This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

Novel Analysis of The Great Gatsby

downloadDownload printPrint

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

121 writers online

Download PDF

 The settings of The Great Gatsby and how they are illustrated by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s use of imagery, are the underlying elements to the formation of characters and the overall plot development of the novel, and operate to challenge or cement my understanding of the values presented in the text. These values are hope, class separation, and wealth and are forefront in the novel. The novel is anecdotal to an extent and is based on Fitzgerald’s life experiences and captures the notions of the self-made man (Gatsby) and the lifestyle of Americans during the 1920s – a period of immense prosperity and industrial output – creating ‘Captains of Industry’ at the peak of Capitalism in America. The Great Gatsby is the story of two wealthy men, one who has the girl, and the other who very much desires her and does whatever he can to win her back. Fitzgerald uses the Valley of Ashes, along with East and West Egg to portray three separate worlds, and how their ideals differ. From the wealth of the East Egg, the barren and bleak Valley of Ashes, to the chaos of the business hub of Manhattan, the settings and associated imagery in the novel explore all aspects of life of America during the Roaring Twenties.

The settings of West Egg and East Egg, and the discrepancies between these two settings establish a physical distance between Gatsby and Daisy. West Egg “the less fashionable of the two,” is separated from East Egg by Manhasset Bay. Meanwhile the East Egg is depicted as a place that houses “the white palaces”. However, Gatsby has still decided to home himself on the West Egg, directly across from Daisy’s home. However, this can also be interpreted as Gatsby’s failure to transition from a class of poverty to wealth (however he has not become wealthy enough) despite his assets, thus this physical distancing between the two also acts as a metaphor between the distancing through social class. Throughout the novel Gatsby retains hope that he will become immensely wealthy and fulfil his dreams. Nick observes Gatsby as he “stretched his arms toward the dark water in a curious way”, towards the green light that is “minute” and “far away”. This represents the fact that despite Gatsby’s hope to be with Daisy once again, and his efforts to make himself appeal as a figure as much as possible, he is so close, yet so far. It can also be interpreted as a foreshadowing as towards the end of the novel he does gain some momentum with Daisy, however he ends up murdered. As a result, my understanding of the value of hope has been further reinforced as a positive state of mind that is based on the expectation of positive outcomes.

One of the most prominent themes and values of the novel is class separation, and our aspiration to be of higher class. Class separation in The Great Gatsby is represented through the characters of Nick, Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchannan, and George and Myrtle Wilson, along with their homes and associated areas. Though Nick and Gatsby are separated by wealth, they are not so separated by class, despite the settings of the two houses that neighbour each other – Gatsby’s house being described by Nick as “a colossal affair”, and “a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy”, whereas Nick’s house is depicted as a small, overgrown lodge, “squeezed” by Gatsby’s house and another neighbour – and because of this Tom never accepts Gatsby and questions his wealth and who he is throughout the novel. However, Myrtle and George live at their auto-repair shop at the “Valley of Ashes”, on the outskirts of New York and in contrast to both Eggs this is where the poor people live – those who are victims of the rich. Nick moved to the East to escape the monotony of the Midwest in a lust for wealth. However, he soon learns what his social superiors are really like – shallow, flaunting, hollow, uncaring, unfaithful, self-servicing and thriving for attention and seeking validation from society. Right before Gatsby dies, Nick says this to him: “’They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’” This is Nick’s realisation that the people he has so longingly associated with – Tom, Daisy, and Jordan – are corrupt people who only value their money. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel has inferred to me that class separation is necessary in society, as the poor sustain the rich and the rich sustain the poor, however it has also changed my understanding of what it means to be at these different levels of the class hierarchy and how we should assert ourselves within these levels. 

Another value that is at the forefront of The Great Gatsby is the value wealth. The two wealthiest characters in the novel, Gatsby, use his wealth as a coping mechanism to compensate for a lack of self-fulfilment and as a perceived shortcut to happiness. Gatsby’s idealisation for wealth and determinisation for it is best symbolised in this quote: “To Young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, that yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world”. This quote highlights the beginnings of Gatsby’s lust for wealth and material items. The yacht belonged to Dan Cody, and Gatsby was not familiar with this embodiment of wealth and fortune. “Travelling with Cody to the Barbary Coast and the West Indies, Gatsby fell in love with wealth and luxury.” The settings of the yacht, and the places in which Gatsby visited whilst travelling with Cody are not prominent in the text however all operate as the foundations for his desire to be wealthy. His desire to be with Daisy pushes this lust for wealth even more: Gatsby had let Daisy “believe that he was a person from much the same strata as herself”, a stratum of wealth. However, “he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail.” That grail, being wealth. Gatsby was ashamed by his lack of wealth, and after the armistice of World War One, he stopped writing back to Daisy, instead ending up in Oxford “by some complication or misunderstanding”. Gatsby was ashamed of his lack of wealth, and this pushed him even more to try and obtain it. However, Daisy moved on, and Gatsby always referred to Daisy as some sort of “obstacle” in his path to success. These settings of the yacht, Oxford, and the Midwest, all seduced Gatsby into a world of wealth, however this world of wealth that he so desired ended up leading to his demise. Through the integration of these more subtle settings in The Great Gatsby, my understanding of the value of wealth and money has been further cemented into the concept that money does not buy happiness, through the portrayal of the inner corruption that Gatsby’s desire to be rich has created for him.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby can now be interpreted as a social criticism of Capitalism and to a certain extent, America. Using imagery via depiction of setting is an accurate way to portray this period, a period of wealth, prosperity, and freedom, all illustrated through material possession. However, the 1920s for America also brought forward other issues for society; alcoholism and prohibition, opened the floodgates gates for premarital sex and divorce, challenged traditional believes, declined influence of the church and family, and the rising groups such as the Ku Klux Klan in America. 

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Novel Analysis OF The Great Gatsby. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“Novel Analysis OF The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
Novel Analysis OF The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
Novel Analysis OF The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.


    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay. Get custom paper

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!


    Professional writers and researchers


    Sources and citation are provided


    3 hour delivery