The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald by 32572U

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									The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The Great Gatsby: overview
Fitzgerald’s Early Life
•  Born in St. Paul, Minnesota on
              September 24, 1896.
 • Scott was a distant relative of Francis Scott
    Key, the composer of our national anthem.
• His father, Edward Fitzgerald was a failure in
    business & the family lived on the mother’s
• Her name was McQuillen & she had inherited
               money from her father.
         The Formative Years

• Fitzgerald grew up, surrounded by wealth
• Because of the his mother’s family money, he
  was able to attend private schools where he was
  painfully reminded that he was not quite as well
  off as his classmates.
• He attended Princeton where he once again
  was in the company of young men who were
  much better situated in life.
• Some speculate that this “tension” surfaced in
  some of his better known works, e.g. Gatsby
• The Influence of Zelda Sayre…
• Scott wanted to marry Zelda immediately, but she
  had reservations
• She had many boy friends and Scott’s future was
• Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was the muse of the Jazz
  Age. She was the embodiment of all things modern
  and new, and once described herself as “without a
  thought for anyone else…I did not have a single
  feeling of inferiority, or shyness, or doubt, and no
  moral principles.”
• Their marriage was quite the celebrity event…and
  very representative of the “unattainable other.”
   Just love this quote of Zelda’s
    when she first met F. Scott
• "There seemed to be some heavenly
  support beneath his shoulder blades that
  lifted his feet from the ground in ecstatic
  suspension, as if he secretly enjoyed the
  ability to fly but was walking as a
  compromise to convention."[
    Fitzgerald’s Literary Lineage
•   Fitzgerald’s Works
•   1920 This Side of Paradise
•   1925 The Great Gatsby
•   1934 Tender is the Night
•   1941 The Last Tycoon
•   Fitzgerald wrote over 160 short stories
              Gatsby and
         the American Dream
• The American Dream: the idea that in America
  one might hope to satisfy every material desire,
  & thereby achieve happiness.
• Fitzgerald believed the American Dream to be
  deceptive: proposing the satisfaction of all desire
  as an attainable goal, and equating desire with
  material acquisitions only leads to dissatisfaction
• One can end up with great wealth and “stuff” and
  be quite empty…
            Gatsby Themes
• Decline of the American Dream (1922)
  – Old $$ v. New $$
  – Prosperity, Material Excess, Bootlegging
  – Discovery, Individualism, “Pursuit of Happiness”
• Hollowness of the Upper Class
  – Lack of “Grounded” Values
• Time
  – Notice the different approach to time from the
    perspectives of Gatsby and Carraway
• Geography: East v. West
                The Viewing Lens

• To fully understand the Great Gatsby (&
  Fitzgerald) we must observe the novel through
  the lens of alcohol;
  – alcohol is the drug of possibility The theme of “time” is
    central to the novel; for Gatsby, time is non-existent;
    he believes he can repeat the past
  – The juxtaposition of East & West is an important part
    of the novel as well…those who have v. those who
    have not
         Gatsby Symbolism
• The Green Light (Buchanan’s Dock)
  – Positive and negative aspects of the color
     • Opportunity v. Greed

• Valley of Ashes: The Wasteland
  – T.S. Eliot’s epic poem
  – Purgatory
  – Moral and Social Wasteland

• Dr. Eckleburg’s Eyes
  – God views moral decay of America?
         Geographic Influences

• East Egg v. West Egg: Morals & Values
  – West Egg being the less fashionable of the two
‘In my younger and more vulnerable years,
   my father gave me some advice that I’ve
   been turning over in my mind ever since.’
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he
   told me, “just remember that all the people
   in this world haven’t had the advantages
   you’ve had.”
               East v. West
“When I came back from the East last autumn
  I felt that I wanted the world to be in
  uniform…and at a sort of moral attention
  forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions
  with privileged glimpses into the human
  heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his
  name to this book, was exempt from my
  reaction – Gatsby, who represented
  everything for which I have an unaffected
  scorn.” (p.2)
                   Chapter 1…
• Tom: Two shining arrogant eyes had established
  dominance over his face and gave him the
  appearance of always leaning aggressively
  forward. (p.7)

• Daisy and Jordan: The only completely stationary
  object in the room was an enormous couch on
  which two young women were buoyed up as
  though upon an anchored balloon. They were both
  in white, and their dresses were rippling and
  fluttering as if they had just been blown back after
  a short flight around the house. (p.8)
  – Our first archetype
           Racism surfaces…

