Trahan: Great Gatsby

Notice how many times Fitzgerald uses the words hope, or dream. Why does he do this? It all relates to the American Dream…it is the hope and dream to become rich in America. Athough much of the first chapter discusses the rich on each side of the bay (West and East Egg) much of the setting is at a table with rich and well-known people, yet none at the table are really happy.
Where is Nick from? Where does he live now? What is his relationship to the Buchanans? Nick is from the Mid-West/Minnesota. He now lives in West Egg, next to Gatsby. Daisy Buchanan is his second cousin once removed and he knew Tom Buchanan in college.
Nick starts the novel by relaying his father’s advice “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” List Nick’s advantages. Does he reserve judgment in the novel? Well-do-to family; believes himself to be highly moral and tolerant of others; he is a good listener so people confide in him many secrets; father is funding his first year of work
Pay attention to time. What is the day and year during the first scene at Daisy’s house? Begins in spring 1922; dinner is 2 weeks before the longest day of the year (June 21st-first day of summer or summer solstice
Describe Nick. What facts do you know about him, and what do you infer about him? What kind of a narrator do you think he will be? He will be a good narrator because he is not quick to judge others so he will be impartial. People confide in him so the reader will have inside knowledge. We know he is wealthy, yet has good morals.
What image does the author use to describe Jordan Baker? What does it mean? Quotes from the book “completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall.” She has “autumn-leaf yellow” hair, a firm athletic body, and an aloof attitude. She is seen as someone who is snobbish. “Jordan’s name is also symbolic. Her first and last names are fittingly the names of cars during the Roaring 20s. Jordan uses automobiles carelessly just like the rest of the rich, and so she–like the cars–represents Old Money society smashing up the other “unfortunate” humans who get in their way.
How does Nick react to Jordan? He said he feels as though he needs to apologize to her bc he feels as though he has disturbed her.
What does Nick already know about Tom? He knows he comes from a wealthy family. He knows he can come across as conceited and that a lot of people in college “hated his guts.”
What book is Tom reading? What does his interest in this book tell you about him? The Rise of the Colored Empire is the book Tom is reading. That he is arrogant, conceited and racist.
What does Tom’s behavior reveal about his character? Nick comments that his concentration on this is pathetic. That he doesn’t have much tolerance for others. He tells the reader he believes he and his race are better than others.
What does Daisy say she wants for her little girl? She wants her to grow up to be a “beautiful little fool.”
Describe Tom and Daisy’s relationship. (Are they in love?) No. He is rude to her. He interrupts her and is demeaning. He is having an affair. And Daisy just wants the money Honey $$$$$
Describe Nick’s first look at Gatsby. What is unusual about Gatsby’s behavior that night? He is standing in his back yard with his arms outstretched, trembling, looking at a green light far away.
Describe the “valley of ashes.” What does it look like and what does it represent? The valley of ashes is a gloomy, decaying, disgusting area. It is described as “ashes grow like wheat,” “grotesque gardens,” (juxtaposition) “rising smoke,” “powdery air,” “gray cars crawl,” “ghastly creak,” “impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.”It represents the corruption of society. It sets the tone for the contrast between the East/West Egg with all the millionaires to the valley of ashes where the Wilsons live. There is contrast in describing Myrtle to Daisy and the atmosphere in the valley to the atmosphere in the Egg.
Who is Dr. T.J. Eckleburg? Eye doctor; describes how the eyes of Eckleburg “brood on over the solemn dumping ground,” through a pair of “enormous yellow spectacles” (21). GOD’S EYES
Describe Mr. Wilson and Myrtle. Describe the area where they live. Do they seem to fit into the setting? Wilson: blond, spiritless man, anemic, and faintly handsome. Myrtle: thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuousy as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitaliy about her as if he nerves of her body were continually smouldering.
Fitzgerald uses a metaphor to refer to the Valley of Ashes as a “solemn dumping ground,” to highlight how the valley represents the moral and social decay of the wealthy. Likewise, the colour yellow of the spectacles represents the decayed moral values, during the Jazz Age era. But the valley of ashes can also be seen as more commentary on the American Dream. The America of The Great Gatsby is ashen, decaying, and barren. And the Wilsons live there, which means their whole sordid story—the infidelity, immorality, lack of compassion, and anger—is associated with this failed American Dream, too.
