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  • 1. A2 Literature
    Love Through The Ages
    The Great Gatsby
    F Scott Fitzgerald.
  • 2. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    What do the following front covers suggest about what the novel is about. What can we expect?
  • 3. Aims and Objectives for the lesson…
    • To begin to make initial judgements about the novel
    • 4. To explore the social and historical context of the novel
    • 5. To analyse the initial introduction to the narrator
  • Discuss: What do you know about America in the 1920s?
    The decade following the First World War in America is commonly known as the Jazz Age. The music of the time characterised the age, heralding the people as carefree, exuberant and beautiful.
    The 1920s were also known as the Golden or Roaring Twenties and F.Scott Fitzgerald played an important part in in characterising the time as recklessness, sexuality, languor and pleasure seeking. Many of his short stories portray a time of youthful hedonism, especially for beautiful young women known as the ‘flappers’ who went against social conformity with short skirts, short hair and plenty of make up. But throughout this era, to couple the hedonism of the age, came a gloomy and more sinister underbelly.
    The Great Gatsby encapsulates this perception of life without purpose, of restlessness and dissatisfaction. It is, in contrast, Jay Gatsby’s hope for the future that makes him such a likeable character throughout the novel.
    The Jazz Age
  • 6. Homework
    Using the Historical Background sheet you have been given, answer the enclosed questions carefully.
    Your aim is to be well informed of the key issues surrounding the 1920s and The Jazz Age.
  • 7. Much of the novel centres around the observations and experiences of Nick Carraway, our narrator but also central character. His opening passages demonstrate a little about the sort of character he is to play but even more about the sort of narrator he is going to be.
  • 8. What does this passage reveal about the narrator? What sort of narrator is he going to be?
    ‘He didn’t say anymore but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought – frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation or a hostile levity when I realised by some unmistakeable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.’
  • 9. Whilst you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    In our last lesson we have been looking at the importance of the Jazz Age and have been thinking about our initial impression of the novel.
    Based on what you have learned, what three words would you use to describe the Jazz Age and the 1920’s.
    Based on what we have read, is Nick Carraway going to be a typical character from this period? What reasons do you have for your opinion?
  • 10. Aims and Objectives for the lesson…
    • To begin to make initial judgements about the novel
    • 11. To explore the social and historical context of the novel
    • 12. To analyse the initial introduction to the narrator
  • To start the lesson…
    What did we learn about the role of Nick Carraway? What key things do we need to remember as we begin to read the novel?
  • 13. What are the key moments of Chapter one?
    • Nick Carraway is established as a complex narrator; although he is an observer and commentator, he is also a key character – and therefore emotionally bound – throughout the novel.
    • 14. The districts of East and West Egg are established as distinct; the more fashionable East Egg being representative of the reckless age.
    • 15. The link between the past and the present is firmly established, both in Nick’s story and in the inclusion of characters such as Daisy and Tom.
    • 16. The languid and distant Jordan Baker becomes a figure of interest; although we recognise that she is less important than Daisy, we know that she will feature in what is to come.
    • 17. The more sinister underbelly of this world is highlighted when we hear that Tom has ‘another woman’; even the beauty and delicacy of Daisy cannot stop him from straying.
    • 18. The importance of the green light is identified; as the chapter closes, we recognise that the mysterious Mr Gatsby is drawn to what the light represents.
  • As Nick Carraway begins his story, we become aware of the difference between the East and West Egg. Whist Nick and Gatsby live in West Egg, the other primary characters live in the East.
    Read from ‘It was a matter of chance …’ to ‘…two days with them in Chicago.’ p.10-11.
    What differences do you get from the brief descriptions of the two districts? What sort of people live there? What do they both stand for?
  • 19. And to finish the lesson
  • 20. To start the lesson…
    Symbolism is exceptionally important in The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald guides his reader’s interpretations with his clever use of images and motifs.
    As well as being a key character in the novel, the daisy may be used as a symbol. But what does this symbol stand for?
  • 21. What are the key moments of Chapter one?
    • Nick Carraway is established as a complex narrator; although he is an observer and commentator, he is also a key character – and therefore emotionally bound – throughout the novel.
    • 22. The districts of East and West Egg are established as distinct; the more fashionable East Egg being representative of the reckless age.
    • 23. The link between the past and the present is firmly established, both in Nick’s story and in the inclusion of characters such as Daisy and Tom.
    • 24. The languid and distant Jordan Baker becomes a figure of interest; although we recognise that she is less important than Daisy, we know that she will feature in what is to come.
