It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America.

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter I) on Rap Genius

Meaning

Fitzgerald refers to East Egg and West Egg as “one of the strangest communities in North America” because there is a unique dynamic between the two wealthy areas. Although both areas are of the most elite and upper tier of the upper class, one area (East Egg) is still considered superior to the other. In this sense the community is strange as Fitzgerald describes.

East Egg is superior to West Egg on the basis of the age and social value of its wealth, while West Egg is equally as wealthy but newly so and therefore inferior socially.

A clear and strange distinction between the two communities is the architecture. In East Egg, the old wealth is in a sense symbolized by the traditional American architecture.

In West Egg, the architecture is much more flashy and European despite the fact that the homes are in the United States. The need to impress others with architecture typically associated with European royalty is counterproductive to the intention of appearing to be of old wealth.

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