F. Scott Fitzgerald’sThe Great Gatsby“How to be a Millionaire or Just Look Like One: Jay Gatsby: The ArtfulPoseur”
THE IMPORTANCE OF CLOTHES ANDHAVING THE RIGHT IMAGE
HOW IMPORTANT IS FASHION TO JAYGATSBY? At 17, when Jimmy Gatz decides he is really Jay Gatsby, his mentor, Dan Cody, takes him to Duluth and “[buys] him a blue coat, six pairs of white duck trousers, and a yachting cap” to sharpen Gatsby’s image (100).
GATSBY’S CLOTHES ARE MENTIONEDSEVERAL TIMES IN THE NOVEL. There’s a “caramel-colored suit” (64) He shows Nick a picture of himself and other young men in “blazers” at Oxford (67). He wears a “white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie” when he meets
GATSBY’S SUITS ARE MENTIONEDSEVERAL TIMES IN THE NOVEL. There’s a “caramel-colored suit” (64) He shows Nick a picture of himself and other young men in “blazers” at Oxford (67). He wears a “white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie” when he meets Daisy at Nick’s house (84).
HIS MULTIPLE SHIRTS MOVE DAISY TOTEARS. When he gives Daisy a tour of his house, Gatsby shows her his wardrobe: “…he opened …two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high” (92). He took out a pile of shirts…shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel…”
Daisy comments to Gatsby: “You resemble the advertisement of the man” (119). Tom makes fun of Gatsby’s “pink suit” (122)
"How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to become someone."--Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
JAY GATSBY HOBNOBS WITH STARS Chapter 4 mentions among Gatsby’s party guest list: Newton Orchid who controlled Films Par Excellence and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartze, and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies… (these are fictitious names). .
Hollywood, where images are created, actors change their names to something the public will like, where fortunes can be lost and made quickly, and where scandals abound, has made ILLUSION one of the most lucrative businesses in this country.
REINVENTING THE SELF Garbo: born Greta Louisa Gustafsson in Stockholm, Sweden on September 18, 1905. Her father died when she was 14. Worked as a “lather girl” in a barber shop, then as a salesgirl and occasional model in a department store. Met Mauritz Stiller, Sweden’s foremost film director.
FROM JIMMY GATZ TO JAY GATSBY What motivates Gatz’s transformation? When did it begin? How does Gatsby become wealthy? Does Gatsby represent the American Dream or a Corruption of that Dream?
•James Gatz’s parents were “shiftless andunsuccessful farm people” from NorthDakota (98).
At a young age, Jamesputs himself on a rigorousself-improvementplan, trying to followHopalong Cassidy’sadvice.
Hopalong Cassidy American Icon:Henry Gatz tells Nick that“Jimmy” had a copyof the book,Hopalong Cassidy,when he was a boy.On the back fly-leaf“Jimmy” printed his“self-improvement”schedule (173).
HOPALONG’S CREED The highest badge of honor a person can wear is honesty. Be truthful at all times. Your parents are the best friends you have. Listen to them and obey their instructions. If you want to be respected, you must respect others. Show good manners in every way. Only through hard work and study can you succeed. Dont be lazy.
Your good deeds always come to light. Sodont boast or be a show-off.If you waste time or money today, you willregret it tomorrow. Practice thrift in allways.Many animals are good and loyalcompanions. Be friendly and kind to them.
A strong, healthy body is a precious gift. Be neat and clean. Our countrys laws are made for your protection. Observe them carefully. Children in many foreign lands are less fortunate than you. Be glad and proud you are an American.Hopalong Cassidy’s character was invented by author Clarence Mulford, who wrote 26 books about the cowboy between 1907- 1941. Several films followed.
DOES JAY GATSBY ADHERE TOHOPALONG’S CREED? We know Gatsby is NOT honest. We know he does not honor his parents. We know that Gatsby has impeccable manners.
We know that Gatsby does not believe hard work and academic perseverance will earn him the respect or status he wants: He drops out of St. Olaf College (MN) after 2 weeks because he doesn’t like working as a janitor to pay his tuition (99).
We know he does not obey the law (he bribes a police officer about to give him a speeding ticket; his affiliation with Meyer Wolfsheim suggests Mob connections). We know that instead of being modest, Gatsby goes to great lengths to display his wealth to lure Daisy Buchanan.
Instead of practicing “thrift” he epitomizes ostentatious, careless spending. We do not know if Gatsby was kind to animals.
Gatsby runs away from his background, disowns his parents (he tells Nick they are dead), and reinvents himself.
At17, when he meets Dan Cody, whose yacht on Lake Superior represents an “opportunity,” James Gatz becomes JAY GATSBY.
Dan Cody, 50, is an alcoholic who made his fortune in silver and copper mines. Cody discovers that Gatsby is ambitious and intelligent. Gatsby stays with Cody for 5 years. It is Gatsby’s apprenticeship to teach him how to “behave like a rich person” so he will blend in.
Gatsby meets Daisy when he is stationed in Louisville, Kentucky. He “takes her” under false pretenses, for he presents himself of a man from a family of high social standing. Daisy represents Jay Gatsby’s entry into a world of sophistication and wealth.
Gatsby cannot acquire status by marrying a rich woman, since this would violate social expectations and reverse gender roles (the 1920s).
GATSBY’S TRANSFORMATION CONT. Gatsbynot only wants to erase his own past, as a product of poor farmers from North Dakota, he also wants Daisy to deny that her past with Tom held meaning for her.
•In short, Gatsby wantsto turn back time andmeet Daisy again, nowas someone “worthy” ($)of her.
GATSBY’S DREAM •Gatsby dreams of one day being reunited with Daisy Buchanan. •To win her back, he makes a fortune–apparently through dealings with mobsters. •His dream of gaining entry into the East Egg society is shattered. •Daisy allows Gatsby to take the blame for Myrtle Wilson’s death.
GREED WINS THE DAY In The Great Gatsby, the central characters achieve wealth and social status, but Nick Carraway, the narrator, comes to see them at the novel’s end as shallow people who lack empathy. Daisy pretends she did not run over Myrtle Wilson, Tom continues his boorish ways, and Gatsby winds up dead (as do Myrtle and George Wilson).
“Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youthand mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves,of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy,gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hotstruggles of the poor” (150).