    • 25. The more sinister underbelly of this world is highlighted when we hear that Tom has ‘another woman’; even the beauty and delicacy of Daisy cannot stop him from straying.
    • 26. The importance of the green light is identified; as the chapter closes, we recognise that the mysterious Mr Gatsby is drawn to what the light represents.
  • The character of Daisy is indicative of the languor and beauty of the age; her delicate voice and feminine features appear to beguile every man she meets. Fitzgerald’s introduction to her establishes her as ephemeral and fragile.
  • 27. In chapter one the central characters of the novel are introduced or referred to at some stage. We meet Daisy, Nick’s cousin, when he goes to visit her after some time and distance apart. Read and analyse the following two extracts and concentrate on what we learn about Daisy and her relationship with Nick.
    ‘I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down. As if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright, passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered, ‘Listen’, a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.’ (p.14)
    What effect is Fitzgerald trying to create with this introduction to the character of Daisy? In what way does he present her as beautiful but essentially tragic?
  • 28. In stark contrast to the fragility and delicacy of Daisy, her husband, Tom Buchanan, is portrayed as boorish and aggressive. Fitzgerald is keen to show the reader that he is an unpleasant and dangerous character.
  • 29. What impression are we given of Tom Buchanan from this extract? In what way does this contrast to the impression of Daisy?
    ‘He had changed since his New Haven days. Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty, with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body – he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage – a cruel body.’ (p.12)
  • 30. Chapter One – Jay Gatsby
    We do not officially meet our protagonist in chapter one, but are introduced to his character.
    Find the references to Gatsby in the opening chapter and start to build a profile of our central character.
  • 31. Yr13 ILP DayLove Through The AgesThe Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald.
  • 32. As you are waiting for the session to begin…
    You have been given a wordsearch which includes some of the key words for the session. Your aim is to find these key words and discuss why they are important to what we have studied so far.
    How do we expect these key words to develop in our learning during this session?
  • 33. Our aims and objectives for this session…
    • To effectively analyse Chapters one and two of The Great Gatsby
    • 34. To form clear opinions and judgements of the main characters
    • 35. To explore the way in which Fitzgerald creates specific effects through language
  • Chapter One – Jay Gatsby (pg 25)
    The silhouette of a moving cat wavered across the moonlight, and, turning my head to watch it, I saw that I was not alone – fifty feet away a figure had emerged from my neighbour’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars… he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished…
    What impression do we have of Gatsby from Nick’s first sighting of him?
  • 36. Homework
    Now that we have been introduced to some of the main characters and ideas in Chapter one, we need to review what we have learned.
    Decide on ten key points from the opening chapter of the novel and match these with ten key quotations. Try to ensure that your points and quotations cover a variety of characters and ideas.
  • 37. As we near the end of the first chapter, it is important to ascertain what themes and ideas have been introduced to us.
    Which of these themes would you say have appeared in the first chapter? What evidence do you have to support your choices?
  • 38. And to finish the chapter…
    ‘The beginning of Fitzgerald’s novel is deliberately ambiguous. Although we are told about the characters, we know very little about them. Although we are shown some of their likeable features, we cannot say we have any affection or sympathy for any of them.’
    To what extent do you agree with this statement? What have you learned this lesson that will help you to reach an opinion?
  • 39. Chapter Two
  • 40. As you are waiting for the session to begin…
    You have been given a wordsearch which includes some of the key words for the session. Your aim is to find these key words and discuss why they are important to what we have studied so far.
    How do we expect these key words to develop in our learning during this session?
  • 41. As we have already acknowledged, the era in which The Great Gatsby is set is vital to our appreciation of the novel and its characters.
    What does the following clip reveal about the age? What themes does it highlight as prevalent?
    The Jazz Age – The Great Gatsby
  • 42. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter two?
    Fitzgerald uses the topography of the landscape to emphasise the sordid and dangerous nature of this age. The ‘valley of ashes’ is dark and dismal against the backdrop of the glamorous age.
    The ‘ordinariness’ of the Wilson’s working class lifestyle provide a contrast – and a clear attraction to – the rich and languid lifestyle of Daisy and Tom.
    The representation of woman – and sexuality – is explored through the idea of Myrtle Wilson.
    The recklessness of the drunken party is understated but clear; Fitzgerald shuns intoxicated stupidity but demonstrates the lack of control and mayhem through subtle moments of disregard.
    The aggression and rash nature of the party is demonstrated clearly when Tom hits Myrtle; although his violence has so far been understated, here it is given free will.
