seeking adventure can often be offset. The West is a safe and comfortable location in which simply going out about every day life is the norm. There is no mystery or adventure. There is no romance or unrequited loves. The West is safe. The Great Gatsby ignores the spark in the West and moves it to the East. He showcases how sometimes the hunger for adventure can go beyond a person and cause them to fall back into a safety net. Fitzgerald uses The Great Gatsby to display the yearning of luxury and the necessary retreat back to safety when the adventure becomes too far from their foundation and morals.

Nick has a taste of what it was like to have his spark ignited though Gatsby’s parties. He is suddenly fascinated with the rush of adrenaline that adventure provides. The East is described through the “satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye.” It is portrayed as fast moving, “sharply different from the West, where an evening was hurried from phase to phase toward its close.” Nick is astonished by the vast difference in the east through its fast pace and never ending acts of rebellion. When discussing Tom’s affair he notes that instead of going to the west “it'd be more discreet to go to Europe.” This new way of life in the east begins to alter Nick’s morals by creating a more rebellious outlook on life. However, despite the slight modification in his behavior he stays true to the foundation in which he is from. The west and its less promiscuous lifestyle is rooted deep down in each character, and although the scenery may change, their values do not.

The Great Gatsby showcases the lesson of being cognizant in the balance between your morals and your yearn for adventure. Nick “was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” This quote displays how Nick created his balance of the east and the west. It is not simply half and half, it is specific for each person and the foundation they come from.

message 37: by Tanner (last edited Jun 30, 2016 07:08PM) (new)

Tanner Gardner | 7 comments Tanner Gardner, Period 1

The conflict between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood is shown through the neighborhoods of East and West Egg in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. East Egg, where Daisy and Tom live, can be seen as "old money" whereas West Egg, the home of Nick Carraway, represents "new money." While Carraway explains that West Egg is "the less fashionable of the two" and that "the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water" (5), Gatsby still resides in his mansion in West Egg, the less luxurious of the neighborhoods. The green light he watches is located across the bay in East Egg, which symbolizes Gatsby's goal to strive towards more and seek adventure. This is shown through his love for Daisy and his fascination with the light across the bay.

The juxtaposition between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to one’s birthplace/childhood can also be seen through Nick Carraway's journey to the East from his Midwestern roots before the novel. He explains after returning from war, "Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so I decided to go East and learn bond business" (3). When Nick moved to the city, he satisfied his sense of adventure while distancing himself from his ancestral roots.

Both the characters of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway experience the contrast between seeking adventure and remaining faithful to their birthplace/childhood in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby.

message 38: by Marah (new)

Marah | 7 comments Marah Herreid
Period 3

The dichotomy between the East and the West that is prevalent within the Great Gatsby is representative of many of the overall themes it contains. Nick Carraway, being of humble origins, views the two eggs as the two sides of himself: these origins in the West versus his desire to strive for something greater in the East. This is reflected in the extravagant descriptions Fitzgerald includes about the East egg, particularly when Nick is first introduced to Gatsby's lifestyle after being invited to his party. His fascination is reflected in the language he uses during this scene, i.e. "The orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier by the minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word," (40). These descriptions are far longer--the beauty expanded upon throughout the rest of the chapter--than those related to the modest lifestyles of the west egg, and thus reflect Nick's growing inclinations away from his heritage. Later, he says in regards to the west egg, "All the lights were going on... the electric trains, men carrying. were plunging home from the rain in New York. It was the hour of a profound human change," (95). This shows that the West carries a different, more raw type of excitement than that of the East--and despite its ugliness by comparison, it is equally as significant to Carraway in the sense that it, like Gatsby, has enough influence over him to change his perspective. Later this is proven by the movement of many of the characters back to the West egg following Gatsby's death. As an almost God-like figure of mystery and wealth, while he was alive, Gatsby was able to fascinate and alter the ideals of these characters into his own. Carraway's, as well as Daisy's, behaviors change greatly with regards to material wealth and adventure, but this adaptation is only a temporary result of their entrancement with this figure. Their insecurity in the East only dissipated because of their close association with Gatsby, who not only belonged but epitomized it, and after his death, allowed them to return to their former identities.

