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The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby Powered By Docstoc
					By F. Scott Fitzgerald
       Student Notes
F. Scott Fitzgerald
 BORN on September 24, 1896, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
 Intelligent child, he did poorly in school and was sent to a New
    Jersey boarding school
   Enrolled at Princeton in 1913
    Academic troubles and apathy plagued him throughout his
    time at college, and he never graduated,
   Enlisted in the army in 1917, as World War I neared its end
   Stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama
   Met and fell in love with a wild seventeen-year-old beauty
    named Zelda Sayre
   The publication of This Side of Paradise in 1920, Fitzgerald
    became a literary sensation
   Most of his work is semi-autobiographical
 Scott and Zelda
 Fitzgerald was considered the spokesman for his generation,
  by extension he and Zelda were incredibly famous
 Zelda came from money, and wouldn’t marry Scott until he
  published his first book, put pressure on Scott to continue
  his success
 The couple lived a lavish lifestyle, sometimes wild and
  reckless
 Lived in Europe for a period of time
 Turmoil in their Marriage
   Constant stress from their drinking,
   Scott worked continuously to support their lifestyle
   Zelda felt neglected
Tragic Endings
Zelda                                 Scott
 In 1930 Zelda was placed in a        Scott struggled with drinking
    sanatorium for a brief period         through out his life, left him in
                                          poor health
   Diagnosed as a schizophrenic,
    by 1932 she was in a mental          Went to work in Hollywood,
    institution                           which he found degrading
   Scott still devoted to her, but      Died of a massive heart attack in
    resentful                             1940
   Died in a hospital fire in 1948      Died think he had been a failure
   Now seen as a tragic icon            After his death his work found a
                                          new audience
   Feminist image of someone
    oppressed by her husband             He is recognized as one of the
                                          most influential American
                                          writers
Impact on Society
 Fitzgerald named the 1920’s “The Jazz Age”
 Wrote screenplays for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
 Created the The Great Gatsby which is said to be the
 most accurate description of the 1920’s
 The 1920s
 Prohibition was in effect
    Made millionaires out of bootleggers
    Speakeasies secretly sold alcohol
 Violence of World War I left America in a state of shock
    The generation that fought the war turned to extravagant
     living to compensate
    Conservatism and timeworn values of the previous decade
     were turned on their ear
 Economy was in a “Boom”
 Flappers were women who rebelled against the fashion
  and social norms of the early 1900’s.
   They married at a later age and drank and smoked in public
   Flappers were known for their carefree lifestyles.
 Dances such as the Charleston were popular
  Setting
 West Egg- where Nick and Gatsby live, represents
  new money
 East Egg- where Daisy lives, the more fashionable
  area, represents old money
 The City- New York City, where the characters
  escape to for work and play, a place where
  anything goes
 The Valley of Ashes- between the City and West
  Egg, where Wilson’s gas station is, desolate
  wasteland
 Fitzgerald in Gatsby
 Nick Carraway           Jay Gatsby
 Thoughtful young       Sensitive young man who idolizes wealth
  man from Minnesota        Falls in love with a beautiful young woman
 Educated at an Ivy         while stationed at a military camp in the South
  League school             Fitzgerald fell into a wild, reckless life-style of
 Moved to New York          parties and decadence, while desperately trying
  after the war              to please Zelda by writing to earn money
 like Nick, Fitzgerald     Similarly, Gatsby amasses a great deal of wealth
  saw through the glitter    at a relatively young age, and devotes himself to
  of the Jazz Age to the     acquiring possessions and throwing parties that
  moral emptiness and        he believes will enable him to win Daisy’s love
  hypocrisy beneath,        Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love
  and part of him longed     for a woman who symbolized everything he
  for this absent moral      wanted, even as she led him toward everything
  center                     he despised
  Symbols
 Green Light- at the end of Daisy’s dock and visible from
  Gatsby’s mansion. Represents Gatsby's hopes and dreams
  about Daisy.
 The Valley of Ashes- the area between West Egg and New
  York City. It is a desolate area filled with industrial waste. It
  represents the social and moral decay of society during the
  1920’s. It also shows the negative effects of greed.
 The Eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg- A decaying billboard in the
  Valley of Ashes with eyes advertising an optometrist. There
  are multiple proposed meanings, including the
  representation of God’s moral judgment on society.
 Important Quotes
 “I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in
  this world, a beautiful little fool.” – Daisy’s description of
  her daughter
 “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back
  ceaselessly into the past.” –the last line of the novel
 "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed
  up things and creatures and then retreated back into their
  money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that
  kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess
  they had made." – Nick’s description of Tom and Daisy
    Major Characters
 Nick Carraway - The narrator of the novel; moves from the
    Midwest to New York to learn the bond business
   Jay Gatsby - Lives next to Nick in a mansion; throws huge
    parties, complete with catered food, open bars, and orchestras;
    people come from everywhere to attend these parties, but no
    one seems to know much about the host
   Daisy Buchanan - Shallow girl who is the embodiment of
    Gatsby's dreams
   Tom Buchanan- Husband of Daisy; a cruel man who lives life
    irresponsibly.
   Jordan Baker - A cynical and conceited woman who cheats in
    golf; wants Nick to go out with her.
   Myrtle Wilson - Tom has an affair with this married woman,
    and then abandons her after he become bored with her
    Themes
 Hope - represented by the light across the bay that Gatsby was
    fixated on. It was the embodiment of his sole goal in life, which
    was a reunification with Daisy.
   Success - Gatsby felt that the only way he would win Daisy was
    through his money.
   Ignorance - The characters have little self-knowledge and even
    less knowledge of each other.
   Judgment - Nick misinterprets the advice of his father and tries
    not to judge people.
   Disillusionment - Gatsby dreams of getting back together with
    Daisy even though she is married and has a daughter.
   Morals - The morals of people with great wealth seem to be less
    than desirable, but many times are more socially accepted than
    lower classes.
Lessons
 Money cannot buy happiness.
 You cannot relive the past.
 If dreams are too fantastic, and reality cannot keep up
  with ideals they are usually not fulfilled.
 Life is paradoxical – aspects and attitudes seem to
  contradict
 The Great Gatsby Narrator: First Person
 (Peripheral Narrator): Nick Carraway
 The story is told in the first person, through the eyes of Nick Carraway.
 The primary and most visible story is about Jay Gatsby and his devotion
  to his dream.
 Other stories, also told through Carraway’s eyes, include Tom’s
  reconciliation with his wife Daisy, Nick’s own relationship with Jordan,
  and Nick’s evolving friendship with Gatsby.
