The Great Gatsby: Old Money, New Money And No Money

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The book The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald is about a man named James Gatsby and his way of pursuing the American dream in the 1920s. Taking place in the villages of east and west egg, Narrated by Nick Caraway a young man who finds himself in a situation with an American man named “Gatsby” and has to find out if he’s the man he says he is. Fitzgerald uses two different types of money and lifestyles to show how old money represents the people that didn’t have to work for their money, and new money representing people who had to work hard for their money. Fitzgerald uses old money, new money, and no money to represent the different lifestyles in The Great Gatsby.

One of the best examples of old money in the 1920s is Tom and Daisy Buchanan. They are the best example of old money because all of their money was just passed down from the generation of their family. Their lifestyle is a very glamorous and luxurious life filled with fashion, mansions, parties, and alcohol. Old money was first shown in chapter one, the book when we meet Tom Buchanan. We know he has old money when we meet him because he is always bragging about his cars and his huge mansion. How he acts like he only really cares about what the people around him think of him. “Why they came east, I don’t know. They spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unresentfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.” (Fitzgerald 6) After reading this, the reader might infer that old money is just based on spoiled white people who didn’t do anything for any of their money.”It does her good to get away.” “Doesn’t her husband object?” “Wilson? He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York. He’s so dumb he doesn’t know he’s alive.” (Fitzgerald 26)

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Gatsby is the most prominent example of new money in the 1920s. The reason that Gatsby is the best example of new money is that his parents were always poor that like on a farm and made their own food. When Gatsby was about 18 he decided to move away toward the sea gatsby said he saw something in his future he was destined for. He learned how to bootleg from Dan Cody. He also learned how to screw people over from Dan Cody’s family after that screw he from all of his inheritance. The life of having new money consists of bootlegging, mansion, gambling, and scamming. “All right, old sport,” called gatsby. We slowed down. Taking a white card from his wallet, he waved it before the man’s eyes. “ Right you are,” agreed the policeman, tipping his cap.” (Fitzgerald 68) This shows the reader how Gatsby uses his money and his skills in scamming to get out of trouble with police officers. “James Gatz–that was really, or at least legally, his name. He changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career–when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on lake superior.”(Fitzgerald 98)

One specific example of someone in The Great Gatsby who has no money is George Wilson and Myrtle Wilson they live in the valley of ashes in a trashy gas station and garage. The lifestyle of having no money is very plan there’s not much going on around you. Living in the valley of ashes is a life consisting of hard work every day just to get home with an empty pocket and an empty stomach. “She smiled slowly and, walking through her husband as if he were a ghost, shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye. Then she wet her lips, and without turning around spoke to her husband in a soft, coarse voice: “Get some chairs, why don’t you, so somebody can sit down.”(Fitzgerald 26) This shows us how people in the valley of ashes treat each other and how they present themselves to other people not living in the valley of ashes. “I spoke to her,” he muttered, after a long silence. “I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool god. I took her to the window”–with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it– “and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool god.’” (Fitzgerald 159)

As a man with new money, you would think that he would be a cocky non-humble man who just likes to party. The 1920s was filled with lots of money bootleggers, hustlers, gamblers generations of rich families. This all ended in three different lifestyles, the lifestyle of old money, new and no money, or the people living in the valley of ashes. Old money is just built on family money new money is based on hustling and playing people.   

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