Questions and Answers The Great Gatsby, Part I L. M. Freer ✪ FIT/SUNY ✪ March 2013 S
March22, 2013.Each studentwrote out aquestionabout TheGreat Gatsby.Each student then waschallenged to write aparagraph-long response to apeer‘s question about thenovel.
S I believe that Gatsby might be reaching for something bigger whenThe Green he sees the green light. If I remember correctlyLight the green light is a reoccurring symbol? A―Do you believe when Gatsby symbol for what, though?is reaching toward the green Gatsby seems to be thelight that he is reaching for kind of person that wantsDaisy, or is he reaching for more than what hesomething bigger than that?‖ already has or is even–M.G. capable of handling. Daisy might just be another object to him but with a tiny bit more sentimental value. –S.V.
S Nick struggles with the drastically conflicting morals that he is presented with when he first meets Daisy‘s husband and realizes that he‘s having an affair. He moved to West Egg from the midwest, and despite being from a prominent family he has never experienced the way that the fabulously wealthy act, as if they have their own code of morals so detached from the rest ofHonesty society. The disparity between the wealthy and the poor is shown through these dishonest characters as what happens when greed is left unchecked. Gatsby is―Why does Nick say he is also a figure that Nick can‘t decipher, overall Nick feels morally repelled by theone of the few honest people dishonesty of the East/West Eggers—but hehe had ever known? How starts to become a bit of a dishonest character himself as his personalitydoes the theme of dishonesty changes in the end of Chapter 4. It‘s almostreflect the society of the a satire that he says he‘s the most honest person he knows—as he he starts to be1920s?‖ –N.C. more dishonest. I wouldn‘t say that this theme of dishonesty reflects everyone in the 1920s—but more the capitalist, well-off rich society. It does reflect upon everyone in the upper class and the majority of the characters in the book, though. This era reflects the ―golden age‖ of America before the Great Depression, hinting that there‘s a layer of corruption under the glitz and glam of high society that‘s about to crumble with the collapse of the stock market. That‘s what I would say the theme of dishonesty in the 1920s is reflecting upon. –E.K.
S The lifestyles and behaviors of the characters in The Great Gatsby are only partial examples of how people lived during thatHistorical time. There were wealthy people who weren‘t like them, and I think the main characters are sort ofConnection like the 1% in today‘s economic system. We can tell that by seeing the different kinds of roles―Is it fair to say the lifestyles that appear in the book, forand behaviors of the example, the people who work forcharacters in The Great Gatsby. However, those peopleGatsby are representative of also represent that part of the time period and they do showthe rest of the country during what‘s going on between thethis time?‖ –C.C. economic and social structures, for example the capitalist system where they could buy anything and without restriction as long as they had enough money. So not everyone is wealthy like Gatsby, but they all share a standard of what the good life is, regardless of the ability to afford it. –N.C.
S Glasses—might mean someone overlooking the town, someone watching from above, seeing. Represents someone judging American society as a wasteland, meaningless.Symbology Or blindness, or seeing someone clearly.―What are some of The Great S Green light—might representGatsby‘s most important money or some type ofsymbols? What kind of role connection to Daisy, the Eastdo the symbols play in the side. It could also meanlives of the characters?‖ – jealousy. Or it is a guidingK.Y. light to his goal (Daisy). S The Valley of Ashes—how wealth has corrupted people‘s morality and society as a whole. S Wilson—working class. –N.T.
S The significance of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg‘s eyes are a sort of forgotten omnipresent entity. We can infer this because they are given specific description with an alluded history in the novel. Since they are ―above‖ the land, they may be some substitute for God. ―Spasms of bleakEyes dust‖ drift ―endlessly‖ over it, as if it were an ongoing presence. The actual physical description of their―What is the significance of paranormal size in comparison tothe blue eyes on the real eyes (the retinas being ―onebillboard?‖ –M.S. yard high‖), we can presume it is purposefully exaggerated to stand for a heightened sense of overall awareness, of how the ―eye sees all.‖ S Furthermore, the lack of attention they receive seems to form a statement that these characters in their atmosphere have forgotten about an omnipotent presence, and it is insinuated that these characters have forgotten their consciences as well. –E.M.
S I don‘t believe that Nick is in love with Daisy, mainly because she is his cousin. I think he may be fascinated with the relationships sheLove and had with both Tom & Gatsby, but I don‘t believeRelationships that there is any romantic interest between them.―Is Nick in love with Daisy? However, this does lead toWas there ever anything the question of who Nickbetween them?‖ –C.H. does love? Does he see Jordan as a romantic interest, or does he feel that he should be interested in her because of circumstance? Is he actually intimidated by her strong personality? Does Nick love Gatsby? –M.G.
S I don‘t believe that Nick is in love with Gatsby. He‘s more in love with his lifestyle, hisLove suaveness that Gatsby captures―Is Nick in love with Gatsby?And in love with Jordan as from both men andwell?‖ –J.A. women. Nick may like the idea of hanging out with Gatsby because he is so well respected and is welcomed in every party or event through in Gatsby‘s honor. –T.H.
S Nick did not visit his sister—he went with Tom to the cityCharacter to visit Myrtle andClarification Myrtle’s sister.―Can we go over who the Those were the twoother two women are, when women in thatNick visited his sister?‖ –I.N. scene. –L.F. S The other two women are Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker. –K.Y.
S The green light is seen coming from the Buchanans‘ house from across the bay in West Egg. Before Nick meetsThe Green Gatsby, he sees him lurking in the dark, watching theLight Again green light. He seemed to be trembling.―What does the green light S At this point in therepresent in the book?‖ –N.T. story, one can assume that Gatsby is aware the green light is coming from Daisy‘s house. It could possibly represent the distance between Daisy & Gatsby. It also could represent Gatsby‘s hope to one day be reunited with her—the light is a constant reminder that she‘s there, it‘s something for him to hold on to. –C.C.
