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09/04/2019

Please give me some examples in regards to how the social classes treat each other in The Great Gatsby?

QUESTION
Please give me some examples in regards to how the social classes treat each other in The Great Gatsby?
Hi,

I’m seventeen years old who is in Grade 11. I need help in my essay for my English Class – can you please give me some examples upon how the different social classes treat each other? I would appreciate it!

Thank you!!

ANSWER
From Shmoop Lit on The Great Gatsby:

The novel’s two main locales, West Egg and East Egg, are distinguished also by class. East Egg represents “old money” while West Egg represents the nouveau riche. East Eggers consistently look down on West Eggers for precisely this fact. Class and wealth are virtually indistinguishable from each other, but if a person lacks education, then he is clearly not part of the upper echelon.

Some examples:

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave

me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments […]. (1.1-3)
Thought: The very opening of The Great Gatsby sets the tone for a book about society and class. We know immediately that our narrator is privileged, and that he is painfully conscious of it.

“About Gatsby! No, I haven’t. I said I’d been

making a small investigation of his past.”

“And you found he was an Oxford man,” said Jordan helpfully.

“An Oxford man!” He was incredulous. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.”

“Nevertheless he’s an Oxford man.”

“Oxford, New Mexico,” snorted Tom contemptuously, “or something like that.”

“Listen, Tom. If you’re such a snob, why did you invite him to lunch?” demanded Jordan crossly.

“Daisy invited him; she knew
him before we were married – God knows where!” (7.130-136)
Thought: Tom demonstrates that wealth alone cannot win a man entrance to the upper echelons of society. They must be educated as well.