message 39: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Nichols | 7 comments Rebekah Nichols, Period 2:
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald follows the story of a young Midwestern man and his new life in the east. This change of culture and location is one of the main themes in the book and it makes the story very relatable as you get to see Nick Caraway and the people he is surrounded by adapt to their new lives. Following Nick caraway is its own specific adventure because as a reader we get to see the most personal things he chooses to keep and let go of.
From the first quote in the book from Caraway’s father about privilege and judgment, to the new things that Caraway learns from Gatsby this theme of balance and adaption rings throughout the entire novel. We see caraway learn to cope with the sheer overwhelming jungle that is New York. We also see through characters like Tom and Jordan, the push and pull, and the comparison of New York and the Midwest and what they both represent at the time the book is set.
In the end the conclusion is that there are pros and cons to each and the point is made that each man/woman has to pick and choose and make sense of the situation themselves. Like the quote mentions, Nick, Gatsby, Tom Daisy, and Jordan all represent different outcomes of the combination of the west and the east.

message 40: by Grace (new)

Grace | 4 comments Grace Burns, Period 2
Within the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Characters tries to find a balance between seeking adventure and the desire to live the American Dream with the concept of staying true to their childhood/ birthplace values and views. Fitzgerald displays and classifies the west as being an undesirable place to be at the time. All of the characters that were originally from there aimed for something better, like the upscale life that was the town of West Egg, which is east of the characters originally roots. Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel, displays the balance of keeping the views and values of his original roots, as others aren’t as lucky. Carraway describes his hometown as a cheerful and warm place; he can be characterized as a genuine person even when he moves east. Jay Gatsby can be classified as quite the opposite, selfish even; this is because the idea of the American dream and everything he could ever want to be got in his way and he had to sacrifice those views and values to be where he is today. The same applies for Daisy, as she chooses wealth over love. Although Carraway moved east after other characters he still didn’t let his old views and values leave him; he stayed true to what he knows. This might be because he didn’t let the idea of the American dream get in the way of his beliefs.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all people in this world haven’t had the advantages you have” (1). This quote displays that although Carraway had advantages that others didn’t his values were, in the end, more important. Therefore he was able to find a balance between his roots and his new home. While Gatsby and Daisy could not find a balance because they had to sacrifice aspects of their life to achieve the idealized “American Dream.”

message 41: by Bella (last edited Jun 30, 2016 09:02PM) (new)

Bella Speelman | 7 comments Bella Speelman period 2
Life is fast paced and all of us change drastically from one moment to the next. At one point or another, I believe everyone seeks adventure in one way or another, whether that be leaving home for somewhere new or a mere jaunt to somewhere unknown. It's human nature to seek adventure in life, and Fitzgerald is able to effectively illustrate the risk all the characters in the novel took in venturing into the unknown. All of the characters were “westerners”, Daisy and Jordan being from Louisville, Nick from Minnesota, Gatsby from North Dakota, and Tom from Chicago. They each sought to venture from home, moving to New York, seeking to go east in pursuit of their own “American Dream” and ended up “subtly inadaptable to Eastern life” (177).