• Tom: Well, it’s a fine book (The Rise of
  the Colored Empires) and everybody
  ought to read it. The idea is that if we don’t
  look out, the white race will be – will be
  utterly submerged.
  – What do you feel this adds to the story line?
           The Green Light
• Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and
  distinguished nothing except a single green
  light, minute and far away, that might have
  been the end of a dock…(p. 21)
            The Wasteland
…the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue
 and gigantic – their retinas are one yard
 high. They look out of no face, but, instead,
 from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles
 which pass over a non-existant nose. (p. 21)
    The Wasteland and Myrtle…
p. 24: The valley of ashes is bounded on one side by
  a small foul river, and when the drawbridge is up to
  let barges through, the passengers on waiting
  trains can stare at the dismal scene for as long as
  half an hour.
        – What significance does this imply?

p. 25: She was in her middle thirties, and faintly
  stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously
  as some woman can. Her face…contained no
  gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately
  perceptible vitality about her…
                The Lavish Gatsby

p. 39: On the weekend his Rolls Royce
  became an omnibus…

p. 41: I believe that on that night when I first
  went to Gatsby’s house, I was one of the few
  guests who had actually been invited.
  People were not invited…they went there.

p. 49: Speculation on Gatsby’s origin…
       – Why didn’t anyone seem to know? Did anyone really care?
   Nick’s Perception of Humanity
p. 59: Every one suspects himself of at least
  one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I
  am one of the few honest people I have ever

         The Four Cardinal Virtues:
            – Temperance: Moderation
                – Prudence: Wisdom
                 – Justice: Fairness
         – Fortitude: Strength, endurance
      Gatsby’s Origins…and character

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…(p.98)

“I’m going to fix everything just the way it
   was before…” (p.110)
     • Gatsby becomes the “fixer” that Meyer Wolfsheim
       once was…
    What is the American Dream?
• The Laments of a Teenager
• Sometimes, when Efrain Garcia is heading home
  on the A train, he wishes it would roll through his
  Euclid Avenue stop and deposit him somewhere
  else. In his fantasy, somewhere else would be a
  place with large single-family homes, with nice
  cars in the driveways, and with jobs that are easy
  to find.
• “Everybody wants to live in a good
  neighborhood,” he said in his soft-spoken way.
  “It’s the American Dream.”
           The Relationships

(p. 109) Daisy and Gatsby: One autumn
  night, 5 years before…they had been
  walking down the street when the leaves
  were falling…

(p.124): Tom and Myrtle: He (Wilson) had
  discovered that Myrtle had some sort of
  life apart from him in another world, and
  the shock made him physically sick…
        And again, those eyes…

(p.124): Over the ash heaps, the giant eyes of
  Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept their vigil…In one of
  the windows over the garage, the curtains had
  been moved aside a little, and Myrtle Wilson was
  peering down at the car…

(p. 125): There is no confusion like the confusion
  of a simple mind…
     • Who is the simple mind?
  Tom and Gatsby’s Confrontation
(p. 130): I want to know what Mr. Gatsby has to
  tell me…
      • It all begins to unravel…

(p. 133): He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of
  side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and
  sold grain alcohol over the counter…

(p. 135) Human sympathy had its limits, and we
  were content to let all their tragic arguments fade
  with the city lights behind…
    Myrtle’s Death…and Gatsby’s
(p. 137)…A moment later she rushed out in to the
  dusk, waving her hands and shouting – before
  he could move from his door the business was
…The “death car” as the newspapers called it,
  didn’t stop…and then disappeared around the
  next bend…
(p. 139): It was a yellow car…big yellow car. New.
(p. 143): “Was Daisy driving?”
           “Yes,” he said after a moment, “but of
             course, I’ll say I was…”
         Again, those eyes…
(p. 159): …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.!’
‘Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock
  that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J.
  Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and
  enormous, from the dissolving night.’
“God sees everything,” repeated Wilson.
        The price of death…
(p.160): If that was true, he must have felt
  that he had lost the old warm world, paid
  too high a price for living too long with a
  single dream…

(p. 162): It was after we started with Gatsby
  toward the house that the gardener saw
  Wilson’s body a little way off in the
  grass…and the holocaust was complete.
          Tom’s confession…

(p. 178): “I told him the truth,” he said. “He
  came to the door while we were getting
  ready to leave, and when I sent down
  word that we weren’t in…he ran over
  Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never
  even stopped his car.”

(p. 179): They were careless people, Tom
  and Daisy…
        The Close…and final fix

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown
  world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first
  picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic
  future that year by year recedes before us…

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne
  back ceaselessly into the past…

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