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The Great Gatsby


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#1 gm-school

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 01:28 PM

I can only find a topic like this for death of a salesman and thought it would be useful to have a Gatsby one to share essays quotes etc.

Note: I have quoted from sites such as sparknotes to reduce your searching time for various pieces of information.

Some useful Gatsby links:
Notes
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby
http://www.gradesaver.com/classicnotes/titles/gatsby/
http://www.bookrags.com/notes/gat/
http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/barrons/grtgats02.asp

Sample essays:
http://www.planetpapers.com/Literature/The...atsby/index.php (all free)
http://www.123helpme.com/search.asp?text=gatsby (some free)

Gatsby forums:
http://www.online-literature.com/forums/fo...play.php?f=1112

Search Gatsby (useful for quotes):
http://books.google.com/books?q=gatsby

Themes
  • The American Dream
  • Dreams and reality
  • The morality of wealth
  • The pursuit of pleasure
  • The importance of money and wealth
Characters
Daisy:
  • superficial
  • selfish
  • spoilt
  • charming
Tom:
  • physically strong
  • potential for violence
  • ruthless
  • racist
  • unfaithful
  • cruel
  • selfish
Gatsby:
  • idealistic
  • determined
  • ambitious
  • Does not have the corrupt morals of the others
  • Willing to break the law in order to further his ambitions
Nick:
The only character who shows any change - he becomes more judgemental and learns from the experience that he does not belong in the east.

George Wilson:
  • Represents the failure of The American Dream
  • Helps to convey the theme of materialism and wealth
  • Conveys the class divisions
Myrtle:
  • Has a hunger for life
  • Unhappy
  • Lacks good taste and breeding
  • Just seen as an item to Tom
  • Her apartment is inappropriate and conveys humour
  • Trys unsuccessfully to be Daisy
Catherine and the M'kees
Represent people who want more out of life

Jordan Baker
  • Jordon is a smaller character in the story, but she makes a big impact.
  • She introduces Nick to Gatsby. This in turn brings Daisy and Gatsby together.
  • Jordon is professional golf player.
  • Jordon and Nick have an unclear relationship throughout the story.
Meyer Wolfsheim
  • Wolfsheim helped Gatsby making money in the bond business when he first came to New York after he returned from the war.
  • Wolfsheim seems to have a dark past.
  • He supposedly is the one who fixed the World Series of 1919.
Language
  • Use of poetic - like prose to give very vivid descriptions
  • Imagery
  • Use of color
  • Use of light imagery
  • Narrative viewpoint of Nick
Structure
  • Alternate chapters/ alternate setting
  • Tightly structured
  • told retrospectively
Symbolism
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
  • The green light
    QUOTE
    Situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West Egg lawn, the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter I he 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. In Chapter IX, 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
    QUOTE
    First introduced in Chapter II, 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. It 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. The valley of ashes also symbolizes the plight of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result.
  • The yellow car
  • The red petrol pumps
  • The names at the party
  • The eyes (The "owl-eyed" man/opticians sign)
    QUOTE
    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. Instead, 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. Thus, 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. Nick explores these ideas in Chapter VIII, when he imagines Gatsby’s final thoughts as a depressed consideration of the emptiness of symbols and dreams.
Quotes
1) Nick, on Gatsby: "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" (6).

2) Daisy, on her newborn girl: "All right...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" (21).

3) Nick, on himself: "Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known" (64).

4) Nick, on Gatsby's idealization of Daisy: "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" (101).

5) Gatsby, on Nick's assertion that he can't repeat the past: "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can" (116).

6) Nick, on Tom Buchanan: "There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind..." (131).

7) Tom Buchanan, on Gatsby: "I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that's the idea you can count me out..." (137).

8) Nick, on Gatsby: "They're a rotten crowd....You're worth the whole damn bunch put together" (162).

9) Nick, on the Buchanans: "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" (188).

10) Nick, on resilience: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" (189).

