Brooks Roberts 3/29/12 Book: The Great Gatsby Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald Page Number: 218 Published: April 10, 1925 Biographical/Historical Info The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it is widely regarded to be his greatest work. It is not only a great story, but it also has rich historical aspects about it. It is an insight into the troubles of real life during the "Roaring Twenties.” After World War I ended and before the stock market crash of 1929, there was a spirit of rebellion in the United States. The people turned away from the old ways of stability and respectability, represented by Nick in the novel. In return, they drank, partied, and grew liberal, as represented by the Buchanans and the Fitzgeralds themselves. After the novel was released, authors were inspired to stop using restrained language, to write with realism about the problems of city life, and to incorporate bold new themes, including sex for example. In his writing, Fitzgerald followed the call of this new realism and used it to his advantage. Other writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, and Sinclair Lewis were eventually motivated to use this style of writing as well. Plot Summary: The novel begins with a young man named Nick Carraway giving us some advice of his father’s about not criticizing others. Through Nicks point of view, meet his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan, her husband, Tom Buchanan, and Jordan Baker, who becomes his love interest. The Buchanans live a life of luxury while Nick lives a less wealthy life. Later on he meets Jay Gatsby, a rich and mysterious man who spends his nights looking at a green light across the bay. Tom takes Nick to the city to meet Myrtle Wilson, a woman he’s having an affair with. Myrtle’s husband, George, is a passive, working class man who owns an auto garage and doesn’t know about his wife’s affair with Tom. Back on West Egg, Gatsby throws huge parties because he’s so rich. This is where Nick starts spending time with Jordan and getting to know her. After that, Gatsby introduces Nick to his "business partner," Meyer Wolfsheim. At this point, Gatsby and his business partner seem strange because of their behavior together. Next, Gatsby reveals to Nick that he and Daisy liked each other before the war. Gatsby wants Daisy back. The plan is for Nick to invite her over to tea and have her casually meet Gatsby again. Nick does what Gatsby says and Gatsby and Daisy are reunited and start an affair. Everything goes well until Tom meets Gatsby. He doesn’t like him, and begins investigating into his affairs. Nick eventually reveals Gatsby’s true past to us. He grew poor with big dreams of becoming rich. He achieves his goal of course, but we still don’t know how. Tom eventually calls Gatsby out for being a bootlegger and Daisy can’t leave Tom for Gatsby. While making the trip back to Long Island, Tom’s mistress, Myrtle, is killed because Gatsby’s car hit her. Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy was driving, but that he’s going to take the blame for it. Tom rats Gatsby out to Myrtle’s husband George, and he eventually kills Gatsby by shooting him in the pool. Daisy and Tom take off, leaving their mess behind. Nick gets fed up with these people and he decides to break up with Jordan. He is the only one left to take care of Gatsby’s affairs and arrange for his funeral, which hardly anyone attends. Nick does meet Gatsby’s father, who fills in the picture of Gatsby when he was young. Standing on Gatsby’s lawn and looking at the green light, which turned out to be the light in front of Daisy’s house across the bay, Nick concludes that our nostalgia, our desire to replicate the past, forces us constantly back into it. Author’s Style Many people consider Fitzgerald to be modernist, and for the time quite advanced. He uses symbolic imagery between characters to add more to the story. For example, in the novel, the collapse of a marriage is suggested by the husband getting lost in traffic and losing the others, including the car his wife is in. Fitzgerald also has a slightly arrogant tone at times. This can be seen through Tom Buchanan in a way. He’s rich, and he basically gets whatever he wants, even affairs with other women while he’s married. His first person narrative style is used to show a large amount of realism in his work. For example, the main characters aren’t always necessarily heroes. A good example of this is that Gatsby seems like a good guy, but it turns out to be a bootlegger and a murderer just so he could become rich. In conclusion, Fitzgerald uses many literary devices to show realism in his writing. Memorable Quotes "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had." I love this quote because it sets the tone for the novel about society and class. We know of the bat that our narrator is privileged, and that he is