Nick mentions in the first few pages of the novel that he felt as if he were “uncivilized” (12) even in the “less fashionable of the two (eggs)” (5) This idea is present throughout the novel, though extremely apparent in chapter nine when Nick talks of the street lights and trains and snow in the Midwest that he knows and loves. In the end of the novel, Nick comes to realize that “even when the East excited me most…it had always for me had a quality of distortion.” The East becomes a distorted place with a lifestyle too fast-paced for his liking that lacks the moral values present within Western lifestyles, which displays Nicks realization of the delicate balance between adventure and faith to one’s birthplace. As Andre Gide said, “It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves—in finding themselves.”

message 42: by Emma (new)

Emma Cohen | 7 comments Emma Cohen
Period 1
It is within human nature to long for something new. One thing for too long fosters complacency and boredom. In leaving home there is a great sense of adventure. However, the thrill of uncertainty can quickly become overwhelming. In order to balance uncontrollable nature of change people often resort to the familiarity of home. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Nick aches for the excitement of the East, but ultimately seeks to balance his desire for adventure and the comforts of the West.
Throughout the novel Fitzgerald uses the West to symbolize the inherent innocence in characters such as Tom, Gatsby, Daisy, Nik, and Jordan. Upon returning from World War I Nik feels the the West can no longer fulfill him. He views it as “the ragged edge of the universe” (3) and craves the wild restlessness of the East. He directly associates the West with traditional values and peaceful society while he views the East as a place of loose morals and high society. Ultimately, Nike’s view of the West changes as he recalls the appeal of the “street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark”(176) and the “solemn”(176) appeal of long Mid-Western winters. He finds that “after Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for (him)” and that it had “distorted (his) eyes’ power of correction”(176). The excitement of the East faded as he realized that he is unfit for the lifestyle and returns home. This enables him to reach a balanced sense of comfort and adventure that is necessary if one is to truly be at peace.

message 43: by Mia (last edited Jun 30, 2016 09:14PM) (new)

Mia Nelson | 7 comments I don't think the 'Great Gatsby' is about East and West. I think the Great Gatsby is about a collective restlessness in the time period Fitzgerald was writing in and about- 'A lost generation' of authors who found themselves educated in the 19th century way (he himself was a Princeton man, an institution long revered for its traditions) but living in the by any definition freer 20th century. These were people well versed in the bible and Shakespeare and had mothers who remember/ still wore those huge poofy ankle length dresses, but suddenly kissed girls wearing practically nothing- without even 'courting' them! This brilliant group of artists, and drunks, was the last american generation to be so educated, to be so obedient, to be so watched and fawned over in the old way- and suddenly the 20th century changed everything and they were brooding over the displacement of it all- they were given a world they were ill prepared to comprehend. New money and the newly rich were irreconcilable with their education, and women with the new freedoms they were given, were unheard of and difficult to understand in the traditional ways men and women were taught to be thought of, and throw in WW1, which most books of the 1920's recount/recall, and there is a generation wholly confused and clustered with its place in the world- seemingly stuck between new and old. So, East and West, geographically, aren't the end game of their inclusion in The Great Gatsby- their purpose is to symbolize the new (West) and the old (East.) All of the characters except Gatsby are from the middle west- which shows the lost generation's restlessness (particularly Nick's, but Daisy's and Tom's too who move from place to place as Tom moves from woman to woman) and how STUCK they are between old and new (not quite east, not quite west.) Gatsby, the true westerner, from North Dakota was the new money, was the shiny new tendrils of the 20th century- that time Fitzgerald and its cohorts couldn't find a place for themselves in- and, in what I presume to be the authors morbid way of saying he (his generation) can not fit into the west, killed Gatsby and moved all the characters out of the East (back to the middle west, where Tom and Nick would run into each other.)
The quote says, "perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly inadaptable to Eastern life," but this deficiency wasn't one of East or West, it was one of living at all. All these characters are solidly in the "Lost Generation" and therefore are in fact incapable of living in either the new or old societies. They are destined to that middle ground. Those who overcome the "Lost Generation" like Gatsby, outdo themselves and over expend and end up dead, or lonely. The fact is, Fitzgerald doesn't believe he or anyone of his time can handle the life they have- and that actually seems like a viable stance since they basically were all drunks (those famous artists of the Paris salons, Picasso, Hemingway, Stein, etc.) or sufferers of deep depressions or anxiety disorders (Zelda Fitzgerald lived in a mental facility until she burned to death when it caught fire.)
Fitzgerald finds East and West, Old and New, completely unbreachable planes that live solidly independent of each other- the old Wolfshiem couldn't go to Gatsby's funeral (Gatsby, the new.) The only character, Daisy, who tries to move between New and Old (Tom and Gatsby) practically goes crazy trying to choose between the two- she is, in a smaller way, the lost generation. East and West have very little to do with the novel beyond that they are manifestations of the places that Fitzgerald feels unwelcome- all of the novel is a rumination on that frenzied bunch of people who restlessly moved to find a place where there was none- who never outgrew their growing pains. It was not about adventure or home- they could have neither because they were denied a sense of self in the confusing time they lived in.