 Nick Carraway is able to easily become part of the wallpaper. His major
  character trait – reserving judgment – allows him to be almost an
  "invisible" narrator, similar to a traditional third-person omniscient
  point of view.
 Ultimately, however, if we lost Nick’s point-of-view, we would never
  understand the evolution of his character. He is the invisible man until
  the end of the book, when suddenly, he has opinions about everybody.
"I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best
thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.“
                                                   -- Daisy Buchanan
   Nick has moved from the Midwest to work in NYC
   His cousin, Daisy, lives close by with her husband Tom
   He meets Jordan and first hears about Gatsby
   Class is one of them most important themes in the novel
      Affects the relationships of the characters
      Much of the way people are treated can be linked to their class and
       social position
      Nick is non-judgmental but very much aware of his class
 " I'm glad it's a girl, And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best
    thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
      The social position of women is criticized here.
      Daisy is a witty and clever woman, far more so than her brute
       husband. Yet she is the one treated as inferior because she is a
       woman.
 Nick sees Gatsby at the end of the chapter
   He is looking out at a green light at the end of Daisy’s dock
    Nick Carraway
 Nick often becomes a confidant for those with troubling secrets.
 The Great Gatsby is told entirely through Nick's eyes; his thoughts and
    perceptions shape and color the story. The story is revealed gradually.
   Nick is the hardest character to understand in the book because he is the
    narrator and will therefore only give us an impression of himself that he
    would like to give. He tells the reader that "I am one of the few honest
    people that I have ever known", but we see him lie on several occasions.
    So it is all but impossible to get an accurate picture of Nick.
   By the end of the book he is very jaded, though. When he and Jordan
    break up he says "I'm thirty. I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call
    it honor". So the experience with Gatsby and the others takes its toll on
    him. But in the end, the reader cannot be certain of who the real Nick is.
   Nick the Moral arbiter, everything is seen through his consciousness.
    Carraway is the only character to exhibit, and hold onto, a sense morals &
    decency throughout the novel.
   Has a backbone – he will not be rumored into an engagement
  Analysis
 Nick’s father tells him, “Whenever you feel like criticizing
  anyone, just remember that all the people in this world
  haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” (p.1) Nick shares
  this advice because he wants the reader to know that he is
  not a man who jumps to conclusions, but has learned to give
  people the benefit t of the doubt. Fitzgerald wants to
  establish Nick as a credible narrator and a sympathetic
  character.
 “When I came back from the East last autumn...” (p.2) tells
  reader that Nick has returned to his home in the West and is
  telling the story of Gatsby through the filter of time.
 “My family have been prominent, well-to-do people…for
  three generations”? (p.3) This information makes Nick’s
  participation with socialites, money, and privilege believable
 “They [books on investments and securities] stood like new money from
  the mint.” (p.4) The new books on the shelf could be there simply for
  show, as much of what happens in East Egg and West Egg are. It is
  interesting to note that the books are about investments and securities.
  The fact that Nick has some of these books and intends to read them
  makes one believe that he is going to earn his money legally. The author
  draws a comparison (simile) between the books and mint condition.
  Coming from the mint can signify new money. Gatsby represents new
  money, thus highlighting the theme of social stratification.
 “Two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all.” (p.6) The phrase
  containing the oxymoron “Old friends” is a term used to indicate deep
  friendships, and, yet, Nick states he scarcely knows them. Perhaps this
  foreshadows the fact that even though he thinks he knows them, he will
  find out he knows little of them. It also suggests the superficiality of the
  upper class. Daisy is a relative of Nick’s, and Tom is an old college friend.
  Nick has known them a long time (old friends), but he does not know
  them well. Their relationship has always been surface-level and
  superficial
 Personification is used to make the Buchanan palace seem
  alive. The lawn appears as a runner, starting at the beach,
  jumping over sun-dials, running up the wall of the house,
  drawing the reader and Nick towards the house, giving the
  impression things are alive here. (p.6)
 Tom is described with a negative tone. Tom is a straw-haired,
  bossy, muscular man in his thirties with arrogant eyes.
  Fitzgerald uses words with negative connotations such as
  arrogant, proud, hard, shifting, and cruel in describing Tom,
  causing the reader to immediately dislike him.
 Fitzgerald creates a light, airy mood in the home by having the
  wind flowing through the room, lifting the curtains, ruffling
  the ladies dresses. He uses a simile comparing the couch to a
  balloon to add to the airy, light feeling. The girls feel paralyzed
  with happiness.
 The hyperbole “The whole town is desolate,” and Nick’s
  comment that follows it are used to add humor and to
  emphasize the superficial boredom of the upper class.
 Nick is annoyed that Tom is quick to remark he has never
  heard of the bond company Nick works for. It is Tom’s way
  of diminishing Nick, keeping him in his place.
  Symbols
 East & West Egg –
   One of the most important themes in the novel is class and social standing. It is a
    barrier for almost every character. East and West Egg acts as a symbol of this in its
    physical makeup.
   The barrier that the water creates between these worlds in symbolic of the barrier
    that keeps these people apart from one another and from much of what they want.
   The green light shines from the East Egg enticing Gatsby towards what he has always
    wanted. And Daisy, the woman that Gatsby has always wanted but never gets, lives
    on East Egg.
 The Green Light – Green the color of Promise
   The green light is a multi-faceted piece of symbolism in the book. It's most obvious
    interpretation is that the light is symbolic of Gatsby's longing for Daisy, but that is
    too simplistic. Daisy is part of it, but the green light means much more.
   Gatsby has spent his whole life longing for something better. Money, success,
    acceptance, and Daisy. And no matter how much he has he never feels complete.
    Even when he has his large house full of interesting people and all of their attention,
    he still longs for Daisy.
Themes
 The effect of wealth – wealth is depicted as selfish &
  shallow
 Morals – the morals of people with great wealth seem to
  be less than desirable, but the wealthy are more socially
  accepted than lower classes.
 Hope – represented by the green light, embodiment of
  his single goal in life
 Ignorance – characters have little self-knowledge & even
  less knowledge of each other
“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-existent nose.”
                                                -- Nick Carraway
 Nick and Tom go to NYC
 Nick meets Tom’s mistress Myrtle
    Nick mentions how shameless Tom is in taking Myrtle out in public no
     matter who may see them
    Myrtle takes advantage of Tom’s money by spending it on silly things
 Tom and Myrtle host a small party in their apartment
    The party differs from the Buchanan’s because it is noisy and wild
    It is similar because there is an air of boredom
 Nick hears rumors about Tom’s and Daisy’s marriage
 In spending Tom’s money, Myrtle becomes very arrogant towards
  the less well-off, even though she and her husband have very
  little money
    She is in the novel as yet another commentary on wealth and class. Her
     attitude exemplifies what money can do to a person
 Tom's senseless attack on Myrtle goes back to the issue of
  consequence.
