Sunday, June 6, 2010

Old Money V. New Money

In the novel The Great Gatsby, there is a role of new money and old money, not a new form of currency, but those who are new to wealth, and those who have had it in their families for a long time. Both are in the same class of wealth, but new money and old money spend their wealth differently, and have different maturities while handling their money.

The newly rich, or the new money, like Jay Gatsby, live in West Egg. "Fitzgerald portrays the newly rich as being vulgar, gaudy, ostentatious, and lacking in social graces and taste."( Gatsby is a perfect example of this. Gatsby tries to be all flashy and impressive with his money, which is very irresponsible and unwise. He drives a fancy car, a Rolls-Royce, has a monstrous mansion bu himself, and throws parties non-stop to impress people, and to try to lour Daisy back to him. He uses the newly wealth he has to do this, which he obtained from a life of crime, in the bootlegging business.

The old money, people of East Egg, aren't as irresponsible with their wealth, and know how to handle what they have. "What the old aristocracy possesses in taste, however, it seems to lack in heart, as the East Eggers prove themselves careless, inconsiderate bullies who are so used to money’s ability to ease their minds that they never worry about hurting others"( Daisy and Tom Buchanan are a perfect example of this selfishness. They both will simply move on, and leave the messes that they made for somebody else to clean up. They're both never satisfied, and cheat on one another. These East Eggers are no better than the irresponsible new money from West Egg.

In conclusion, new money is less responsible, but despite that quality, people like Gatsby are caring and have a big heart, and actually do give a damn about other people. The old money knows how to handle their money, but being so used to that wealth are extremely selfish, and come off to be worse people, like Tom and Daisy Buchanan.

Sources: The Great Gatsby


  1. Excellent observation. If you want to get a real sense of the values, priorities, and habits of Old Money, many of which you can adopt yourself, you might check out The Old Money Book. It has some fascinating insights.

  2. Inconceivable points. Sound arguments. Keep going the truly amazing work.

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  4. My best friend comes from an "old money" family. Her ancestors were all high ranking officers in the Govt. and the British Army. Her husband is from a Nouveau riche family but ironically he is an officer in the Army too. His family acts extremely flashy with SUVs, brand new flashy JC clothing, flashy TVs etc. Her husband is more like her, and they travel a lot, wear good quality non flashy clothing. She catches public transport, and he drives a 20 year old car. They don't have a TV but a large library and lots of old furniture and Persian rugs, artefacts, and decorations from their travels.
    This is the big difference in my opinion. I have seen her in laws, esp SIL buying new things every month, spending money on trashy blingy bags, clothes, overly expensive grocery bills, choice of restaurant is always mediocre.