message 44: by Riley (new)

Riley Watson | 7 comments Riley Watson
Period 1

Two incredibly significant symbols in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby are the contrasting East and West Eggs. Each setting distinguishes its own specific traits and holds different meanings to those who visit them. “The white palaces of fashionable East Egg” (5) is the modest and more elegant area where wealthy folks, such as Gatsby, feel a sense of comfort. West Egg, on the other hand, is perceived as “the less fashionable of the two” (5) and where young party-goers travel to experience new wealth. Interestingly enough, Jay Gatsby seems to be grounded in different aspects of both East and West Egg.

In the novel’s early chapters, the reader learns about the hundreds of people, all of some significance, whom would storm Gatsby’s mansion for his spectacular parties. As Nick describes one of these infamous parties, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars” (39). It is clear that Jay Gatsby is a man of great wealth and importance to a great deal of people. Being almost the symbol of West Egg, Gatsby comes across as a character seeking new adventures and wealth. In reality, however, he only puts on this West Egg image of himself for the sake of Daisy Buchanan. When it is revealed that Gatsby had only wished for Daisy’s attention all along, he demonstrates more faith in his past, which he did once spend with her. All of his attempts to find “adventure” at West Egg was only a method to get back to his more “fashionable” and “modest” roots, similar to the traits of East Egg.

message 45: by David (new)

David Cardoza | 3 comments David Cardoza
Per 2.

In the novel, to begin with, the west is seen as a negative entity, something of a shadow of a passed life. basically it could be argued that everyone who came from there felt displaced in the west (this book, after all, was written after WWI, a time of severe displacement), and to get away from the “prominent, well-to-do”(4) people of the west seems necessary for a fresh start of free thought and behavior.

Although the characters have done their best to adjust or adapt from west to east, their initial troubles only follow, and finds them in the east, only because one cannot be estranged from their true essence. They’ve basically found new geography to continue the story in a new chapter. Gatsby retorts to Carraway's claim: “[You] Can’t repeat the past? -- why of course you can!” (111), and with this, the reader is given the information that not only is Gatsby aware that his adventurous tendencies of the west have followed, but also that they may be unpredictable. But still, the novel’s characters blend in very well within their ‘foreign’ environment. Gatsby uses his new home to his advantage to reinvent himself - something he has been doing time and time again since he was “[living] like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe”(71). And Carraway, well, sometimes you forget he’s even there as a character until his name is mentioned by Daisy or the likes. He narrates, but goes unseen.

Ultimately, adventure is chosen over a faithfulness to one’s birthplace, and with this, the characters who also surrounds themselves around Gatsby - the focal point for screwballing and bad conclusions - are also subjected towards the consequences, resulting in Gatsby’s death, and their displacement. Right back where they all started.

message 46: by Katelynn (last edited Jul 03, 2016 06:35PM) (new)

Katelynn Luchtenburg  | 7 comments Mr. Eric Mills wrote: "One of the most over-looked quotes from The Great Gatsby is: “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we..."