    Tom need not worry about any reaction to what he does, so he has no fear
    Tom’s allegiance is to Daisy
    George Wilson
 As with many of Fitzgerald’ characters, the name George Wilson is
    carefully chosen to reflect certain traits and ideals.
   It was President Wilson who took the Americans into WWI. During the
    peace process, Wilson was outmaneuvered by England, France, and
    Italy. Unwilling to compromise his ideals, Wilson set out across the
    country working to “sell” his position to the Americans.
   He worked himself too hard and became ill, eventually suffering a
    stroke.
   Wilson eventually died a defeated idealist. The character George Wilson
    is also a defeated idealist, living in the valley of ashes. He is unwilling to
    compromise his ideals about marriage, and has become very ill in the
    fight.
   George is the name of the United States’ first president. Just as
    Fitzgerald intends to illustrate how the American Dream has
    deteriorated, George Wilson, in the valley of ashes, indicates a waste of
    potential greatness.
 Symbols
 Valley of Ashes
    Represents the modern world
    Physical desert = spiritual desolation
 The Eyes of T.J. Eckleburg –
    These eyes are from a billboard that looks over Wilson's
     garage. The eyes are always mentioned whenever Nick is
     there.
    They look over the situation objectively, but offer judgment
     on the characters & their actions.
Themes
 Spiritless-ness – George Wilson
 Escape – Myrtle Wilson wants to change class
 Hypocrisy – Tom’s hypocrisy, selfishness and
 brutality, other people are below him, when he hurts
 Myrtle he is not defending Daisy but brutalizing
 Myrtle
 Analysis
 Fitzgerald uses alliteration to create a musical effect. Some
  examples are: railroad and runs, fantastic farm, grotesque
  gardens, cars crawl, obscure operations.
 “I think he’d tanked up a good deal at luncheon, and his
  determination to have my company bordered on violence.”
  (p.24) This statement seems to foreshadow the fact that
  Tom, particularly after drinking, may exhibit violent
  tendencies. Perhaps, one of his women may experience the
  unpleasantness of abuse.
 “She’s said to be very beautiful by people who ought to
  know.” (p.28)Myrtle refers to “people who ought to know”
  as though there are some in the society who set the
  standards for others. It seems that that thought is
Nick: "Suppose you meet someone just as careless as yourself?"
Jordan: "I hope I never will."
 Nick attends the party at Gatsby’s house, where he runs into
  Jordan
 The guests all speculate on Gatsby’s background
    No one has a real understanding of Gatsby
    He is detached from the guests in his home – aloof
 Finally meets Gatsby
 Gatsby uses Jordan as a go between with Nick
 Owl Eyes is overwhelmed by the fact that Gatsby's library is
  stocked not with the fake, cardboard backs of hooks, but with the
  works themselves. He knows that Gatsby has never read the
  books, however, because the pages have never been cut. “This
  fella's a regular Belasco.”
    The reference to David Belasco, the great playwright-producer-director of
     realistic plays. Owl Eyes is the first to realize the essentially theatrical
     quality of Gatsby's world. Just as Belasco was a technician who wanted to get
     everything right, so Gatsby spares no expense to build the material world
     necessary to fulfill his dream. Owl Eyes, as his name suggest s, is one of the
     few to really see and, in some way, understand Gatsby.
 Jordan Baker
 “New woman” of the 1920s, cynical & conceited woman, friend of Daisy
 Jordan faces the same problems that Tom and Daisy do. She has been
  born with money and has lived in a culture full of money and has been
  spoiled by it.
 She is surrounded by people like the Buchanans who perpetuate her
  indulgent behavior.
 It can be seen that Jordan has no concept of accountability and that has
  been furthered by the people who allow her to go unaccountable.
 Purpose
    Jordan, a professional golfer, is one of a rising group of athletic stars. In the
      1920s, attitudes began changing, and athletes, including women, were
      elevated to a higher social status.
 Character Flaws
   Careless – unconcerned about her driving
   She is a chronic liar. She lies in her private life as well as in her public life as
    an athlete. The reader has been warned and should not take anything she
    says to heart.
Themes
 Illusion – Gatsby is an illusion, difference in
  appearance & reality
 Carelessness – accident don’t understand that actions
  have consequences
   Nick describes Jordan as a "careless" driver. She seems
    unconcerned that she drives so poorly. Nick asks,
    "suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself?'
    and she replies "I hope I never will". Fitzgerald uses the
    word careless to describe many of the characters
    because this attitude is so closely tied to the theme of
    consequence and responsibility
  Analysis
 By holding off on his introduction of Gatsby, Fitzgerald knits a
  closer relationship between the reader and Nick. Secondly,
  Fitzgerald creates an air of mystery for the reader, not unlike the
  mystery that Nick and the others associate with Gatsby. This
  technique of delayed character revelation is also used to
  emphasize the theatrical quality of Gatsby’s approach to life that is
  an important part of his personality.
 In the opening paragraph (p.39), is one example of polysyndenton,
  “…with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-
  shears,” and in the second complete paragraph on page 40, the
  word “and” is used eighteen times. This device is used to convey
  multiplicity, to give an energetic enumeration, and to add build-
  up. In this particular case the polysyndenton gives the idea that, if
  it can be found, Gatsby owns it. If it can be purchased, Gatsby has
  it. At Gatsby’s house, the party goes on and on and on.
 Nick comments that the people at the party conduct “themselves
  according to the rules of behavior associated with an amusement
  park.”First, the statement draws a comparison of the atmosphere
  at Gatsby’s to an amusement park: many things going on in
  different places, many things to do, many drinks and food items,
  many people who don’t know each other. Second, the statement
  highlights the fact that the people at the party lack manners,
  even to the point of showing up at a party uninvited; their
  nouveau riche lack of “breeding” is what stands out to Nick.
 Fitzgerald uses the books in Gatsby’s library as a metaphor to
  convey the theme of hollowness. Owl Eyes is completely amazed
  that the books on the shelves are not simply hollow, cardboard
  looka-likes, but are actual books. They are not there just for
  show; someone could actually read them. In this class of people,
  so many of them are simply hollow cardboard replicas of people
  with nothing real or useful on the inside.
