FUNERAL • No one that came to Gatsby’s parties is there because they don’t care; they only came because of his status and wealth.• Just like in life, in death he is an element of gossip with no true friends.
• Catherine tries to convince the onlookers and authorities that Myrtle had never seen Gatsby and that “her sister was completely happy with her husband” and “up to no mischief ”.• It is part true and part false; she tries to cover up for her sister, making her seem more moral than she was. She doesn’t want Myrtle’s reputation to get ruined .
• Nick is Gatsby’s only true friend – the only person that attempts to understand Gatsby’s motivations.• He thinks that Gatsby is looking to him to get attendants at his funeral and keeps hearing Gatsby’s voice in his head, protesting: “Look here, old sport, you’ve got to get somebody for me. You’ve got to try hard. I can’t go through this alone” (165)
TOM AND DAISY• They have left town and taken baggage – restless, leave when things get tough. • They cannot deal with their current situation and escape it by changing location.• They avoid responsibility for their actions and do not care about Gatsby’s fate.
WOLFSHEIM• Wrote that Gatsby’s death was one of “the most terrible shocks of [his] life” but refuses to attend because he claims that he “cannot get mixed up in things now.”• He is worried that he will be connected to Gatsby’s death• He might be linked to Gatsby’s bootlegging business and Wolfsheim is not willing to risk his money and reputation to attend the funeral of a man he never truly considered a friend. • a selfish, his priority is self preservation - like Daisy and Tom.
MR. GATZ• “a solemn man, very helpless and dismayed, bundled up in a long cheap ulster against the warm September day. His eyes leaked continuously with excitement, and when I took the bag and umbrella from his hands he began to pull so incessantly at his sparse gray beard that I had difficulty in getting his coat off. He was on the point of collapse.” (167) • restless and uncomfortable in the presence of Gatsby’s wealth, moving “ceaselessly” about the room.• His grief was mixed with awe and pride once he noticed the splendor of Gatsby’s house.• He clearly thinks highly of his son and might be unaware of Gatsby’s motivations and criminal activity.
MR. KLIPSPRINGER • Klipspringer calls to have a pair of shoes that he left at Gatsby’s house mailed to him.• He had been a long term guest of Gatsby and doesn’t even have the decency to attend the funeral. • Gatsby had been generous, letting Klipspringer live with him for an extended time; Nick feels shame for Gatsby because it is clear that all of Gatsby’s friends took advantage of him.• He is discarded by his acquaintances once he is useless to them. Klipspringer has other priorities – a picnic with the people he is currently staying with.
“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead” (172) • Wolfsheim says this to Nick, meaning that he has made a wealthy gentleman out of Gatsby; therefore, proving his friendship.• Nick, however, has been a fair weather friend. He was not sincere in his friendship with Gatsby all the time –he was at first attracted to his wealth and only later to his charisma and personality. • Nick has judged and disliked Gatsby and his behavior. • Now that Gatsby is dead Nick’s guilt forces him to be more forgiving of Gatsby. • Wolfsheim is suggesting that Nick’s positive attitude and sympathy toward Gatsby come to late to do Gatsby any good.
GATSBY’S SCHED. • From a young age, Gatsby was interested in improving his mind, body and his social status.• Gatsby was always an organized and ambitious man that sought self improvement.• Maybe Nick doesn’t understand Gatsby as well as he thinks he does.
THE MIDWEST • a memory of coming back to the security of the familiar; home is connected to identity. • He calls the Midwest MY Middle West – a sense of belonging.• He also suggests that as a Westerner, he was perhaps not suited to the life style in the East, just like Tom and Daisy.• The East is more exciting, but also more dangerous – it makes people careless, reckless and selfish. • The Mid West is calmer and comforting.
• The East has a “quality of distortion” – something isn’t right there and people’s priorities are mixed up. • After Gatsby’s death, the East became haunted for Nick – distorted. • The East is associated with a fast-paced lifestyle, decadent parties, crumbling moral values, and the pursuit of wealth, while the West and the Midwest are associated with more traditional moral values. • Nick cannot live in the East, just like Gatsby couldn’t live in the past.
NICK’S DREAM “Four men in dress suits are walkingalong the sidewalk with a stretcher onwhich lies a drunken woman in a whiteevening dress. Gravely the men turn in at a house – the wrong house. But noone knows the woman’s name, and no one cares.” (176-77)
ANALYSIS• The woman’s white dress recalls Daisy and her inebriated state emphasizes the danger and recklessness of the East – like the automobiles accidents that involve alcohol. • Also, the fact that the woman is brought to the wrong house and that no one cares points to the fact that there are no lasting relationships between the characters. • The society does not value deep connections, only superficial ones based on use and need. • Like Gatsby, the woman has no real friends. The jewels are cold, since money seems to only cause grief, it does not bring happiness, warmth, or comfort.
THE DOG“When I went to give up that flat and saw that damn box of dog biscuits sitting there on the sideboard, I sat down and cried like a baby.” (179) • The dog reminds the readers of Myrtle• Tom accuses Gatsby of running her over like a dog • the dog itself is forgotten, never mentioned after its initial purchase; it is a living being that is treated as property and discarded like the rest of unwanted items
NICK ON TOM AND DAISY• He cannot forgive them or like them anymore and he makes his animosity known. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – theysmashed 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…” (179)
THE FERRY-BOATS AND DUTCH SETTLERS• New York is the fresh island that represented the new world for the Dutch explorers. • The island was a beacon, full of green trees and hope – reminiscent of Gatsby’s green light and the hope that he harbored. • The island of New York seems to represent dreams: it is full of the sublime and wonder, larger than a single human life, enchanting.
• Once, the island had lived up to the expectation of the inhabitants; now the hopes and dreams are broken on the rocks – the green light has been extinguished and replaced by greed, money and selfishness – the green monster. • New York was once beautiful and full of potential, now it is dangerous and overpopulated and ashen.• Gatsby looked for his dreams in the wrong place – he should have looked behind him, to the fields beyond the city: the city and the lights are a distraction, nature is soothing and helps gain perspective.
THE END“Gatsby believed in the green light, theorgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’sno matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (180).
• Nick returns to the theme of the significance of the past to dreams of the future - represented by the green light.• He focuses on the struggle of human beings to achieve their goals by both transcending and re-creating the past. • Yet humans prove themselves unable to move beyond the past: the current draws them backward as they row forward toward the green light.
• The past functions as the source of ideas about the future (epitomized by Gatsby’s desire to re-create 1917 in his affair with Daisy) and they cannot escape it as they continue to struggle to transform their dreams into reality. • While they never lose their optimism (“tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . .”), they expend all of their energy in pursuit of a goal that moves ever farther away.• This apt metaphor characterizes both Gatsby’s struggle and the American dream itself. • Nick’s words register neither blind approval nor cynical disillusionment but rather the respectful melancholy that he ultimately brings to his study of Gatsby’s life.
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