Techniques
  • key incident - the plaza hotel
  • pathetic fallacy
  • word choice
  • symbolism
  • climax
  • Use of metaphors
Turning Point
The turning point was at a scene in the plaza hotel which clearly highlighted the failings of his dreams which are shown through lituary techniques used throughout the novel.

The scene for the turning point is remarkably set at the very beginning of chapter 7. At numerous points in this chapter reference is made to the oppressive heat and Nick adopts a confused narrative. Whilst talking about his journey on the train to New York Nick mentions that:
‘The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest of the summer’
This quotation is useful due to its use of pathetic fallacy. The writer uses the heat as a symbol of the upcoming conflict due to its connotation of rashness and a lack of clear thinking. This is evident throughout the opening pages of chapter seven with its constant repetition of ‘hot’ which is also pathetic fallacy. The fact that it was the ‘almost the last’ day of summer may also refer to the fact that it was also almost the last day of Gatsby’s dream as in the upcoming day his dream for Daisy would be lost and his illusion destroyed as a result of his conflict with Tom. Thus the use of pathetic fallacy acts as a link to the upcoming conflict which occurs during the turning point.


The green light (thanks to ad absurdum)
Gatsby is not only associated with the green light, which represents hope (like a signal to go ahead), he is also associated with starlight. For example:
QUOTE
"It was not merely to the stars that he aspired"

- Shows how he has the power to aspire to something supposedly unreachable
QUOTE
"After half an hour, the sun shone again...It was time I went back in"

- This is when Gatsby met up with Daisy at Nick's house and Nick is waiting outside. The light from the sun represents that Gatsby's hope/ambition has returned. When Nick goes back in the house, he describes Gatsby thus:
QUOTE
"There was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and he filled the tiny room."

-The object of Gatsby's ambition is however, associated with darkness, representing her meaningless lifestyle:
QUOTE
" 'Why candles?' objected Daisy"

- Daisy rejects the light in favour of darkness. She chooses to lead a purposeless lifestyle instead of following a dream like Gatsby.
QUOTE
"I always watch for the longest day of the year then miss it."

- Daisy does not have the same assocation with celestial bodies that Gatsby does and she therefore does not have the same ambition and purpose as he does.

From a 123HelpMe.com Gatsby essay:
QUOTE

One of the possible meanings of green in this story is envy. Gatsby can be seen as an envious man for a few reasons. For one, he is extremely envious of Tom Buchanan because of the fact that he has the one thing he can’t buy, Daisy. Also, Gatsby is extremely envious of the people that he invites to his house. He knows that he is not old money like the people he invites to his parties. This makes him a man of who, is “Green with envy.”

In like manner, green is also used to symbolize money. In the story, money controls the life of the people in the story. Gatsby feels that he needs green money to live and to impress Daisy. Symbols of Gatsby’s money included his large green lawn and the green ivy growing up his house. Also, in his car, it depicts the passengers sitting “in a sort of green leather conservatory.” All of these symbols depict Gatsby’s money.

In contrast to green, yellow and gold are used to be an example of old money, unlike green that is used to depict the new money of gold. Tom could be seen as a gold person for he has old money. As green and gold contrast, so do Gatsby and Tom. A quotation of new money gold is “… Jordan’s slender golden arm resting on mine…” Gatsby desperately buys “….. a yellow car,” in which he will attempt to be of old money, even though everyone knows that Gatsby is not of old money. Gold and green are as much a contrast of new and old, but they do have a distant connection just as a new and an old car have the same connection.