    This chapter is a far cry from the elegance and respectful control of the previous chapter; Fitzgerald contrasts the two societies, asking us to debate the lawlessness of each.
  • 43. As we are already aware, Fitzgerald’s use of imagery is clear and powerful.
    ‘But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic – their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist aset them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness, or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood over the solemn dumping ground.’ (p.26)
    Why do you think such a vivid description of a billboard has been included here?
  • 44. ‘About half-way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesques gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.’
    After our introduction in chapter one of the lavish lifestyles led by people in East and West Egg, how has Fitzgerald presented a divergent image in the opening of chapter two?
  • 45. Chapter Two opens with descriptions of a desolate area between West Egg and New York that represents the moral decay that is hidden behind facades in America.
    The image of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg highlights another theme that America is a materialistic country where consumer culture has replaced spiritual values.
    Look at the rest of the chapter and find examples of the continuation of the themes of moral decay and consumer culture replacing spiritual values.
  • 46. To begin the lesson…
    ‘The beginning of Fitzgerald’s novel is deliberately ambiguous. Although we are told about the characters, we know very little about them. Although we are shown some of their likeable features, we cannot say we have any affection or sympathy for any of them.’
    To what extent do you agree with this statement? What have you learned this lesson that will help you to reach an opinion?
  • 47. As we have already acknowledged, the era in which The Great Gatsby is set is vital to our appreciation of the novel and its characters.
    What does the following clip reveal about the age? What themes does it highlight as prevalent?
    The Jazz Age – The Great Gatsby
  • 48. In Chapter two, we delve even deeper into the sinister world of the roaring twenties. The description of Myrtle Wilson – Tom’s other woman – is a stark contrast to that of his wife, Daisy.
    ‘Then I heard footsteps on a stairs, and in a moment the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door. She was in her middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her flesh sensuously as some women can … but there was an immediate perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering … then she wet her lips, and without turning around spoke to her husband in a soft, coarse voice…’ (Chp.2 p.28)
    What do we learn about the character of Myrtle from this description? In what way is she different to Daisy?
  • 49. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldTom’s women …
    ‘People disappeared, reappeared made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away. Some time towards midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs Wilson stood face to face discussing, in impassioned voices, whether Mrs Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name.
    ‘Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!’ shouted Mrs Wilson. ‘I’ll say it whenever I want to. Daisy! Dai –’
    Making a short, deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.’ (p.39)
    How does Fitzgerald describe this moment? In what way is it made to seem shocking and uncomfortable? Why does Tom do what he does? What themes and ideas does it reinforce?
  • 50. Chapter two introduces the character of Myrtle Wilson who is having an affair with Tom because of the disillusionment she feels in her marriage to George Wilson.Tom and George are two completely different men. You must compile a chart that compares their lifestyles and characteristics, you also need to include quotations.
    Why do you think Fitzgerald has created two such opposite characters that have a relationship with the same woman?
  • 51. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldNick’s sexuality …
    Many critics have commented that Nick’s attitude towards enigmatic characters such as Gatsby – and his seeming indifference to his love interest in the novel – belies a more telling indication of his sexuality.
    ‘It was nine o’clock – almost immediately afterward I looked at my watch and found it wad ten. Mr McKee was asleep on a chair with his fists clenched in his lap, like a photograph of a man of action. Taking out my handkerchief I wiped from his cheek the spot of dried lather that had worried me all afternoon.’ (p.38)
    What is it about this extract that might hint at homosexuality? Can we bring in any other parts of the novel to support this assertion? What is it about this scene that might prompt Nick to divulge his true nature?
  • 52. The enigmatic Gatsby…
    What impression do we get of Gatsby from this initial description? Is it wholly positive?
    ‘He smiled understandingly - much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in your as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished – and I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got the strong impression that he was picking his words with care.’ (p.49)
  • 53. Chapter Three
  • 54. To start our analysis of this chapter…
    Hedonistic enjoyment
    Love
    Power
    Which of the ideas above is the odd one out? What connections can you make across the ideas?
  • 55. Based on what we have learned in our study of Chapter three, which of the following statements are true and which are false?
    • Nick Carraway stands out in West Egg; although he lives by modest means, his neighbours enjoy wealth and luxury.
    • 56. When Myrtle Wilson calls Tom at his family home, Daisy cannot hide her distaste and anger.
    • 57. Tom is guarded and cautious with George Wilson, conscious that he will find out about the affair he enjoys with his wife.
    • 58. Tom, Myrtle and the others drink champagne throughout the afternoon in the New York apartment.
    • 59. Gossip is rife about Gatsby at his party, including the rumour that he has been a College Professor and a military hitman.