Where do Nick and Tom Buchanan go? They go to the mechanic garage that George owns
What more have you learned about Nick in this chapter? Is he similar or different than the people he spends his time with? Nick doesn’t handle his liquor well. He is rather normal and level-headed compared to most of the other characters. We come to trust him as a narrator and character.
Describe the violent act Tom committed against Myrtle. What does this reveal about him? Tom slaps Myrtle in the face and makes her nose bleed bc she continues to say Daisy’s name over and over. It tells us that he doesn’t have control of his temper and he doesn’t handle his liquor
What rumors have been told about Gatsby? Why does Fitzgerald reveal rumors rather than fact? We have heard he killed a guy. We heard he was a German spy. We heard he was a bootlegger. We heard he was a war hero. Fitzgerald wants to portray him as an enigma, as something mysterious.
What does Nick think of Gatsby after meeting him? He likes him. He thought he would be older. Nick comments “He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in your life.”
How is Gatsby different from his guests? He is different because he doesn’t get drunk or dance like his guests.
Why does Nick choose to share his thoughts and feelings with Jordan? Nick is attracted to Jordan. She is the only person he really knows the first time he goes to Gatsby’s party.
Why does Fitzgerald list all of Gatsby’s party guests? He list the guests so we can see that people who attend Gatsby’s party are “distinguishable.” They are all “famous” in their own right, yet few of them know Gatsby personally or really care to; they are there to “be seen.”
Why does Gatsby tell Nick about his life? Do you believe Gatsby? Does Nick? Gatsby tells Nick his story because he wants Nick to like him and he wants to defuse the stories Nick is hearing about him. Nick does not believe anything he says at first. It actually thinks it’s laughable. After Nick gives him some “proof,” he believes him to a certain extent; he is still somewhat skeptical.
What role does Meyer Wolfsheim play in the novel? Why is there so much focus on his nose and what does this tell you about Fitzgerald’s politics? Meyer Wolfsheim is quite possibly Gatsby’s mob connection. Apparently he Wolfsheim is the famous guy behind the World Series fix of 1919. Fitzgerald uses him to differentiate Gatsby’s new wealth from those of “old” money. His nose alludes to him being Jewish.
What does Jordan’s story of Daisy’s marriage reveal about Daisy? It reveals that she was really in love with Gatsby. She married Tom mostly for his money.
Why did Gatsby want Daisy to see his house? He wanted to impress her and show her that he could provide her with the type of lifestyle she was accustomed to living.
What does Jordan tell Nick about Gatsby and Daisy? She tells Nick that they dated before Daisy and Tom married. She said she saw them together in a car and then he went to war.
With what color are Daisy and her past associated? White
Describe Tom and Daisy’s wedding day. Daisy received a letter from Gatsby. It upset her and she cried and cried. She wanted to stop the wedding but it didn’t happen.
What does Jordan tell Nick that Gatsby wants him to do? Gatsby wants Nick to invite Daisy to his place for tea so she and Gatsby can reunite.
Why does Gatsby deliver so many goods and services to Nick’s house? He wants to make sure Nick will hold up his end of the bargin by going through with the meeting that he has set up with Daisy
Describe the effect of rain on the plot. The rain is symbolic. When they first meet at Nick’s it is raining, representing the sadness associated with their past. After half an hour the rain stops and the sun comes out; this signifies the positive path their reunion has created.
Why does Gatsby offer Nick work? How does Nick feel about this? Gatsby offers Nick the job as a way to pay him for having Daisy over for him. Nick would have done it anyway, not for any type of payment. Nick is insulted that Gatsby offered it to him. Nick feels like he is a kind, honest person and was doing it simply to be nice.
Explain the significance of the green light. The green light that Gatsby stretches his arms towards represents the desire for the American Dream and money. It is also his personal desire for Daisy. It is significant because most of the characters in the story are searching for money and the American Dream, yet most of them are unhappy while doing it.
Why does Gatsby get so many phone calls? What does this say about him? We assume he is getting the phone calls because he is conducting some type of important (possibly illegal business. It shows he is an important business man.
How long did it take Gatsby to earn the money to buy his house? 3 years
What unusual thing does Gatsby do when he shows the bedroom? Why does he do this? He takes out all his fine shirts and starts tossing them on the bed. Daisy is overwhelmed. Not so much by the shirts but by what they represent. They represent the vast wealth Gatsby has and that he is so proud to show it to Daisy because he has accumulated it all to impress her.

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