S The green light represents Gatsby‘s love for Daisy asInterpreting well as what their relationship could be. IThe Green think that the green light does represent money and materialism. It sort of is aLight symbol of all that Gatsby―Is there a unanimous symbol that the ‗green has ever dreamed of forlight‘ represents? I interpreted it a few himself, all all that he hasdifferent ways, but I‘m not sure if I‘m on theright track—it‘s Gatsby‘s love for Daisy, or a strived for. In that sense itweird kind of jealousy when he looks at her &thinks of how life diverted their love (or what can be interpreted as acould have been before she was married toTom), or a reference to green = $$$? And symbol of the Americanmaterialism, or some reference to it? Dream.―Are there any characters who aren‘thypocrites? The old money on East Egg is S I think that Wilson (Myrtle‘ssupposed to hate the gaudy new money ofthe West side, yet they all crash Gatsby‘s husband) is the the leastparty anyway. Tom blatantly cheats on Daisy hypocritical character.and even slaps/beats his mistress. Even Nickchanges in these 4 chapters & decides to Maybe he is not verypursue Jordan, even though she represents bright, but he is honestall that he initially disliked.‖ –E.K. enough. –C.H.
S The title refers to Jay Gatsby, the main character of the book. S He is great in a way because he lives life full of happiness and optimism by convincing himself that life is full of hopeThe Title and goodness and by ignoring the corruption and―What is the meaning of the darkness in the world around him. Few people are able totitle? In what way is Gatsby ignore the bad things in lifeso great?‖ –S.V. and focus only on the good things. S But then towards the 4th chapter there is a twice regarding Gatsby‘s character and ethics, and him not being honest. So in the end it turns out that he is not this ―great‖ guy and the title is more a matter of sarcasm. – A.P.
S Nick is very enchanted by Gatsby and I feel that‘s why he enjoys beingSecrets and around him in his company, even when [Nick] is confused.Confusion S I don‘t think Nick tells―Nick seems a bit confused Daisy because Tom is heror maybe a bit overwhelmed sense of security. I thinkin many situations that he he also knows that this iscomes across with Mr.Gatsby. a marriage of convenience and not passionate romance. I―Why doesn‘t Nick tell think an example thatDaisy, being that she is his describe this is Tom‘scousin, about Tom‘s affair? Is job—it is not glamoroushe afraid for himself?‖ –T.H. but he is dependable. No, I do not think [Nick] is afraid.
S Where he grew up I can‘t remember exactly, but know he lost his family and inherited money from them. S This is one of the rumors in the book, but in reality Gatsby’s family is alive, if poor, in the Midwest. S I feel like Tom and Jordan are justPotpourri friends, although Jordan is not a typical 1920s woman—she‘s very bold and outspoken.• ―Where and with whom did Jay Gatsby grow up? S I don‘t know what he does for a living. Does he even work?• What is Tom and Jordan S He’s a bootlegger, as best we can Baker‘s relationship? tell, involved in the smuggling of alcohol despite the ban of• What does Jay Gatsby do Prohibition. for a living?• Why were rumors S As far as rumors go, I‘m not sure, but I think the mystery about him just makes circulating that Gatsby people talk and come up with stories. killed a man? S It‘s not ideal to get a divorce in the day• Was divorce acceptable at and age of the story. People probably that time?‖ –S.G. still did it, of course, but it was frowned upon. People had affairs instead. S —J.A. (& L.F.)
S Nick seems to admire Gatsby before he meets him. He considers Gatsby a great mystery of a man and is impressed with his lifestyle. After Nick meets Gatsby he gets to know himPerspective and is somewhat disappointed that he is a regular man without a―The author presents himself deeper and morein the 1st and 3rd person complicated personality.when telling the story and But after Nick learns that Gatsby is secretly in lovesometimes sounds like he with Daisy and has beendisapproves of Gatsby‘s for many years he starts toethics, but doesn‘t he also like him more. When headmire Gatsby?‖ –A.P. learns that Gatsby bought a house to be across the bay from Daisy‘s house, and he‘s been waiting to run into her for 5 years, Nick really feels that Gatsby has more personality to him than he originally thought. – S.G.
S The narrator Nick has a relative— cousin—who isRelationship Daisy. She is the one that Nick goes to visits in Chapter Two.―I‘m slightly confused about Daisy is married tothe relationship between thenarrator, Nick, and Daisy and Tom, who has aTom. There seemed to be good relationshipsome sort of mysterious yet with Nick. Tom isintimate feeling about them?‖ being unfaithful to–M.Z. Daisy, though, becau se he has another woman to whom he also introduces Nick. –I.N.
S The human understanding of love does seem to beLove Has ―redefined.‖ Not necessarily lost because the characters in The Great Gatsby interactThe Last on an almost intimate level with one another. People seem to have a more openWord sense of admiration for one another. Nick admires the features on his cousin―Is the human understanding Daisy, as well as her friendof love (as irrelevant as it is) Ms. Baker. Aside from theredefined or lost in the world openness of admiration, Iof The Great Gatsby? don‘t think much is different than how humansBecause every person is understand love today.described or afflicted with People love whether its forgreat artificiality, even their real or not, and people end up cheating or divorcing. I dopresumed sentiments are agree that love in this bookinconsistent and unstable.‖ – is different, but overall it‘s noE.M. different than how people experience love today as well as in the past. –M.Z.
KeyQuestionsFor NextTime:• Does Gatsby represent the American Dream?• How does geography shape social class in this novel?• Is Nick a reliable narrator of events? Why or why not?