1 – List the four main settings in the novel. Provide a description for each setting and explain what each setting represents.
West Egg: This is where Gatsby’s mansion is where all his extravagant parties take place, and Nick’s small house is just next door. It is in Long Island, New York. This setting represents ‘new money’ meaning the people that live here made their money later in life like Gatsby, they were not born into a wealthy family and they had to put in work to make their riches.
East Egg: This is where Tom and Daisy’s mansion is situated Long Island, New York. It is on the other side of the bay to Gatsby’s home and Gatsby can see a green light at Tom and Daisy’s house. He purposely situated his house here so he could always keep an eye on Daisy. This setting represents ‘old money’ meaning the people that live here have had their wealth for a long time. They were born into wealthy families and never had to work hard to make themselves a living.
Valley of Ashes: This is where Tom Buchanan’s affair, Myrtle who lives with her husband George Wilson who is a mechanic. The people who live here are quite poor and all work hard to make a living for themselves. This is also where the gigantic sign with a picture of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg’s look over the valley. This setting represents the pursuit of wealth as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure.
New York City: This is where Tom has his rented apartment, in which Nick goes with him to visit his secret affair, which is Myrtle Wilson. This is also where Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, Tom and Jordan go and Tom and Gatsby have their argument over who Daisy wants to be, which leads to Myrtle being killed after being hit by Gatsby’s car. This setting represents people trying to make wealth, and to quest to make riches and get pleasure.
2 – Select two of the settings from above and discuss how these settings helped you to understand the idea of illusion in the novel. Use quotes to support your ideas.
Valley of Ashes: This shows the illusion that you can’t escape the poverty life and automatically get into the wealthy lifestyle. There is two examples of this in the book. Firstly, Gatsby illegally became rich to try and get the girl that he dreamed about, this resulted in him being shot in the back of the head and killed. Then secondly, Myrtle tried to leave the Valley of Ashes when she thought she saw Tom’s car speeding past, she walked out and got hit by the car which killed her instantly.
East Egg: This setting displays an illusion as it is described as the ” more fashionable of the two,” the other being the West Egg. It is meant to be filled with happiness from all the wealth inside, when really it is filled with weak and disappointing characters. Tom and Daisy’s relationship for example, Daisy only stays with Tom for his money as she is well aware of his affairs with other woman.