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March 01, 2006

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby by Kumamoto

Article: Kumamoto -- Jerz: American Lit II (EL 267)

"From such egg and fowl lore of antiquity, one can infer Fitxgerald's intertextual ambition to heighten the irreconcilable social gap between West Egg, with a chauffer clad "In a uniform of robin's egg blue," and East Egg, "with a single green light."

Alright, so, Obviously this is a true comparrison. However, I still am puzzled if this article is true. Gatsby was of money, whether illegally earned or not, and therefore, west egg was that of high social class. Everyone came to his parties.

Robin's egg blue which was mentioned is a beautiful color. The color green mentioned for East Egg does not give one such a sense of beauty. Tom was wealthy also. So to say that this was comparing social classes, does not make much sense to me. They both were obviously wealthy areas.

Posted by OnileeSmith at March 1, 2006 12:50 PM


You chose a very intricate quote, Onilee, and make good points about how one color (robin-egg blue)may be seen as beautiful and another (green)as not so beautiful. When I think of green, I think "Spring", i.e., newness and re-birth. Maybe FSF was subtley pointing out the re-birth of Tom & Daisy's relationship once Gatsby was out of the picture (They got the GREEN LIGHT), and of course green = $$$. Gatsby might as well have been associated with green if it were a symbol of his newly-acquired $$$, but he wasn't - was this because $$$$ wasn't the be all and end all- Daisy was? Who knows, Robin's egg blue may have been quite the fashion for chauffers in the 1920's, but now, we think of a robin-egg blue colored tux as hopelessly out of date.

It's true that everyone came to the parties, and that the guests included a least one celebrity, yet because Gatsby didn't have "old money" he was always looked down on by "old-money" Tom. I think that no matter how much $$$ Gatsby had, he would have never been truly seen as equal by snobby Tom & Daisy. Dr. Jerz's point about European lineage and the importance of having a noble ancestry despite not having a dime is right on point here. FSF Americanized this story to sadly show that there is a class structure here, and that even though individuals may rise above their birth, the upper crust still look down their noses at them. Gatsby further complicates things by hanging out with the likes of Wolfsheim, a very shady character even in the best light. Gatsby could have lived a 1000 years and still not been truly good enough.

Posted by: Brenda Christeleit at March 1, 2006 01:55 PM

Onilee, you're right that both areas were wealthy, but Fitzgerald ranks them against one another. Old money has more class than new money, as Tom points out when he calls Gatsby a nobody. This would be true regardless of whetehr the money was earned legally or otherwise.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 1, 2006 02:10 PM

I really never thought about the old money new money scenerio. That makes more sense now. I also like your idea of green being "rebirth" and the "rebirth" of Gatsby and Daisy. That is very thoughtful!

Posted by: OnileeSmith at March 1, 2006 08:37 PM

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