 “…I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, …whose elaborate
  formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he
  introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking
  his words with care”? (p.48)Since we have seen nothing ill mannered
  or rowdy about Gatsby, we can assume that Fitzgerald means to
  suggest that, despite Gatsby’s elegant dress and appearance, there is
  something hard-looking about him. That he is “picking his words
  with care” suggests he is speaking in a manner that is not entirely
  natural to him, a manner with which he is not comfortable, or one
  which his family has not taught to him.
 Although there are many rumors regarding Gatsby, there is a clue
  given to the reader about what the nature of Gatsby’s work may be, “
  …a butler hurried toward him with the information that Chicago was
  calling him on the wire.” (p.48) Chicago was the seat of organized
  crime and bootlegging in the 1920s. The reader begins to see past the
  rumors and discern that perhaps Gatsby came by his money, at least
  partially, as a bootlegger.
 “…at intervals she appeared suddenly at his side like an angry diamond,
  and hissed: ‘You promised!’ into his ear.” (p.51) As a diamond has many
  facets, so does this simile. The diamond, a symbol of forever love, a
  promise of undying love, is being challenged by a flirtatious, young
  actress and the husband of the woman speaking. His wife was once the
  diamond of his life and, as her position is challenged, the sharpness of
  the diamond, the cutting aspects of the diamond, are exposed. The
  diamond sharply reminds him, “You promised!”
 The four motifs of geography correspond with a particular theme or
  type of character encountered. West Egg is represents “new money,”
  like Gatsby, and symbolizes the emergence of the newly established
  aristocracy of the 1920s. East Egg symbolizes the old upper class that
  continues to dominate American social life. The valley of ashes is
  desolate and desperate, like George Wilson, symbolizing the decay of
  American society hidden behind the facade of a glittering upper class.
  New York City is an example of the chaos that Nick perceives in the
  East. Setting reinforces the themes and characters throughout the
  entire book.
“…those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the
subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.”
                                              -- Nick Carraway
 The date, July 5, 1922, is the day after Independence Day. It seems
  to indicate that the people are enjoying a freedom they didn’t
  fight for.
 Another party at Gatsby’s
 Later Nick goes to lunch with Gatsby
    Seeing the hearse is foreshadowing
    Gatsby offers proof of his background, has created an image
    Nick knows he is lying, “thread bare phrases”
    Nick is fascinated by Gatsby, begins to believe him
    Wants Nick to speak with Jordan
    Nick meets Wolfsheim
    Gatsby avoids Tom
 Jordan tells Nick about Daisy’s & Gatsby’s past
    Met during when Gatsby stationed in the South
    Gatsby has followed Daisy, but she had forgotten him
    Gatsby wants to show Daisy he has money
Themes
 Rootless-ness – Tom & Daisy have no roots, travel &
  move from place to place
 Innocence & corruption – highlighted by Gatsby’s
  better self & the unsavory Wolfsheim
Gatsby’s Car
 “Gatsby’s car is a rich cream [yellowish] color trimmed
  with bright nickel on the outside with a green leather
  interior. It is monstrous in length and has “…hat-boxes,
  and supper-boxes, and tool boxes.” (p.64)
 Gatsby’s car is the symbol of his wealth.
 It reinforces the theme of the American Dream, as the
  car is certainly representative of that dream.
 Analysis
 The East Egg’s list of names includes names such as Mr. Bunsen from
  Yale, Doctor Webster Civet, the Blackbucks who always gathered
  together and flipped up their noses at whoever came near, Stonewall
  Jackson Abrams of Georgia, and Mrs. Ulysses Swett; reputable,
  American-sounding names from reputable, stuffy places. The West
  Egg’s list of names includes the Mulreadys, Don S. Schwartze and
  Arthur McCarty, people connected with the movies in one way or
  another, Da Fontano and De Jongs who came to gamble, Gus Waize and
  Horace O’Donavan, theatrical people; ethnic-sounding names from
  less-reputable businesses or places. Fitzgerald meticulously names
  each character to further the motif of geography.
 Not only does the list offer an explanation of the makeup of the two
  Eggs it is also a description of the excessive nature of these parties.
  Fitzgerald wants this book to be critical of the materialism of America
  during this time period. The list talks of people who were wealthy and
  acted excessively in all that they did.
 Characterization – Fitzgerald first describes Wolfsheim
 using caricature. He exaggerates the size of his head and
 nose, and points out the “two fine growths of hair which
 luxuriated in either nostril.” (p.69) Fitzgerald then alludes
 to the incident with Rosy Rosenthal, a small time gambler,
 involved with the underworld. The characterization of this
 shady fellow further develops by drawing attention to the
 fact that he eats with “ferocious delicacy” and that his cuff
 buttons are human molars. (p.71) After Wolfsheim departs
 from the restaurant, Gatsby informs Nick that he is the
 “man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919.” (p.73)
 Fitzgerald appropriately names him Wolfsheim, meaning
 wolf’s home. There is no doubt left in the reader’s mind.
 This Wolfsheim is a shady character, and if Gatsby keeps
 company with him, something about Gatsby must be amiss.
 Metaphor – “He [Gatsby] came alive to me [Nick], delivered
 suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.” (p.78)
 Nick had been in the dark and confused about Gatsby, but
 all of a sudden, it all made sense, no longer hidden, but
 delivered and exposed. What had seemed purposeless now
 had meaning. The bright lights, big parties, and carnival
 atmosphere were to draw attention to his home in hopes
 that Daisy might attend. The purposeless nights of staring
 off into the sound at a green light now made sense; Daisy
 was across the sound. Now Nick understands more of
 Gatsby’s actions.
“He had passed visibly through two states and was entering
upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy
he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full
of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited
with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of
intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an
over wound clock.”
                                                  -- Nick Carraway
 As Nick is driving up to his house, he thinks it may be on
  fire, but turning the corner, he sees that it is Gatsby’s house,
  lit from tower to cellar, looking like the World’s Fair. This
  description furthers the mood that Gatsby’s place is much
  like a carnival. By continuing the development of the
  carnival like feeling, Fitzgerald conveys to the reader a sense
  that, like a carnival, Gatsby or Gatsby’s money may not be
  stable, may not be real, may be here today and gone
  tomorrow.
 Gatsby can’t hide his excitement that Daisy is coming for tea
 He offers a job to Nick, who declines
 Daisy comes for tea
   Gatsby shows up and gets reacquainted with Daisy
   They go to Gatsby’s house where he shows off his processions
   Daisy’s opinions matte, Gatsby “revalues” things based on
    Daisy’s reaction
   Gatsby points out the green light
        Symbolic of Gatsby’s longing for Daisy & wealth
        Represents all that in the distance that Gatsby wants to posses
   Daisy is a part of the world that Gatsby wants to be a part of
 The rain outside mirrors the storms within, as Gatsby and Daisy
  meet again. When Nick leaves Gatsby and Daisy alone to talk, he
  stands outside under a tree and the rain sounds like their voices.