clearly aware of it. It’s basically saying that before you judge someone, there are people in the world that are less fortunate than you and they can’t help the way that they live. It is important to me because I feel that I’ve been blessed in my own life with the luxuries that I’m able to enjoy compared to some others that aren’t as fortunate as myself. It really makes you think twice before judging someone about what they have or don’t have. It teaches a good lesson and sets up a meaningful tone for the novel. Characters Nick Carraway is my favorite character in the novel. He is straightforward, open-minded, and apt to reserve judgment. He is often the one who other characters confide in when they are troubling secrets. In my opinion, he is the most humble one of the group and he seems to have the most common sense. In the beginning of the novel, he makes a statement that shows how mature he is about wealth and society. He says, “I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth.” Nick is fully conscious of how significant class is to personal identity, especially in the society in which lives. He knows that he was born into a life of privilege and a firm amount of wealth. The rich may be "above" him, but there are many people "below" him, and Nick keeps the influence of class in mind with everyone he meets. His true personality shines at the end of the novel when he realizes how corrupt the Buchanans and the wealthy crowd are. He leaves them, including his love interest Jordan, to escape from their twisted lifestyles. In conclusion, Nick is a very unique individual, and he is modest in the rich environment that he is surrounded by in the majority of the novel. Symbols/Motifs The green light that Gatsby stares out at in the middle of the night represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby links it with Daisy, and in Chapter 1 he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to reach his goal. Because Gatsby’s task to have Daisy is largely associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal. A motif in the novel is weather. It matches the emotional and narrative tone of the story. Gatsby and Daisy’s get-together starts in the middle of a pouring rain. After the rain settles, their love reawakens just as the sun begins to come out. Gatsby’s climactic conflict with Tom occurs on the hottest day of the summer, under the hot sun. Wilson kills Gatsby on the first day of fall, as Gatsby floats in his pool despite a clear chill in the air. It is a symbolic effort to stop time and fix his relationship with Daisy to the way it was five years before, in 1917. Connection The Great Gatsby has many connections to other things such as literature and music. For example in chapter one Nick describes Gatsby in a majestic way as Gatsby is looking across to a green light across the bay. Gatsby is trying to find someone who "stretches out his arms toward the dark water." This green light represents the dream of being with Daisy. In the song "Ocean Avenue" by Yellowcard, the boy in the song says that if he could be with his young love "things would be better” and this is how Gatsby feels about Daisy. There is also a resemblance to Romeo and Juliet. When Tom and Gatsby have a altercation on the hottest day of the summer it resembles the fatal meeting of Romeo, Tybalt, and Mercutio. All of these characters met on a hot day and had a negative confrontation. Theme One major theme of the novel is to not let wealth and popularity get to your head. When Gatsby was young, he grew up poor, and he always wanted to be rich. He finally achieved his goal; however he had to do so many terrible things to reach it, such as murdering people and being a bootlegger. He thought he had to be wealthy to win back Daisy for good, but everything backfired on him. He ended up losing it all because of the choices he made and the position he put himself in. If he had Nick’s state of mind and his view and morals on society, maybe he wouldn’t have lost his life and got a swelled head about things. In conclusion, money and fame doesn’t always guarantee happiness, so you should be humble and appreciate the blessings you receive in life. Reference "Songs for the Great Gatsby." HubPages. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://dessywildwood.hubpages.com/hub/Songs-for-the-Great-Gatsby>. "The Great Gatsby Society and Class Quotes Page 2." Shmoop. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://www.shmoop.com/great-gatsby/society-class-quotes-2.html>. "The Great Gatsby Summary." Shmoop. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://www.shmoop.com/great-gatsby/summary.html>. "The Great Gatsby THEMES/BIOGRAPHY/HISTORICAL INFORMATION." Free Study Guide Book Notes Online Literature Summaries Booknotes. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://thebestnotes.com/booknotes/Great_Gatsby/Great_Gatsby_Fitzgerald_Study_Guide05.ht ml>.