Narrative style
A useful quote:
QUOTE
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
'Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,' he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'


Characterization:
  • "It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved."(17) - Tom claims to very educated, but he speaks incorrectly, saying "proved" instead of "proven"
  • "Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart." - Sums up Tom's attitude; he wants to be better than someone, so he finds snooty books with illogical ideas to back up his racist feeling of superiority.
  • "I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd" - Gatsby
  • "but no one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby's shoulder an no singing quartets were formed with Gatsby's head for one link"(55) - Gatsby is lonely and left out, even at his own party.
  • "there was a jauntiness about her movements as if she had first learned to walk upon golf courses on clean, crisp mornings" (55) - Jordan Baker
  • "He was pale and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes"(89) - shows Gatsby's love and devotion to Daisy
  • "His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control."(131)
Similes
  • "their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house." (12)
  • "on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon" (12)
  • "as if each speech is in arrangement of notes that will never be played again." (13)
Metaphors
  • "This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and ... of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."(27)
  • "Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air." (35)
  • "A tray of cocktails floated at us" (47)
  • "the sparkling odor of jonquils and the frothy odor of hawthorn and plum blossoms and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate."
  • "the corrugated surface of the sound"(98)

My higher revision notes:
http://www.gm-school.com/Higher/

#2 ice_illusion

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 01:52 PM

Theres eyes sybolism too. The "owl-eyed" man is the one who sees the books are real and all the bad stuff either happens in sight of the opticians sign or after having gone past it.

#3 gm-school

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 01:57 PM

Thanks ice_illusion that is very interesting, I can now add that to my revision notes biggrin.gif
My higher revision notes:
http://www.gm-school.com/Higher/

#4 ice_illusion

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 02:12 PM

It explains The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg better on sparknotes. Although it doesn't mention the Owl Eyes. (He's the one that goes to Gatsby's funeral and says "The poor son-of-a-bitch" - He saw Gatsby for what he was)

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/

#5 destiny determined otherwise

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 06:01 PM

I was just wondering if anyone could give me a help with the Great Gatsby narrative. A question regularly turns up on the narrative and i was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on writing the essay. Maybe some quotes or structuring the essay???

#6 celticfcz

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 07:55 PM

thanks this is useful.

im focusing on the themes of morality, appearance vs reality and
past vs present.

if a symbolism question comes up i will do colours, time and flowers.

#7 ice_illusion

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 07:58 PM

QUOTE(destiny determined otherwise @ May 11 2006, 07:01 PM) View Post

I was just wondering if anyone could give me a help with the Great Gatsby narrative. A question regularly turns up on the narrative and i was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on writing the essay. Maybe some quotes or structuring the essay???

You can talk about the introduction since thats when Nick tells us how much we can trust him etc. "reserve all judgments" is an important one.
And "I was within and without" he is a character and invoved, watching (within) but hes without as he is not passng judgment.

#8 ad absurdum

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE(destiny determined otherwise @ May 11 2006, 07:01 PM) View Post

I was just wondering if anyone could give me a help with the Great Gatsby narrative. A question regularly turns up on the narrative and i was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on writing the essay. Maybe some quotes or structuring the essay???
Although I'm not particularly good at English, I'll do my best to help here.
The narrative is provided by Nick, and there are certain aspects of his narrative that are really important. For example, he is a bit of an outsider and he is able to look in and make objective moral judgements on the society due to his insight. Occasionaly, irony and humor are used by Nick and these are useful in developing themes and creating a critique of the decadent society. Also, I found that at the start of the novel Nick gives us an objective narrative and focuses on telling the story. However, he becomes more subjective throughout the play and you can see by the end that he has become biased in favour of Gatsby and highly critical of the rampant materialism of the society. This is important insofar as it shows how a moral person like Nick can become disgusted with a society that disregards morality. It's also useful to comment on the poetic language used by Nick, that helps us to identify that we are reading an intelligent judgement of society.
Remember that Nick is the objective nature of Fitzgerald (as Fitzgerald was kind of half-in and half-out the decadent society in real-life, he is out of it with Nick and in it with Gatsby in the novel). This isn't really a huge point to make in an essay, but it's probably useful to mention these kind of things in passing.