  As the rain stops, signifying the end of their conversation, the
  sun begins to shine. Nick perceives that silence has fallen within
  his house as the sun begins to shine, and he enters the house to
  find Gatsby absolutely glowing, radiant.
Themes
 Dreams – Tour of mansion is culmination of
  Gatsby’s dream
 Pursuit of an ideal – Gatsby has a long-sought
  reunion with Daisy & resumption of romance
 Analysis
 “The flowers were unnecessary, for at two o’clock a
  greenhouse arrived from Gatsby’s…” (p.84) The
  exaggeration (hyperbole) of the number of flowers sent
  over by Gatsby emphasizes both his extravagance and the
  desperateness of his quest—the lengths to which he feels
  he must go in order to win his lost love.
 “The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the
  rain.” (p.85) is a metaphor that compares the sound of
  Daisy’s voice to tonic. It is appropriate to compare Daisy’s
  voice to a wild tonic since it is her voice that is intoxicating
  to men. A “tonic” can also be a medicinal cure, and the
  sound of Daisy’s voice is a cure for Gatsby’s longing.
 The clock is like Jay Gatsby, who, when he realized he was poor
  and would never get Daisy, stopped ticking. He is trapped in his
  dreams just as the clock is trapped in a moment. Fitzgerald may
  also be implying that Gatsby stopped growing emotionally, and is
  essentially frozen in time
 The self-assured, easy-going Gatsby is visibly ill at ease. He is as
  pale as death with his hands shoved into his pockets. First, he is
  embarrassed at seeing Daisy again. Then, he is filled with
  unreasoning joy. Next, he is consumed with wonder.
 Daisy cries about the shirts, She says because they are beautiful,
  but, in reality, she is mourning the fact that she could have had
  both money and love. Perhaps at this moment she realizes the
  emptiness of her life with Tom and is overwhelmed at the
  thoughts of a dream she can now not attain.
 “He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end,
  waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity.
  Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an over-wound clock.” (p.92)
  This is the second time that Fitzgerald uses a clock to compare Gatsby and
  his dream. The first time, it was a broken clock, frozen in time. This time, it
  is a clock that has been wound too tightly. It seems the spring will break and
  uncoil. This may be used as a symbol to alert the reader that this is the
  climax of the story, and it is all down hill from here. This passage reflects not
  only Gatsby’s life and dream, but also reflects America in the 1920s. As WWI
  ended, the Roaring Twenties began. The American dream changes as the
  stock market grew. By 1929, the stock market had reached an unprecedented
  level, like an over-wound clock, until the spring broke and the stock market
  crashed. It is an uncanny predication of what is to come, as Fitzgerald could
  not have known it when publishing this book in 1925, but he surely could
  have known that the growth could not continue at this rate for long.
 “Daisy tumbled short of his dreams.” (p.95) Much of The
 Great Gatsby, including symbols and themes, has to do
 with, and is associated with, dreams. This statement is
 filled with symbolic meaning as well as literal meaning.
 Oftentimes one dreams and builds such an illusion, that
 when the dream comes to fruition, it is often less than
 one had hoped for. This is true for Gatsby. The romantic
 vision of Daisy that Gatsby has created, much as he
 created himself, dissipates as the reality sets in that
 Daisy is only human. This statement also reflects the
 sentiments of the American people as the elusive
 American dream, once attained, also tumbled far short.
Nick: I wouldn’t ask too much of her. "You can’t repeat the past.
Gatsby: Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!
 Chapter VI provides the reader with more details regarding
  Gatsby’s past and points out the distinction between old
  money and new money. Regardless of how wealthy one is,
  what matters is the source of the money, and how long
  one’s family has had it.
 The reader sees that Gatsby has risen from rags to riches
  through his ingenuity and resourcefulness – The American
  Dream
 James Gatz
   Jay Gatsby is actually James Gatz from North Dakota.
   At sixteen, he left home and became his own man.
   He met wealthy Dan Cody and joined him on his yacht as a
    personal assistant.
   Cody becomes a mentor and a link to another class
 Tom and two friends arrive at Gatsby’s
    Gatsby tries to remain polite
    Invite Gatsby to go with them, but leave without him
    He doesn’t fit in to there “club”
 Tom and Daisy attend one of Gatsby’s parties
    Tom questions how Gatsby got his money
    Daisy is unhappy
Themes
 Creating own identity – Nick details Gatsby’s true
  identity
 Illusions – shattered by real history – party not up to
  Daisy’s standards
 Dreams –
   American Dream parallels Gatsby’s dream
   Gatsby wants to go back in time
   Dan Cody is the American archetype of instant wealth
 Analysis
 The meaning of the name Dan Cody. Dan is short for
 Daniel, a probable allusion to Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone
 was one of the first frontiersmen who headed for the West.
 Wild Bill Cody is one of the last of the frontiersman.
 Gatsby is fashioned by Dan Cody to be a type of
 frontiersman—one who lives and dies in the pursuit of the
 frontier of the American dream.
“He put his hands in his coat pockets and turned back eagerly to
his scrutiny of the house, as though my presence marred the
sacredness of the vigil. So I walked away and left him standing
there in the moonlight — watching over nothing.”
                                                 -- Nick Carraway
 Foreshadowing – Hot weather builds climate for the
  confrontation, shows intensity
 The group heads to NYC
    Tom, Nick & Jordan are in Gatsby’s car
    Gatsby & Daisy are in Tom’s car
    Tom wants to take what Gatsby loves, just as Gatsby has taken what
     Tom loves. Daisy slips away from Tom and says she will ride in the
     coupe with Gatsby. Gatsby is not thrilled about give up his car, but,
     if Daisy is with him, he will.
 Tom stops for gas and finds out Wilson wants to leave town
 Argument at the hotel
    Gatsby says Daisy never loved Tom
    Tom wants Daisy to say she never loved Gatsby
 Gatsby & Daisy leave in his car
 Myrtle, thinking Tom is in the yellow car, runs out into the street.
  She is hit by the car and dies
    Gatsby is only concerned about Daisy
    Tom sees an opportunity to get rid of Gatsby
Allusions
 Trimalchio is a character in the novel The Satyricon
 by Petronius.
   Trimalchio is a freedman who through hard work and
    perseverance has attained power and wealth. He is
    known for throwing lavish parties.