    • 60. Jordan and Nick met a drunken man in the kitchens of Gatsby’s house.
    • 61. Gatsby draws Nick away on his own to talk about Daisy.
    • 62. Nick professes undying love and affection for Jordan Baker at the close of Chapter three.
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter three?
    The glamour and expense of Gatsby’s parties is made explicit; it is clear that no expense has been spared but the reader wonders where the wealth – and the motivation – has come from.
    The fact that Nick appears to be one of the only visitors who has been invited suggests that Gatsby is – to a certain extent – manipulated and exploited. People are happy to enjoy his hospitality without necessarily engaging with the host.
    The mystery surrounding Gatsby is clear; people surmise as to the way in which he made his money and fortune.
    Jordan Baker establishes herself as an important character in the novel; her interactions with both Nick and Gatsby suggest she is of importance.
    The episode with the ‘man in the library’ and his subsequent escapade in the car hints at the more reckless and unfulfilled nature of the age.
    Fitzgerald is keen to show us that the glamourous moments with Gatsby are not the only thing that entertains Nick; his moments with Gatsby are part of his life but do not characterise his life. This makes him far more believable and reliable as a narrator.
  • 63. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldChapter Three.
    Read from ‘There was music … to party has begun.’ (p.41-42)
    How does Fitzgerald portray to ritz and glamour of Gatsby’s parties?
  • 64. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldChapter Three.
    Read from ‘She held my hand … whisper about in this world.’ (p.45-6)
    In what way does Fitzgerald portray Gatsby as mysterious and enigmatic in this extract?
  • 65. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldChapter Three.
    Read from ‘I was alone … kicking, into the night.’(p.52-53)
    How does Fitzgerald portray the more sinister and unsatisfied nature of the socially elite?
  • 66. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldChapter Three.
    Read from ‘Reading over … I wished them well.’ (p.57-58)
    What does this extract show us about the life and preoccupations of Nick Carraway?
  • 67. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldChapter Three.
    Read from ‘From a while … why I like you.’ (p.58-59)
    What does this extract show us about the secondary character of Jordan Baker?
  • 68. Preparing for our Coursework Essay
    As you are aware – we are preparing for a comparison piece of coursework, where we examine Othello, The Great Gatsby and Enduring Love.
    From what you have analysed so far, which character would you say is:
    • The most like Othello?
    • 69. The most like Desdemona?
    • 70. The most like Iago?
  • DESIRE: Fitzgerald and Literary Influences of his Time
    Virginia Woolf
    In Mrs DallowayWoolf created a character who dwells on loneliness and who follows a woman through the streets and imagines himself a romantic buccaneer. Both Fitzgerald and Woolf were fascinated by the psychology of desire and found ways to represent it in literature.
    Task: Find examples of this from what we have read so far in the novel.
    T.S. Eliot
    In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’J. Alfred Prufrock reveals himself as tormented by desire, susceptible to the sexual attractiveness of women yet unable to respond, too nervous or embarrassed to engage in the rituals of courtship.
    Task: Does Nick share this same inability in The Great Gatsby?
  • 71. As a result of our initial introduction to Gatsby, the reader feels cheated; we still know little about him...
    Look again at the section beginning, ‘At nine o’clock … (p.62) to ‘… without any particular wonder.’ (p.67)
    What further impression of Gatsby do we get from this extract? How does Fitzgerald manipulate our opinion of him? Does Nick – and therefore we – trust him?
  • 72. Preparing for our Coursework Essay
  • 73. Preparing for our Coursework Essay
    As you are aware – we are preparing for a comparison piece of coursework, where we examine Othello, The Great Gatsby and Enduring Love.
    • Which themes do you think are apparent in both Othello and The Great Gatsby?
    • 74. Othello is one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies – The Great Gatsby is also a tragic tale, what suggestions have been made about this in the novel so far?
    • 75. Can you think of any other points of comparison or contrast so far?
  • Preparing for our Coursework Essay
    Has the theme of love been presented in the novel so far?
  • 76. Preparing for our Coursework Essay
    Has the theme of desire been presented in the novel so far?
  • 77. Analysing the Theme of Desire
  • 78.
  • 79. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    In what way do the above images link to our reading of Chapter four of the novel?
  • 80. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter Four?
    • Nick begins the chapter by listing the important people who attended Gatsby’s parties that Summer; his list reads like the ‘who’s who’ of Manhattan society, thus reinforcing Gatsby as an influential and wealthy man.
