Social Stratification and The Great Gatsby

Topics: Social class, Social stratification, Sociology Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: October 14, 2013
Social Stratification and The Great Gatsby
No matter which facet we view society from we have always been divided by social class. Whether it is wealth, power, or family, the majority of people cannot seem to resist having a prejudice against individuals belonging to a different social class because of one of these aspects. Since the beginning of civilization society has been divided due to wealth, which usually goes hand in hand with power and family. The novel The Great Gatsby is an excellent example of how society is divided into different social classes, known as social stratification. The theme of social stratification is strong, since the first scene when the narrator, Nick Carraway, enters the room in which his cousin Daisy and her friend Jordan Baker are sitting on a couch. He immediately feels a form of intimidation towards Jordan. He unconsciously feels that he must apologize to Jordan simply for disturbing her, and even when they are introduced to each other by Daisy. This shows a basic interaction between two individuals divided by social stratification. Baker is able to intimidate and cause Nick to feel inferior solely because of their difference in social class. It is unfortunate that we judge and divide ourselves because of class, but even the best of us cannot refrain from judging other classes because of the feeling of satisfaction we get when we view ourselves as superior. One of the first indications of social stratification in The Great Gatsby is the division of Long Island into the “West Egg” and “East Egg”. West Egg is home to what is known as the new rich who had recently gained their fortune, while East Egg is home to aristocratic individuals with many social connections, most of which had been born rich. Individuals from East Egg rarely, if ever, have to work and simply spend their time finding ways to amuse themselves with their inherited wealth. While people from West Egg, since they recently acquired their wealth, must...
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