In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald Shows the Clear Delineations Between Different Strata of Society: New Money, Old Money, Some Money, and No Money. Explain Why Fitzgerald Presents This Spectrum of Circumstances and

1522 Words Nov 21st, 2012 7 Pages
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates a divide amongst the characters by separating them into different layers of society in terms of wealth. New Money is the category in which characters have previously been poor but have gradually earned vast amounts of money; old money is the situation of some characters that have always been rich through generations. Some money and no money are clear; certain characters simply have either some money or no money.
Jay Gatsby falls under the category of New Money. Gatsby was born into a poor family and joined the army for the First World War. When Gatsby returned back to America, it had become a country transformed by prohibition; this was a period in American History when Gangsters were able to make
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Gatsby is ashamed of his deeds in getting money, he lies to Nick and tells him he was born into a rich family and went to Oxford University, and Nick however, can almost see through Gatsby and tell there’s something strange about him. Fitzgerald appears to have used this technique to make Gatsby a character that you neither like nor hate as one may admire his kindness but question his true background. One may possibly say that Gatsby is a masterful illusion this is suggested by the title, The Great Gatsby, a name similar to the names of vaudeville magicians of the era.
The Buchanans, Tom in particular fall under Old Money, this is the situation of having been born into wealth; Tom was a successful footballer and YALE Graduate, but threw his footballing ability away. Nick describes Tom as “Having such acute excellence at 21 that everything afterwards savoured of anti-climax”; this means that Tom was quite a restless character. Evidence of Tom being old money is the fact he owns a Colonial Georgian Mansion, houses were used as a symbol of wealth and status by Fitzgerald, Tom’s house is not only expensive but classic representing the fact he is of the ‘Old Money’ variety. We can also see Tom’s credible wealth when “A String of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars”, for this period that equates to a rather substantial amount of money for an item which could be regarded as unnecessary, three hundred

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