Setting

Time

Set in 1922 during the glamorous Jazz Age (a term invented by Fitzgerald), The Great Gatsby is full of descriptions of the lifestyle of the wealthy during that era. It was a time of huge social change; society was shifting after the chaos of World War I, and the traditional hierarchy of the aristocracy, the middle classes and the working class were changing. Some members of the middle classes had become very …

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Place

The places in the novel are tied closely to the wealth and social status of the characters. Gatsby's mansion, for example, demonstrates much about the central character and how the others see him. Early on in the book, Nick describes it as a “colossal affair by any standard – it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin bear of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (p. 11).

This description tells us a lot about Gatsby himself. The m…

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Social setting

Throughout the novel, we see several conflicts between different social classes unfolding.

The most important conflict is between old money and new money, made physical in the difference between East Egg (where the traditional aristocrats tend to live) and West Egg (which features the newly rich, Gatsby being the most prominent example).

We see this conflict most strongly when the Buchanans attend one of Gatsby’s famous parties and a…

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