- List the four main settings in the novel. Provide a description for each setting and explain what each setting represents.
- Select two of the settings from above and discuss how these settings helped you to understand the idea of illusion in the novel. Use quotes to support your ideas.
Gatsby’s house is a place that shows us everything that everyone wanted at this time, what it was called was the American Dream. People wanted to go to parties all the time, people wanted all of these fancy accessories and also to feel as though they knew/were friends with so many people. Gatsby’s house showed us this as it was a place that many people went to for these big parties and anyone who was anyone went, and there would always be a different feature every time. From his pool, to his library everything is put on show as if to say ‘look at me.’ His house at night was lit up like a Christmas tree as he throws these extravagant parties, where everything and anything is placed perfectly.
The Valley Of Ashes
The Valley of ashes is also a place that shows us the failure of what was at the time called the American Dream. The valley of ashes is a place created up of nothing but dirt, by dirt it can symbolise the ash and how people who live there are dirt poor. That shows us the failure of the American Dream as it is a place with no wealth, people who are just working to live rather than the lives of people who live in East-Egg who have worked or haven’t even needed to work to have the money they have and in the eyes of the American Dream they have made it a success.
Nick describes East-Egg as a place for the rich and what was called old-money (inherited money). ‘Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashion-able East Egg glittered along the water.’ Nick calls the houses along East-Egg ‘white palaces’ this symbolises a place of wealth
West Egg was new money; new money was when people worked for the money they had, which somehow seemed to be “the less fashion-able of the two” as Nick says. This also shows us the success of the American Dream as it is a place of people who have money and uses that money to party, for example Gatsby’s house is on West-Egg and he has all of this new money with which he uses on his house to throw these big parties. Nicks hows is also at West-Egg yet nicks house is a lot smaller, it is a little cottage that he rents out, this is placed right next door to Gatsby’s mansion.
Gatsby’s house shows the idea of illusion very well as Gatsby creates all these things that are for Daisy and these things aren’t real they are all extravagant ideas of his that he uses to hide behind the illusion of hope in that he has created this place to be so perfect for Daisy in an act to win her back. Gatsby knows that Daisy wants a husband who is rich and has all this money, so he creates this house for her but that then becomes an illusion as Daisy wants to runaway with him and leave this place he has created for her. Thats the illusion as Gatsby thinks that he needs this and that so he can be with her but in actual fact Daisy doesn’t want that Daisy just wants him.
The Valley Of Ashes is a place of illusion as it shows the failure of the American dream, which people didn’t see during this era. It was something that people didn’t know happened or most likely didn’t care. It relates to illusion as throughout the story everything seems so complete if you focus on the American dream but this shows you that not everybody had success in the American Dream. They turned out poor and working for nothing and no one around them cared. I think Fitzgerald uses a lot of references like this to show people all of the sides of what it was really like in America.