   His background parallels Gatsby’s.
   Trimalchio and Trimalchio in West Egg were among
    Fitzgerald's working titles for the novel.
Themes
 Carelessness –
    Jordan not affected by Myrtle’s death
    Daisy treats Gatsby as a game – wants the security of
     being Mrs. Buchanan, but like Gatsby’s attention
 Dreams – Gatsby needs Daisy to have never loved
  Tom to justify his dream
 Hypocrisy – Tom defends marriage & family
 Responsibility –
    Gatsby still wants to protect Daisy – keeps watch
    Nick sympathized with him
 Analysis
 “I’m right across from you”? (p.118) Gatsby is conveying the idea
  that he and Tom are equals.
 “Her voice is full of money.” (p.120) Daisy’s voice has been
  highlighted throughout the story, but it is Gatsby who is able to
  identify the sound. It is full of money. She is a prize to be had.
  Gatsby’s lust for wealth preserves his love for her
 “… ‘I just remembered that today’s my birthday.’ I was thirty.”
  (p.135) This statement is significant because this is the day that
  Gatsby’s dream dies. It seems as though Fitzgerald signals the
  end of dreams as Nick turns 30. – the passing of youth
 “So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.”
  (p.136) This statement serves three purposes. It highlights the
  fact that Gatsby’s dream is dead, foreshadows an upcoming death
  as twilight closes in, and works as a transition statement
  signaling that the climax of the novel is over
"They're a rotten crowd. You're worth the whole damn bunch
put together.“
                                               -- Nick Carraway
 The tone is set in the opening paragraph by foreshadowing
  upcoming trouble. Nick says that he cannot sleep and feels
  he should warn Gatsby about something.
 Gatsby finally tells Nick the truth about himself
   Gatsby’s love for Daisy is real to him
   He has been obsessed with the mystique of wealth that she has
 Wilson is told Gatsby was involved in the accident
 The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg
    Wilson: God sees everything
    The eyes remind the characters of the judgment they deserve,
     even if they never receive it.
    The eyes make them and the reader conscious of the guilt these
     people should be feeling.
Themes
 Dreams – Gatsby won’t run away = end of a dream
 Carelessness –Daisy over protected
 Social Awareness –Michaelis & Wilson the state of
  ordinary man in wasteland
 Innocence & corruption – Nick tells Gatsby he’s
  better than all of them
  Analysis
 “’Jay Gatsby’ had broken up like glass against Tom’s hard
  malice…” (p.148) The simile compares Gatsby with a broken
  pile of glass. Tom has broken the image that Gatsby created.
  All that Gatsby says he is, and all that he hopes to
  accomplish, is gone forever. His dreams are shattered; his
  image is shattered. There is nothing left but a broken, empty
  life.
 Nick says, “You’re [Gatsby] worth the whole damn bunch put
  together.” (p.154) Although at first glance this sounds like a
  compliment, in actuality Nick is saying that even though he
  knows Gatsby isn’t the greatest, in comparison to the crowd,
  Gatsby looks angelic. Following this statement to Gatsby,
  Nick informs the reader that he is glad he said that to Gatsby
  although “I disapproved of him from beginning to end.”
“After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that,
distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction. So when the
blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the
wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home.”
                                                  -- Nick Carraway
 Tom & Daisy have left without telling anyone where they are going
 Henry Gatz shows up for his son’s funeral
    Nick learns that Gatsby had always been determined
 Nick ends his relationship with Jordan
 Nick decides that he doesn't want to live in the East anymore. He
  believes that he, and all of the others, were not fit to live out in the
  East and that is why they failed there.
 The poor attendance at Gatsby's funeral exemplifies the ultimate
  failure of Gatsby to ever achieve what he wanted.
    The woman he loved was not present, she was off with her husband.
    None of the people who frequented the parties over the summer
     showed up
    Wolfsheim, one of the few people who could be called a close friend
     to Gatsby, refused to attend.
    This can all be tied into the final quote about trying to grasp for that
     green light. The more Gatsby tried to obtain, the less he ended up
     with. Like the green light, it receded before him no matter how badly
     he wanted all of it.
 Themes
 Carelessness –
    “Tom & Daisy are careless people.” Tom and Daisy escape in
     the end of the book. They won’t be bothered by the
     suffering they cause
    There was a situation they would have to face and they didn't
     want to.
 Emptiness of people – contrast of parties with hundred’s
  of people & a funeral with three
 Hypocrisy – Tom saddened by the loss of Myrtle, but he
  cold-heartedly sent Tom to murder Gatsby
 Pride – Henry Gatz is proud of his son, sees him as Jimmy
  the All-American boy
 Shallowness – Gatsby’s smile is a social weapon, it has no
  meaning
Symbols
 Rain at the funeral the end of a dream & Autumn
  setting – the end is near
 Gatsby’s schedule – hard working ambition & thirst for
  adventure
 Gatsby – idealism – embodiment of spiritual
  desolation & waste
 Nick – hope for moral & spiritual growth – traditional
  moral codes of America
 Tom – representative of the moral wasteland which
  has replaced American idealism
    Success
 Gatsby uses a corrupt form of the American dream to acquire the wealth
    he thinks he needs to win back Daisy.
   The energy that might have gone into the pursuit of noble goals has been
    channeled into the pursuit of power and pleasure, and a very showy, but
    fundamentally empty form of success.
   Gatsby had been in love with Daisy for a long while. He tried every way
    that money could buy to try to satisfy his love and lust for Daisy.
   Instead of confronting her with his feelings, he tried to get her attention
    by throwing big parties with high hopes that she might possibly show up
   Gatsby was actually a very lonesome and unhappy man who lived in a
    grand house and had extravagant parties.
   He did it all for one woman, who initially was impressed with his
    flagrant show of wealth.
   Daisy was extremely disenchanted after she found out how Gatsby had
    acquired his fortune.
 Morals
 The characters in this novel live for money and were
  controlled by money.
 Love and happiness cannot be bought, no matter how
  much money was spent.
 Tom and Daisy were married and even had a child, but
  they both still committed adultery.
 They tried to find happiness with their lovers, but the risk
  of changing their lifestyles was not worth it.
 They were not happy with their spouses but could not find
  happiness with their lovers.
 Happiness cannot be found or bought.
 Hope
 Gatsby bought a house in West Egg, in the hopes that he would
  win Daisy back.
    He did this so that he could look across the bay to the green light at
     the end of Daisy's dock.
    He expected her to turn up at one of his parties, and when she
     didn't, he asked Jordan to ask Nick to ask Daisy.
