Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” is a revelation of the negative impacts of a rapidly growing economy on the society. Specifically, it shows the negative impact of wealth on the lives of the main beneficiaries of the economic growth (Bruccoli 32). Fitzgerald attempts to show how a explosion of economic activities with enormous profits destroys the lives of the beneficiaries as they try to find their dream.
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With a reflection of American’s search for an American dream with wealth and quality life, Fitzgerald portrays the corrupt society of the New York business elite as they experienced booming business in the early and mid 20th century (Bruccoli 61). In the novel, the fictional village of West Egg is perhaps one of the key items that symbolize the life of the new millionaires in the city.
In Fitzgerald’s storyline, the village of West Egg appears repeatedly in the novel and is the main scene of action. The village if first introduced to the reader when, in summer of 1922, Nick Carraway, the main character, arrives in New York from the Midwest. Carraway (Nick), a Young graduate of Yale and a veteran of the First World War, is probably in search of his American dream (Fitzgerald 12).
Apparently, the American dream is based on individualism and thirst for wealth and fame and is most likely to be realized in the city’s booming business. Therefore, he rents a small house in the village of West Egg, located on Long Island, from where he hopes to benefit from the city’s trade in bonds (Bruccoli 143).
West Egg is the home of the city’s upcoming millionaires, with lavish homes. An example is the house owned by Jay Gatsby. Like Nick, Gatsby is also in search of his American dream. Unlike Nick, Gatsby is involved in illegal business (Fitzgerald 88).
It is evident that West Egg hosts all kinds of people, provided they have money to purchase or rent the luxurious houses. However, unlike the East Egg, the upcoming village is home to newcomers in the city’s business. Therefore, it attracts all kinds of people who are seeking to enjoy the lucrative business.
The Wes Egg also appears several times in the novel because it is a symbol of love and romance among the new millionaires in the city. It is evident that this community is composed of the person from different parts of the US and the world, who settles there as they seek their American dream.
For instance, Nick is from the Midwest, Jay Gatsby is from Dakota and Wolfshiem is a Jew (Fitzgerald 124). In fact, the story reveals that the majority of the people in the Long Island are immigrants from other regions. Apart from business, the residents are deeply engrossed in the search for love and romance. The actions of some male residents such as partying and driving luxury vehicles indicate their desire to attract beautiful women.
In addition, most of them are involved in more than one relationship. Fitzgerald attempts to use the city as a symbol of the decline of the American dream in the 1920s as residents involve themselves in illicit sexual relationships that even caused death as indicated in the death of Gatsby (Fitzgerald 172).
In the modern context, readers can visualize the village in relationship to the historical rise and decline of the American dream. Using the West Egg as a model, the reader can see the impacts of a sudden economic burst on the lives of the beneficiaries. For instance, excessive business opportunities, whether legal or illegal, are likely to demoralize young people, especially due to drugs and illicit sex.
Bruccoli, Matthew. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000. Print.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s sons, 1925. Print.