The Role Of The Old West In The Great Gatsby

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12/19/11 English 11 The New East versus the Old West Since the 1800s people in America have been traveling West in great numbers in search for new opportunities and new ideas for wealth. Although Frederick Jackson Turner describes The Western Frontier as the new place to go for struggling immigrants that are in search for creating a life for themselves and perhaps a family, the East ultimately takes over this role in the novel The Great Gatsby. With the ideas that were connected to the West such as lawlessness, no social codes or restrictions, and just an overall laid back life style, many people sought this opportunity as a way to make money. In opposition, this would not be easy with all the corruption and heartless people that…show more content…
Looking for wealth to achieve his goal of capturing his dream girl, Jay Gatsby comes east and gets himself into the corruption and lawlessness society that would be more commonly seen in the West. When Turner says, “The Western Frontier was a place where a young man of ambition could go to prove himself as an individual,” he is directly characterizing Gatsby. In this case though, Gatsby is coming east to prove himself as and individual because the East has ultimately became the new place for young dreamers to gain wealth and fulfill their dreams. Gatsby is taking his western life style and bringing it East as Nick explains, "I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life”(176). Nick understands the characters in the novel exemplify people’s characteristics from the Old Wild West, but it has been brought east. Furthermore, Gatsby is not the only person that comes East for opportunity, we see the narrator, Nick Carraway, subtly make his move East in the beginning of the novel. He comes east and is drawn in right away by its appealing comfort when he says, “And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler” (4). This young dreamer felt that he belonged and felt that he was the person that was supposed to be there on West Egg on the Long Island Sound, he was the original settler like the people of the Old Wild West settled into their own land decades ago. The Eastern Frontier is clearly shown as the Old Wild West in this novel because of the ways people are immediately drawn to its appealing ways and customs. Jay Gatsby begins the transformation of the Eastern Frontier with his mind set as a young dreamer hoping to capture his

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