The Great Gatsby

Old Money and New Money in "The Great Gatsby" 12th Grade

The acclaimed novel The Great Gatsby was written by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald in the year 1925. Throughout time, the book has been recognized for accurately representing the Roaring Twenties’ society in the United States, a point in history where economy grew and the country began to focus on spending money and in social hierarchy. In order to represent this mentality throughout the book, high-class society is divided in new money and old money with the aim of exemplifying two contrasting lifestyles. Particularly, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the characters of Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby to represent how social differences between “new money” and “old money” affects the values of an individual. On one side, the author uses the character of Jay Gatsby to represent how economic corruption can lead to satisfaction, even if this means losing authenticity along the way.

In the novel, Gatsby represents new money, where he is seen as inferior due to the fact that he wasn’t born rich and has had a recent taste of a wealthy lifestyle. Thus, Gatsby constructs a new elite identity based on old money by saying he inherited his wealth, when in reality, he sells illegal alcohol in order to hide his poor background. Moreover,...

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