As for quotations about this, off the top of my head, I'd go for:
"When I came from the East last autumn, I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever. I wanted no more riotous excursion with privilged glimpses into the human heart."
- Nick looks for morality, if course he does not find it
"This is a valley of ashes...Where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke, and finally, with transcendental effort, of ash grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."
- Understands the purposeless lifestyle held by people who live in valley that lacks religion and morality (shown by the eyes of Dr Eckleburg)
"He had waited five years and dispersed starlight to casual moths - so that he could 'come over' some afternoon to a stranger's garden."
- Humor effective in showing the extent of Gatsby's ambition which is important in the novel
"The lawn and drive had been full of faces who guesse at his corruptioln - and he had stood upon these steps, concealing his incorruptible dream."
- Importance of Nick's insight as he can see past the materialistic society into what really matters.
"He must have looked out at an unfamiliar sky through frightened leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was on the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real."
- Poetic brilliance. Remember rose represents love and in this novel sun/starlight represent the extent of Gatsby's ambition.
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures then retreated into their money."
- Nick become subjective inasmuch as he is biased against the materialistic society and has become critical of people like Daisy and Tom who embody this materialism
Edit - Ice_illusion makes good points. Nick describes himself as trustworthy:
"I'm inclined to reserve all judgements"
"Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known"
However, remember that this may not be the case as Jordan at the end describes him as otherwise:
"I met another bad driver didn't I?...I always though that you were an honest person. I always thought it was your secret pride." (this quotation isn't exactly right, I can't remember this one)
So keep in mind that whilst Nick's judgement appears to be objective, it has become progressively subjective throughout the play to the point where he is accused of misrepresentation, so ultimately you must ask yourself if you find the narrative totally trustworthy or not.

As for the thread in general, I see that you have mentioned the green light under symbolism. I thought I would extend this a bit.
Gatsby is not only associated with the green light, which represents hope (like a signal to go ahead), he is also assocaited with starlight. For example:
"It was not merely to the stars that he aspired"
- Shows how he has the power to aspire to something supposedly unreachable
"After half an hour, the sun shone again...It was time I went back in"
- This is when Gatsby met up with Daisy at Nick's house and Nick is waiting outside. The light from the sun represents that Gatsby's hope/ambition has returned. When Nick goes back in the house, he describes Gatsby thus:
"There was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and he filled the tiny room."
The object of Gatsby's ambition is however, associated with darkness, representing her meaningless lifestyle:
" 'Why candles?' objected Daisy"
- Daisy rejects the light in favour of darkness. She chooses to lead a purposeless lifestyle instead of following a dream like Gatsby.
"I always watch for the longest day of the year then miss it."
- Daisy does not have the same assocation with celestial bodies that Gatsby does and she therefore does not have the same ambition and purpose as he does.
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#9 gm-school

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 08:18 PM

Thanks alot ad absurdum that is just the information I need the day before the exam. You are a life saver biggrin.gif. I just hope a question comes up on symbolism (green light) or narrative (nick). If you have anymore please share wink.gif
My higher revision notes:
http://www.gm-school.com/Higher/

#10 celticfcz

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 08:24 PM

yeah thanks ad_absurdum that is great. Hoping symbolism or theme question comes up!

#11 Jonathan Girvan

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 10:26 PM

Is there not also a sence that nick is an unreliable narrator? because he gets drunk in chapter two and the dialogue breaks down " "All right," I agreed, "I'll be glad to."

. . . I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.

"Beauty and the Beast . . . Loneliness . . . Old Grocery Horse . . . Brook'n Bridge . . . ."

Then I was lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning "Tribune" and waiting for the four o'clock train."

also he is hypocritcal when it comes to women "It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply--I was casually sorry, and then I forgot." and "I even had a short affair with a girl who lived in Jersey City and worked in the accounting department, but her brother began throwing mean looks in my direction so when she went on her vacation in July I let it blow quietly away." yet he says "Her grey, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I'd been writing letters once a week and signing them: "Love, Nick," and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip. Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free."
then says that he is honest.



#12 xKirstyx

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:22 PM

Thanks alot to everyone thats put posted on this, it's really hepling me!

Just wondering if anyone could help me structure an essay that asks:

Choose a novel in which your particular admiration for a character increases as the novel unfolds.
Explain briefly why your admiration increases and, in more detail, how the writer achieves this.

Thanks





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