engl1001 american literature gatsby 4th lecture presentation july 2012 by neZV4w

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									ENGL1001 – American Literature
 F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great
          Gatsby (1925)


         Dr. John Masterson
              4th Lecture
               July 2012
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   Lionel Trilling, ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’
                  (1945)
• “Gatsby is said by some to be not quite
  credible, but the question of any literal
  credibility he may or may not have
  becomes trivial before the large significance
  he implies. For Gatsby, divided between
  power and dream, comes inevitably to
  stand for America itself. Ours is the only
  nation that prides itself upon a dream and
  gives its name to one, “the American
  dream.”
 Marius Bewley, ‘Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of
              America’ (1954)
• “The Great Gatsby embodies a criticism of
  American experience ... The theme of Gatsby
  is the withering of the American dream ... The
  Great Gatsby is an exploration of the
  American dream as it exists in a corrupt
  period, and it is an attempt to determine that
  concealed boundary that divides the reality
  from the illusions. The illusions seem more
  real than the reality itself.”
 Nick on Gatsby. The Great Gatsby, Chapters 1 and 8
• Nick on Gatsby - “[He] represented everything
  for which I have an unaffected scorn.”
  Chapter 1
• “ 'They're a rotten crowd ... You're worth the
  whole damn bunch of them put together.'”
  Chapter 8
• “I've always been glad I said that. It was the
  only compliment I ever gave him, because I
  disapproved of him from beginning to end.”
  Chapter 8
 Marius Bewley, ‘Scott Fitzgerald’s Criticism of
              America’ (1954)
• “The Great Gatsby embodies a criticism of
  American experience ... The theme of Gatsby
  is the withering of the American dream ... The
  Great Gatsby is an exploration of the
  American dream as it exists in a corrupt
  period, and it is an attempt to determine that
  concealed boundary that divides the reality
  from the illusions. The illusions seem more
  real than the reality itself.”
       The Great Gatsby, p.8.
• “No – Gatsby turned out all right at
  the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby,
  what foul dust floated in the wake of
  his dreams that temporarily closed
  out my interest in the abortive
  sorrows and short-winded elations of
  men.”
Inventing and Re-Inventing the Self in American Literature
 See the Outline of Gatz’s Schedule in
    Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby
• “Rise from bed ……… 6am …
• Study electricity, etc ….. 7.15-8.15 …..
• Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it
  ….. 5.00-6.00 pm
• Study needed inventions ………. 7.00-9.00
• General Resolves ….
• Read one improving book or magazine per
  week …”
  John Aldridge, ‘Fitzgerald: The Horror and the Vision of Paradise’
                                (1951)
• “Gatsby’s story is, in a sense, Fitzgerald’s parody
  of the Great American Success Dream. Gatsby,
  surrounded by the tinsel splendor of his parties,
  dressed in his absurd pink suits, protected from
  social ostracism by the fabulous legend he has
  constructed around himself, is still the naively
  ambitious boy who wrote in that schedule of
  childhood the formula of success – “Rise from
  bed … Study electricity … Work … Practice
  elocution, poise and how to attain it … Study
  needed inventions.” The purchase of love and
  happiness is part of that formula … But it was his
  misfortune to have believed too strenuously and
  loved too blindly.”
Image of Early European Settlers in America approx. 1610
 See the Outline of Gatz’s Schedule in
    Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby
• “Rise from bed ……… 6am …
• Study electricity, etc ….. 7.15.8.15 …..
• Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it
  ….. 5.00-6.00 pm
• Study needed inventions ………. 7.00-9.00
• General Resolves ….
• Read one improving book or magazine per
  week …”
  An Image of Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Daisy Buchanan, Nick Carraway
(behind Daisy) and Jay Gatsby from the 1974 film version of The Great Gatsby
An Image of New York City in the 1920s
   The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1

• Nick - 'I told him. And as I
  walked on I was lonely no
  longer. I was a guide, a
  pathfinder, an original
  settler.'
The Gatsby Style and the Possibility of Romantic Wonder
               Arthur Mizener
• “Until very near the end of his life Fitzgerald felt
   that life was UNENDURABLE without a belief in
   realizing some romantic dream of a meaningful
  existence. In a letter to a friend about Gatsby he
   said that “the whole burden of this novel is the
  loss of those illusions that give such color to the
  world so that you don’t care whether things are
      true or false so long as they partake of the
  magical glory.” That is why, when Daisy destroys
  Gatsby’s faith and his dream at last breaks up, he
   finds himself in a “new world, material without
      being real,” and, in effect, chooses to die.”
      The Great Gatsby, Chapter 6
• “[Daisy's] glance left me and sought the
  lighted top of the steps, where 'Three
  o'clock in the Morning,' a neat, sad little
  waltz of that year, was drifting out the
  open door. After all, in the very
  casualness of Gatsby's party there were
  romantic possibilities totally absent
  from her world.”
Malcolm Cowley, ‘Third Act and Epilogue’ (1945)
• “More than any other writer of these
  times, Fitzgerald had the sense of living
  in history. He tried hard to catch the
  color of every passing year: its distinctive
  slang, its dance steps, its songs (he kept
  making lists of them in his notebooks), its
  favourite quarterbacks, and the sort of
  clothes and emotions its people wore.”
      The Great Gatsby, Chapter 6
• “[Daisy's] glance left me and sought the
  lighted top of the steps, where 'Three
  o'clock in the Morning,' a neat, sad little
  waltz of that year, was drifting out the
  open door. After all, in the very
  casualness of Gatsby's party there were
  romantic possibilities totally absent
  from her world.”
      The Great Gatsby, Chapter 8
• “She was feeling the pressure of the world
  outside, and she wanted to see him and feel
  his presence beside her and be reassured that
  she was doing the right thing after all.”
• “For Daisy was young and her artificial world
  was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful
  snobbery and orchestras which set the rhythm
  of the year, summing up the sadness and
  suggestiveness of life in new tunes.”
Consider the motif of debt, credit, settling outstanding
                bills, paying the price,
  incurring various costs over the course of the text
Consider the structural/formal
 qualities of The Great Gatsby
  Why is it significant that each of the
 following passages come towards the
   end of their respective chapters?
       The Great Gatsby, Chapter 5
• “There must have been moments even that
  afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his
  dreams – not through her own fault, but
  because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.
  It had gone beyond her, beyond everything.
  He had thrown himself into it with a creative
  passion, adding to it all the time, decking it
  out with every bright feather that drifted his
  way. No amount of fire or freshness can
  challenge what a man can store up in his
  ghostly heart.”
     The Great Gatsby, Chapter 6
• “He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered
  that he wanted to recover something, some
  idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into
  loving Daisy. His life had been confused and
  disordered since then, but if he could once
  return to a certain starting place and go over
  it all slowly, he could find out what that thing
  was ...”
       The Great Gatsby, Chapter 8
• “I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe
  [the phone-call] would come, and perhaps he no
  longer cared. If that was true he must have felt
  that he had lost the old warm world, PAID A HIGH
  PRICE FOR LIVING TOO LONG WITH A SINGLE
  DREAM. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar
  sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he
  found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how
  raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created
  grass. A new world, MATERIAL WITHOUT BEING
  REAL, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like
  air drifted fortuitously about … like that ashen,
  fantastic figure gliding toward him through the
  amorphous trees.”
Whose American Dream?

								
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