In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates the roaring twenties by showing the division of society.The Buchanans live on one side, East Egg, and Jay Gatsby lives on the other side, West Egg.The Buchanans belong to the socialites, yet their lives have no meaning.Gatsby tries to chase the American Dream, yet his idea is tarnished.He throws parties to try and fit in with the socialites. Gatsby's idea of the American Dream is doomed because he tries to buy his way into a society that will never accept him.
Gatsby gets his idea of how to achieve the American Dream from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography (Franklin 332) In Chapter nine, Mr. Wolfshiem shows Nick an old book of Gatsby's which has a daily schedule in the back of it.Gatsby thought he could improve himself if he would "practice elocution, poise and how to attain it; read one improving book or magazine per week; and be better to parents."By planning out every minute of his day, he could attain the wealth that would win the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is a part of West Egg society.West Eggers are the newly rich; the people who have worked hard and earned their money in a short period of time.
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Their wealth is based on material possessions.Gatsby, like the West Eggers, lacks the traditions of the East Eggers."Americans easily assumed that spiritual satisfaction would automatically accompany material success."(Trask 213) Gatsby believed he could win Daisy by the possessions he owned.The first time Daisy comes to his house, the thing that Gatsby tries to impress her with is his shirts; "shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple green and lavender and faint orange . .
. "(Fitzgerald 97)Daisy replies to the assortment of shirts with, "It makes me sad because I've never seen such–such beautiful shirts before." (Fitzgerald 98)This is the first hint that Daisy is a flake.Gatsby does not understand the traditions of East Egg society and therefore he does not realize that he cannot impress Daisy simply with shirts.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan are a part of East Egg society.East Eggers have inherited their wealth and dwell on the traditions of high class society.They did not work for their money so they do not appreciate it the way West Eggers do.Like the West Eggers, East Eggers have not obtained the American Dream either.Tom is rich and has a beautiful wife and on the outside it looks like he has the perfect life.
The only problem is that he cheats on his wife with Myrtle Wilson.Myrtle's husband, George, loves her, but she is a money chaser.She says, "I thought he was a gentleman . . .
but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe . . . he borrowed somebody's best suit to get married in .
. . " (Fitzgerald 39) She couldn't appreciate the fact that George was working hard to provide for her.She just wanted money and found it in a relationship with a married man. Here Fitzgerald shows the other side of the American Dream.Myrtle has the love but not the money, and Gatsby has the money but not the love.
This soap opera could have been worked out if Tom had divorced Daisy and married Myrtle, and then Daisy could marry Gatsby.George would have been left there to die of his guilt, but everything cannot be perfect.This could not happen, though, because Myrtle did not belong to either side of the rich society.She lived beyond the valley of ashes.
Tom, being the East Egger that he is, would never marry someone of a lower class.He is with Daisy because she makes him look good. "Tom Buchanan is wealth brutalized by selfishness and arrogance . . .
" (Cowley 139) But in the end that is why Daisy choses him."The trouble with Gatsby's quest was that Daisy was completely incapable of playing the role assigned to her." (Trask 214) In Chapter Seven when Gatsby tries to persuade Daisy to declare she never loved Tom, she cannot do it.She finally gives in to Tom because she feels safe with him.She wants her life to be at the status quo again."She is as self-centered as Tom and even colder.
"(Cowley 139) At the end, instead of dealing with the deaths, she and Tom get on a plane and leave the mess for others to clean up. The events that lead up to Gatsby's death are a result of the society difference. Tom tells George that Gatsby is the one who murdered Myrtle.Because Gatsby is a West Egger, he does not care about the results of his actions.And Tom never sees George as a man, just a pawn he can control."In Fitzgerald's stories a love affair is like secret negotiations between the diplomats of two countries which are not at peace and not quite at war."(Cowley 136) Tom has an affair with Myrtle which destroys George.All along, Tom has been taunting George.