Ethnicity In The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby takes place in Long Island, New York, as well as New York City and a segment between the two, known as the “valley of ashes.” Each area represents a different aspect of society during the 1920s. East Egg, the area in which Daisy and Tom live, represents the upper class that comes from established or “old” money. West Egg is home to people such as Gatsby, who have recently become rich. The valley, home to the lower classes, is a filthy, run-down place. New York City is seen as a place for pleasure seeking, where the characters are uninhibited. For example, Tom keeps an apartment here for purposes of carrying out his extramarital affair. Here he is able to go out in public without anyone judging him for being with another woman other than his wife. The inhabitants of East and West Egg have different values and attitudes. East Eggers are viewed as being very elegant, tasteful, and sophisticated, while those of West Egg are seen as gaudy and vulgar (Marchand, 1986).…show more content…
According to Peter Gregg Slater, ethnicity was a huge concern due to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and strict immigration laws. In his essay, “Ethnicity in The Great Gatsby,” he states that concern for differences in ethnicity plays a big part in this novel. Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband, is the most judgmental, racist character. He recites passages from Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color against World White Supremacy, identified by a different title and author (Goddard’s “The Rise of the Colored Empires”). He attacks Gatsby with racist remarks during their confrontation near the end of the novel. During Nick’s visit to his and Daisy’s home, Tom insults his wife by not including her in his identification of the group as being part of the superior branch of the white race. Daisy and Nick do not express negative reactions to these insults (Marchand,
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