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Carraway has just arrived in New York and is living in a part of Long Island known as West Egg. West Egg is home to the nouveau riche (those who have recently made money and lack an established social position), while neighboring East Egg is home to the insular, narrow-minded denizens of the old aristocracy. Nick's house is next door to Gatsby's enormous, vulgar Gothic mansion.
I lived at West Egg, the--well, the less fashionable of the two, though
this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little
sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the
egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge
places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on
my right was a colossal affair by any standard--it was a factual
imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side,
spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool
and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby's mansion.
Or rather, as I didn't know Mr. Gatsby it was a mansion inhabited by
a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eye-sore, but it was a
small eye-sore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the
water, a partial view of my neighbor's lawn, and the consoling
proximity of millionaires--all for eighty dollars a month.
Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg
glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins
on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom