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Setting in the Great Gatsby

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GREAT GATSBY
CHAPTER ONE SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS

Nick Carraway, the novel's narrator and protagonist, begins The Great Gatsby by recounting a bit of advice his father taught him: don't criticize others, because most people have not enjoyed the "advantages" that he has. Nick says that as a result of following this advice, he's become a tolerant and forgiving person who resists making quick judgments of others. Nick's "advantages" come from "old money." Nick casts himself as someone who doesn't judge based on class, which indicates that other people do judge based on class. However, he is contradictory here as he does judge the other characters, apart from Gatsby who is instead romanticized. There is a sense of irony surrounding Nick.

For instance, Nick says that though he scorns everything Gatsby stood for, he withholds judgment entirely regarding him. Nick says Gatsby was a man of "gorgeous" personality and boundless hope. Nick views Gatsby as a victim, a man who fell prey to the "foul dust" that corrupted his dreams. Nick introduces Gatsby and connects him to both new money and the American Dream, and indicates that Gatsby was done in by the "foul dust" of the Roaring Twenties.

In the summer of 1922, Nick, a Yale graduate, moves from his hometown in Minnesota, where his family has lived for three generations, to live and work in New York. He has recently returned from military service in World War I, an experience that left him feeling restless in the dull Midwest. As a Yale graduate, Nick clearly comes from old money. His wealthy heritage has been closely tied to one place, but WW I and the 1920s upset that old order.

Nick rents a house in West Egg, a Long Island suburb located directly across a bay from East Egg. Nick observes that the two communities differed greatly in every way but shape and size. West Egg is where the "new rich" live, people who have…...

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