Note: I have quoted from sites such as sparknotes to reduce your searching time for various pieces of information.
Some useful Gatsby links:
http://www.planetpapers.com/Literature/The...atsby/index.php (all free)
http://www.123helpme.com/search.asp?text=gatsby (some free)
Search Gatsby (useful for quotes):
- The American Dream
- Dreams and reality
- The morality of wealth
- The pursuit of pleasure
- The importance of money and wealth
- physically strong
- potential for violence
- Does not have the corrupt morals of the others
- Willing to break the law in order to further his ambitions
The only character who shows any change - he becomes more judgemental and learns from the experience that he does not belong in the east.
- Represents the failure of The American Dream
- Helps to convey the theme of materialism and wealth
- Conveys the class divisions
- Has a hunger for life
- Lacks good taste and breeding
- Just seen as an item to Tom
- Her apartment is inappropriate and conveys humour
- Trys unsuccessfully to be Daisy
Represent people who want more out of life
- 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.
- 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.
- Use of poetic - like prose to give very vivid descriptions
- Use of color
- Use of light imagery
- Narrative viewpoint of Nick
- Alternate chapters/ alternate setting
- Tightly structured
- told retrospectively
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
- The green lightQUOTESituated 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 AshesQUOTEFirst 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)QUOTEThe 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.
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).
- key incident - the plaza hotel
- pathetic fallacy
- word choice
- Use of metaphors
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:
- Shows how he has the power to aspire to something supposedly unreachable
- 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:
-The object of Gatsby's ambition is however, associated with darkness, representing her meaningless lifestyle:
- Daisy rejects the light in favour of darkness. She chooses to lead a purposeless lifestyle instead of following a dream like Gatsby.
- 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:
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.
A useful quote:
'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.'
- "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)
- "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)
- "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)