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The West January 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — charlottepierce13 @ 4:41 pm

I think Nick mostly contradicts himself on the issue of which society is more desirable-he goes back and forth between comparing and contrasting the west and the east.  I think this signifies his genuine confusion in the end; how he was so mesmerized by east coast life and culture but winds up disgusted and saddened by Gatsby’s social circle’s tragic end.  I think of the west as this vast, sprawling, scarse land full of uncultured people-cowboys- but Nick says that it is misunderstood and very much resembles other parts of America.  I think what Nick is driving at is the key part of one’s attachment to our hometown, no matter where it is in the world, is that it remains a part of our identify for life.  Although what this means will vary, the principle of our origin sticking with us forever will not.  In the West Egg societies’ case, Daisy, Tom, Gatsby were all consumed by the atmosphere, it became their whole identity-this enclosed, superficial world was everything to them.

The set up that Nick describes in the west is the inverse of what it is like in New York.  Instead of low level civilization and the railroad at the edge of  town, the West was centered around the tracks, as it represneted their connection to civilization.  He describes the tracks as cheerful as Christmas itself.  He also talks about the snow, that in the West it was real snow, “our snow which we are a part of.”  He says that people in the west are unutterably unaware of their identity with this country and that they melted indistinguishably into it.  I think this is the lack of care about social status.  For the purposes of the tone and the imagery in this story, I think Fitzgerald included these ideas to show that real people aren’t valued in the world, that one is better off faking it or blending themselves into society.  The West “melts into the snow” as it should go unnoticed and a country identifies itself by its liveliest parts.  Yet again, this shows that this story is timeless-the attention and the grandness is reserved for the privileged, superficial, high society people and the regular folks are left to work regular jobs, live regular lives, raise regular children.

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