Katie Luchtenburg
P. 2

When Nick Carraway muses over his encounter with Tom near the end of the novel and parallels the events surrounding Nick, Jordan, Daisy, Tom and Gatsby to that of a great western he unconsciously connects the blurred moral values and faster-paced lifestyle to the East, which challenges the frame of their beings as they are all from the opposite side of the Appalachians. In staying “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly inadaptable to East”, Nick Carraway is intrinsically saying that the actions of those throughout the novel were all affected by the fast-paced and morally distorted society that they had inadvertently exposed themselves to. In this Nick practically claims that their actions were morally incorrect due to where they were, and they were no match of the East.
This musing calls into question the balance between staying true to one’s birthplace and seeking adventure, and leaves the reader with no true answer. The west, Jay Gatsby, and Nick Carraway ultimately are characterized by virtues, innocence, and decency. The East and New York is corrupt and insensitive, words that describe Tom and Daisy; they become the "careless people" (54) Gatsby detests.This moral and social decay can also be seen in the valley of ashes, as it represents how the elite indulge themselves purely for pleasure. Although Nick is exposed to a myriad of experiences throughout his time with Gatsby, he always wants to return to the West. This loyalty to his home and near catapult into the hollowness that the East hold represents Nick’s own balance between birthplace and adventure, and yet those around him all stumble and fall, losing their balance.

Gatsby's stumble into the morally unstable ground of the East is triggered entirely by his obsession with Daisy and his denial of ever being who he was at core; a poor westerner. "His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people-his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself." (98) In fully disclosing Gatsby's past, Fitzgerald that Gatsby was never faithful to his birthplace and because of this he endlessly values adventure over any loyalty (beyond basic moral loyalty) to his birthplace. The same can be seen in the way that Tom Buchanan finds no solace in his wealth or travel, and grows restless in his search for adventure, entirely loosing the honesty that originated with his birthplace. "Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart." (20) Nick Carraway is ultimately the only one who does not get lost in life's adventure and finds his way back to his birthplace roots, with scars to show from the adventuring. "We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back
from dinner through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware
of our identity with this country for one strange hour before
we melted indistinguishably into it again" (187)

message 47: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Alfrey-Bethke | 5 comments Sarah Alfrey-Bethke
Period 2
The Great Gatsby uses the east to convey a more adventurous and sometimes irresponsible way of life. The lavish parties and decadent lifestyle are contrasted with Nick’s upbringing, which he refers to as “cheerful and warm.” Nick begins the book speaking of his morals and the lessons his father taught him, and over the course of the book he falls prey to the intoxicating and dangerous lifestyle of the east. This can be seen best in the last chapter of the novel, when all of the characters are feeling the largest conflict between the lives they are living in the east and their roots and homes in the west. “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”(178). By contrasting the East and the West, Fitzgerald adds another layer to the conflict and the overall plot of his novel.

message 48: by Trinity (new)

Trinity | 7 comments Trinity Grant, Period 2
The Great Gatsby argues themes of an almost, a ‘coming of age’ like story. When Nick moves to the East, he is coming to further his dreams, and work for a life of his own. He wants to use some of his financial knowledge and put it to work. He predicts the East will be very different, and will be a place for a new beginning- a new chance at his life. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on trees, just as things grow fast in movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning all over again.” (4). To go into an even further analysis, one can make the assumption that subtle symbolism was placed later in the story. When Nick discusses his work life, he states that when he awoke to go to his job, “the sun threw my shadow westward”(56). This can represent the west is behind him, while he is working towards the East.
Nick discovers, very early on in the story, that even though he had moved to the East, western habits still linger within everyone. He expects to start anew, and leave the silly, immature traits the West held behind. “The fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons I had come East.” (19). He is immediately angered after this encounter with Daisy, and drives off to avoid the silly confrontation. Even though Nick had moved away from it all, his friends still contained aspects of the dreaded West. Subconsciously, Nick kept the drama and these people in his life because the ruckus of it all almost reminded him of his old home. He continues to work forward with his life, clearly stating that the problems his friends associated him with, “were merely casual events in a crowded summer” (55). But, Nick always falls back on the crazy people he has as friends to remind him where he came from.

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