 Fitzgerald stresses the need for hope and dreams to give meaning
  and purpose to man's efforts.
 Fitzgerald goes on to state that the failure of hopes and dreams,
  the failure of the American dream itself, is unavoidable, not only
  because reality cannot keep up with ideals, but also because the
  ideals are in any case usually too fantastic to be realized.
 Gatsby is naive, impractical and over-sentimental. It is this which
  makes him attempt the impossible, to repeat the past.
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices
that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes
  Geography
 Throughout the novel, places and settings epitomize the various
  aspects of the 1920s American society that Fitzgerald depicts.
   East Egg represents the old aristocracy
   West Egg the newly rich
   The valley of ashes the moral and social decay of America
   New York City the uninhibited, amoral quest for money and pleasure
 The East is connected to the moral decay and social cynicism of
  New York
 The West (including Midwestern and northern areas) is
  connected to more traditional social values and ideals
   Nick’s analysis in Chapter 9 of the story he has related reveals his sensitivity
    to this dichotomy: though it is set in the East, the story is really one of the
    West, as it tells how people originally from west of the Appalachians (as all
    of the main characters are) react to the pace and style of life on the East
    Coast
Weather
 The weather in The Great Gatsby unfailingly matches the
 emotional and narrative tone of the story.
   Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion begins amid a pouring rain,
    proving awkward and melancholy; their love reawakens just
    as the sun begins to come out.
   Gatsby’s climactic confrontation with Tom occurs on the
    hottest day of the summer, under the scorching sun.
   Wilson kills Gatsby on the first day of autumn, as Gatsby
    floats in his pool despite a palpable chill in the air—a
    symbolic attempt to stop time and restore his relationship
    with Daisy to the way it was five years before, in 1917
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to
represent abstract ideas or concepts
The Green Light
 Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely
  visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn
 Represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future.
 Gatsby associates it with Daisy
   Chapter 1 Gatsby reaches toward it in the darkness as a
    guiding light to lead him to his goal.
   Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is broadly associated with
    the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that
    more generalized ideal.
 Chapter 9, Nick compares the green light to how America,
 rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers
 of the new nation.
 The Valley of Ashes
 The valley of ashes between West Egg and New
  York City consists of a long stretch of desolate
  land created by the dumping of industrial ashes.
 Represents the moral and social decay that
  results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth,
  as the rich indulge themselves with regard for
  nothing but their own pleasure.
 Symbolizes the plight of the poor, like George
  Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes and lose
  their vitality as a result.
The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg
 The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled
    eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes.
   They may represent God staring down upon and judging American
    society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point
    explicitly.
   Throughout the novel, Fitzgerald suggests that symbols only have
    meaning because characters instill them with meaning.
   The connection between the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg and God
    exists only in George Wilson’s grief-stricken mind.
   This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature
    of the image.
   The eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the
    world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people
    invest objects with meaning.
 Gatsby’s "books"
 An owl-eyed man at a Gatsby party sits in awe in the library,
  murmuring with amazement that all the books on Gatsby’s
  shelves are "real books.”
 The image works to suggest that much of what Gatsby presents
  to the world is a façade; for example, he wants people to believe
  that he’s a well-educated man, an Oxford man, but in fact he
  only spent a short time there after the war.
 The books may represent the fact that Gatsby is a fraud – that he
  has built up an image of himself that is not consistent with the
  facts of his life.
 But, you could also argue that the unopened, unread books
  represent Gatsby himself: though there are many rumors about
  who he is and how he earned his money, the facts remain
  unexamined, unopened.
 The Owl-Eyed Man
 Owls are a symbol of wisdom, but can also be an omen of
  death. Then there’s the glasses bit; a man with large eyes and
  spectacles would be expected to be more perceptive than those
  around him.
 He is the only guest who, in doubting Gatsby, is also wise
  enough to investigate further.
 Moving right along to the portent of death part, did you notice
  that it was the owl-eyed man who had the car accident outside
  of Gatsby’s house? And that, shortly after he got out of the car,
  he revealed that someone else was driving? Does any of this
  sound familiar?
 The scene at the end he’s the only former guest to come to
  Gatsby’s funeral. Why would that be? Exactly.

    Colors
    Yellow and Gold: Money, Money, Money. Oh, and Death
       Gold = old money
       "yellow cocktail music" playing at Gatsby’s party where the turkeys are "bewitched to dark gold" and Jordan and Nick sit
          with "two girls in yellow."
       It seems clear, then, that Gatsby is using these parties to try to fit in with the "old money" crowd.
       While Gatsby buys a yellow car to further promote his facade, he’s really not fooling anyone.
       Lastly, we’ve got Daisy, who is only called "the golden girl" once Gatsby realizes that her voice, her main feature, is "full of
          money."
       Yellow is not just the color of money, but also of destruction. Yellow is the color of the car that runs down Myrtle. The
          glasses of Eckleburg, looking over the wasteland of America, are yellow. This dual symbolism clearly associates money
          with destruction; the ash heaps are the filthy result of the decadent lifestyle led by the rich.
   White: Innocence and Femininity
       Daisy’s car (back before she was married) was white. So are her clothes, the rooms of her house, and about half the
          adjectives used to describe her (her "white neck," "white girlhood," the king’s daughter "high in a white palace").
       At the end of the novel, she is described as selfish, careless, and destructive. Does this make the point that even the
          purest characters in Gatsby have been corrupted? Did Daisy start off all innocent and fall along the way, or was there no
          such purity to begin with? Or, in some way, does Daisy’s decision to remain with Tom allow her to keep her innocence?
   Blue: Gatsby’s Illusions – his deeply romantic dreams of unreality
       His gardens are blue, his chauffeur wears blue, the water separating him from Daisy is his "blue lawn," mingled with the
          "blue smoke of brittle leaves" in his yard.
       His transformation into Jay Gatsby is sparked by Cody, who buys him, among other things, a "blue coat.”
   Grey and a General Lack of Color: Lifelessness
       Then there is the lack of color presented in the grey ash heaps. If the ash heaps are associated with lifelessness and
          barrenness, and grey is associated with the ash heaps, anyone described as grey is going to be connected to barren
          lifelessness.
       Wilson: "When anyone spoke to him he invariably laughed in an agreeable colorless way." Wilson’s face is "ashen." His
          eyes are described as "pale" and "glazed." It is then no coincidence that Wilson is the bearer of lifelessness, killing
          Gatsby among yellow leaved trees.
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful?
Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
 Cynical & Ironic
 Nick is one cynical little cookie. Even though Nick reserves explicit judgment on the
  characters, Fitzgerald still manages to implicitly criticize through his narrator's tone. (Think
  about how ludicrous Myrtle seems when, although she isn't upper class, she still tries to look
  down on her husband.) The characters are sometimes slighted by the ironic tone, and we the
  readers are forced to read with the same cynicism that Fitzgerald writes.
 Nick is all too aware of the ridiculousness of certain social circumstances; he’s also aware of the
  seductive quality of the upper class, even though he feels it’s somewhat empty.
 Nick also has a good grip on what he thinks is righteous or reproachable, and he hands that to
  his audience as the absolute true judgment of a person or an act. For instance, take a look at
  this excerpt from the last few pages of the novel, when Nick has become disillusioned with his
  former acquaintances:

   I couldn’t forgive [Tom] or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely
   justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they
   smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast
   carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess
   they had made....

   I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a
   child.
Character Clues: How does the author let us know who’s good,
who’s bad, and who’s ugly? By the time you’re through with
Character Clues, you’ll be a regular Sherlock Holmes.
 Social Status or Societal Position
 Because social status is considered a defining quality by
  the characters in the book, it naturally becomes a means
  by which the reader comes to define the characters.
 That Gatsby isn’t socially in the upper class (even if he is
  economically) becomes the dividing line between him and
  Daisy, and arguably the blockade on the way to realizing
  his dreams.
 Tom is in part defined by his money.
 Daisy is summed up by Gatsby when he simply says, "Her
  voice is full of money."
Location
 Gatsby lives in West Egg, but Daisy resides in East Egg.
 The difference in location highlights the differences
  between Jay and Daisy’s societal rank.
 It’s also worth noting that Jordan, Nick, and Daisy are
  all in East Egg together, while Nick and Gatsby reside
  together in West Egg.
 This division makes sense toward the end of the novel,
  when Nick takes Gatsby’s side against the others – the
  "rotten crowd."
Occupation
 Gatsby ends up largely defined by his occupation –
 bootlegging.
   It is because of the stigma carried by this profession that he
    tries so hard to conceal it.
   The illegal nature of his job is a constant reminder that
    Gatsby got to where he is unnaturally; that he doesn’t really
    belong in New York’s high society.
 Nick, on the other hand, is "a bond man," a job that, like
  Nick, is straightforward and clean.
 Gatsby insists on introducing Tom as "the polo player;"
  because Jay defines Tom by his physicality, Jay expresses
  his impression of the man by suggesting that Tom’s work
  is of a physical nature.
 Speech and Dialogue
 For the most part, characters in The Great Gatsby are well-
  educated. Their speech and dialogue reflect this
  education, which in turn reflects their wealth and social
  status.
 Gatsby’s effort to sound well-educated – Nick contends
  Gatsby practices his speech
 Mr. Wolfsheim speaks in a dialect that indicates his lack of
  education, lack of class, and general lack of what wealthy,
  snobby people in the 1920s might have called "good
  breeding.”
 The use of different dialects works to reveal the differences
  between the working class and the upper class.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored
in a literary work
 The Decline of the American Dream in the 1920s
 Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its overarching
  cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. The reckless jubilance that led to decadent parties and
  wild jazz music—epitomized in The Great Gatsby by the opulent parties that Gatsby throws every
  Saturday night—resulted ultimately in the corruption of the American dream, as the unrestrained desire
  for money and pleasure surpassed more noble goals.
 When World War I ended in 1918, the generation of young Americans who had fought the war became
  intensely disillusioned, as the brutal carnage that they had just faced made the Victorian social morality
  of early-twentieth-century America seem like stuffy, empty hypocrisy. The dizzying rise of the stock
  market in the aftermath of the war led to a sudden, sustained increase in the national wealth and a
  newfound materialism, as people began to spend and consume at unprecedented levels.
 A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune, but the American aristocracy—
  families with old wealth—scorned the newly rich industrialists and speculators. Additionally, the
  passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919, which banned the sale of alcohol, created a thriving
  underworld designed to satisfy the massive demand for bootleg liquor among rich and poor alike.
 Nick compares the green bulk of America rising from the ocean to the green light at the end of Daisy’s
  dock. Just as Americans have given America meaning through their dreams for their own lives, Gatsby
  instills Daisy with a kind of idealized perfection that she neither deserves nor possesses. Gatsby’s dream
  is ruined by the unworthiness of its object, just as the American dream in the 1920s is ruined by the
  unworthiness of its object—money and pleasure. Like 1920s Americans in general, fruitlessly seeking a
  bygone era in which their dreams had value, Gatsby longs to re-create a vanished past—his time in
  Louisville with Daisy—but is incapable of doing so. When his dream crumbles, all that is left for Gatsby
  to do is die; all Nick can do is move back to Minnesota, where American values have not decayed.
The Hollowness of the Upper Class
 One of the major topics explored in The Great Gatsby is the sociology of wealth, specifically, how
  the newly minted millionaires of the 1920s differ from and relate to the old aristocracy of the
  country’s richest families. In the novel, West Egg and its denizens represent the newly rich, while
  East Egg and its denizens, especially Daisy and Tom, represent the old aristocracy. Fitzgerald
  portrays the newly rich as being vulgar, gaudy, ostentatious, and lacking in social graces and taste.
  Gatsby, for example, lives in a monstrously ornate mansion, wears a pink suit, drives a Rolls-
  Royce, and does not pick up on subtle social signals, such as the insincerity of the Sloanes’
  invitation to lunch. In contrast, the old aristocracy possesses grace, taste, subtlety, and elegance,
  epitomized by the Buchanans’ tasteful home and the flowing white dresses of Daisy and Jordan
  Baker.
 What the old aristocracy possesses in taste, however, it seems to lack in heart, as the East Eggers
  prove themselves careless, inconsiderate bullies who are so used to money’s ability to ease their
  minds that they never worry about hurting others. The Buchanans exemplify this stereotype
  when, at the end of the novel, they simply move to a new house far away rather than condescend
  to attend Gatsby’s funeral. Gatsby, on the other hand, whose recent wealth derives from criminal
  activity, has a sincere and loyal heart, remaining outside Daisy’s window until four in the morning
  in Chapter 7 simply to make sure that Tom does not hurt her. Ironically, Gatsby’s good qualities
  (loyalty and love) lead to his death, as he takes the blame for killing Myrtle rather than letting
  Daisy be punished, and the Buchanans’ bad qualities (fickleness and selfishness) allow them to
  remove themselves from the tragedy not only physically but psychologically.

				
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