Old money stands out because their wealth comes from old family connections. New money refers to those people who make their fortune with no help. Back then, “old money” were considered elite (Daisy’s world). And “new money” was seen as less educated and elegant (Gatsby’s world).
One of the key themes in the novel is different kinds of wealth. The opposition between “old money” and “new money” is critical in the Great Gatsby. It shows a striking distinction between those two worlds. And even the portrayal of the main characters in the novel is deeply related to this theme. People with “old money” live in the neighborhood of East Egg. They are conservative and pay special attention to the customs and social connections.
Meanwhile, West Egg inhabitants are those with “new money.” They love extravagant lifestyles, and the network doesn’t bother them so much. Fitzgerald points out that “old money” is superior, so they feel more privileged.
The division between “Old Money” and “New Money” becomes an obstacle for Gatsby and Daisy’s love. They can’t be together, as Jay’s social status is vulnerable and unstable. He comes from “new money” since he made a fortune entirely on his own. Selling illegal alcohol during its total prohibition brings him a lot of money. Because of that, Daisy stays with Tom Buchanan, who has the support of his wealthy family. Everyone knows that his relatives are unbelievably rich. Moreover, he’s well-educated and belongs to a high class. Tom’s social power, background, and wealth make Daisy choose him as a life partner. Family’s needs are the top priority for her, and love fades behind.