The Great Gatsby

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					The Great Gatsby
 Nick as narrator
 First impressions of Gatsby

 Gatsby and Daisy

 Minor characters

 Setting – Where

 Setting - When

 Symbolism
Nick as narrator
   Nick presents himself as being non-judgemental.
    However, descriptions of all characters show he is
    judging them.
   Is only party to Gatsby’s thoughts so reader only
    gets ‘true’ insight into this character.
   Nick is moral voice of novel, commenting on 1920s
    society as only “honest” person.
   Novel is as much about what Nick learns about
    himself and life as it is about Gatsby.
   Condemns decadent East by novel’s end: implies
    the dream offered out there is a myth and can
First impressions of Gatsby
   Opening segment - Nick’s description of Gatsby suggests
    that dreams and reality do not match up.
   Rumours about Gatsby are recounted long before Nick
    meets him.
   Nick’s initial impression:
    •   First he is dazzled by his smile.
    •   Afterwards sees him as a more ordinary man and careful
        about how he presents himself.
   Seems mysterious and lonely.
   Nick is fascinated with him from the start because
    Gatsby represents the American Dream with his self-
    made achievements. But at the end his death shows how
    the Dream can corrupt. Disillusioned, Nick goes home.
Gatsby and Daisy
   Gatsby’s desire for Daisy - as much a desire for the life
    she represents.
   Green light - does not just represent Daisy, it represents
    dreams in general: Gatsby is a dreamer and believes in a
    wonderful future.
   Gatsby’s shirts – Daisy cries as much for the wealth
    Gatsby represents as for the loss of love.
   Daisy’s dissatisfaction:
    •   unsatisfied with her life and looks to Gatsby for a brief
    •   shows how shallow lives could be in the 1920s, particularly
        for the wealthy and for women.
Minor characters
   Tom:
   Represents wealth and the destruction it causes: he
    is described as violent in the opening segments.
    Ultimately he causes Gatsby’s death.
   He and Daisy do not care about the destruction they
    cause. They are "careless" people.
   Jordan Baker:
   Also shows the corruption of wealth as she lies and
   She makes the link between cars and wealth.
Setting – Where
   East and West Eggs: represent the contrast between
    East and Midwest America
    •   East = glamour, excitement, opportunity, anonymity
    •   West = family, farmlife, religion
   Conflicting sides of American Dream:
    •   East is where money can be made and dreams can come
    •   West is linked to pioneers creating new lives and being self-
   New York: presented as a dreamlike place (Nick’s
    descriptions) and a corrupt one (meets Wolfshiem there).
   Valley of Ashes: represents the lower classes and their
    drab, “dead” lives.
Setting - When
   The “Roaring” Twenties - a time of excess and immorality.
   Descriptions of different parties and guests - allow
    Fitzgerald to comment critically on the values of the time.
   A rich period - personal wealth (stock exchange was fairly
    new) and sway of advertising led to emphasis on what
    you owned.
   A decade that promised so much and ended with the
    Great Depression: in retrospect seems to comment on
    how the American Dream can disappoint.
   Fitzgerald’s writing grew increasingly critical of the era as
    it progressed. Many see Nick as Fitzgerald’s
   Cars - symbolise status and wealth. “Careless” drivers
    represent reckless society.
   Increasing destructiveness of cars runs through novel –
    symbolises recklessness of society and destructive power
    of wealth.
   Green light – symbolic of Gatsby’s dream of Daisy but
    later symbolises the American Dream. Gatsby yearns for
    something he cannot ever attain.
   Eyes of Doctor TJ Eckleberg – represent a godly being
    watching over society; a pair of all seeing, all knowing
    and judging eyes watching this society.

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