One of the many themes in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is the shallowness and insincerity of the upper class and the newly made millionaires of the 1920s.
Nick Carraway has graduated from Yale, fought in World War I and he has returned home to begin a career. He is restless and has decided to move to New York to learn about the bond business. The novel opens early in the summer of 1922 in West Egg, Long Island, where Nick has rented a house. Next to his place is the Gatsby's mansion.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan live in East Egg. Daisy is Nick's cousin, and Tom had been in the same senior society at Yale. They invite Nick to dinner at their mansion, and he meets a young, woman golfer named Jordan Baker, whom Daisy wants Nick to be interested in. During dinner the phone rings, and when Tom and Daisy leave the room, Jordan informs Nick that the caller is Tom's woman from New York.
Myrtle Wilson, Tom's woman, lives is a section of Long Island known as the Valley of Ashes. In the Valley of Ashes is George Wilson's garage. Painted on a large billboard nearby, is a fading advertisement for an optician with the eyes of a Doctor looking over them with a pair of glasses.
One day, Tom takes Nick to meet the Wilsons. The party breaks up when Myrtle starts using Daisy's name, and Tom breaks her nose with a blow of his open hand. Several weeks later Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's elaborate parties. Nick watches Gatsby and notices that he does not drink or join in the revelry of the party. At a luncheon with Nick in New York, Gatsby tells Nick that he graduated from Oxford. During...