    • 81. Fitzgerald satiates the desire of the reader somewhat by providing us with information as to Gatsby’s past. However we, like Nick, are unsure whether to trust and believe him.
    • 82. Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer Wolfshiem, a shady business partner who provides some much needed weight as to Gatsby’s past.
    • 83. The reasons behind Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle are explained; his love for Daisy is all-consuming and he will stop at nothing to claim her.
    • 84. Nick’s role within the novel becomes more rounded; he is not only our narrator but also the link between Daisy and Gatsby.
    • 85. Throughout this chapter, Fitzgerald places the novel firmly in the era of the 1920s. His numerous references to key events and characters suggest that he is commenting, not only on the actions of the characters, but also on the actions of the decade.
  • What do the following quotations suggest about the character of Meyer Wolfshiem and his relationship with Jay Gatsby?
    ‘A small, flat nosed Jew raised his large head and regarded me with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril. After a moment I discovered his tiny eyes in the darkness.’ (p.68)
    ‘This is just a friend. I told you we’d talk about that some other time.’
    ‘I beg your pardon,’ said Mr Wolfshiem. ‘I had a wrong man.’ (p.69)
    ‘I made the pleasure of his acquaintance just after the war. But I knew I had discovered a man with fine breeding after I talked with him an hour.’ (p.70)
    ‘Don’t hurry Meyer,’ said Gatsby, without enthusiasm. Mr Wolfshiem raised his hand in a sort of benediction.
    ‘You’re very polite, but I belong to another generation, he announced solemnly.(p.71)
    ‘As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling. I wondered if I had said anything to offend him.’ (p.71)
  • 86. The statement below suggests that two of the major figures in the novel who Fitzgerald uses to present The American Dream are Meyer Wolfsheim and Tom Buchanan.
    “In the novel the true heirs to the world of wealth Cody created and ethics by which he did so are Meyer Wolfsheim and Tom Buchanan. Wolfsheim employs a more sophisticated version of Cody’s crude style, while Tom Buchanan’s wealth is now graced by social acceptability. Both are national figures in their own way, while Gatsby is fully implicated in Wolfsheim’s activities, he regards him as a means to the achievement of his incorruptible dream which will give him his true identity.”
    Penguin Critical Studies – The Great Gatsby by Kathleen Parkinson
    Task: Find evidence from the text that supports the view that Wolfsheim and Tom are symbols of the dream – or what the dream encourages other to desire. By using these two figures what does this further add to our understanding of Fitzgerald’s view on the American Dream?
  • 87. The American Dream
    Horatio Alger (1832-99) wrote more than one hundred books arguing that religious belief and hard work could enable any young American to secure material advancement and success.This later became known as ‘The American Dream’. Many of his works have been described as rags to riches stories, illustrating how down-and-out boys might be able to achieve the American Dream of wealth and success through hard work, courage, determination, and concern for others.
    Task: In pairs discuss this information. Is this desire for the ideal evident in the novel? Who is aspiring to the American Dream and how are they going about achieving it?
  • 88. Gatsby and The American Dream
    Discuss: Jay Gatsby is also a symbol of the dream within the novel, but how does Fitzgerald prevent him from becoming a dishonourable figure and instead creates a protagonist the reader can identify with?
  • 89.
  • 90. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    Lavish consumption
    American Dream
    War
    Bearing in mind what you know of the novel so far, which of the above ideas would your argue is the odd one out? What reasons do you have for your choices?
  • 91. Our aims and objectives for the lesson…
    • To explore the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay
    • 92. To identify the ways in which their love and desire may be seen as destructive
  • To start the lesson…
    In our lessons today, we are going to focus on the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay. Watch the following clip an discuss whether, based on this clip…
    • What impression do we get of their love for one another?
    • 93. Is this true, long lasting, all encompassing love? What evidence is there for this in this clip?
    • 94. In what was might their love be presented as destructive?
    Gatsby and Daisy
  • 95. Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay’s Desires...
    “Then it had not been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendour.” pg 76.
    In chapter four it is revealed through Jordan Baker’s storytelling the real reason why Gatsby lives in a house just across the bay from Daisy.
    Task:
    • Find three quotations and analyse them that reveal significant information to the reader about Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship.
    • 96. How would you describe Daisy’s relationship with Tom? Why do you think Daisy went ahead with the marriage?
    • 97. Do the revelations about Daisy and Gatsby affect your opinion of them? How? Why?
    • 98. Why does Nick ‘desire’ the reader to hear this story through Jordan Baker?
  • The romance of this novel is easy to see; Gatsby’s love for Daisy prompts to spend lavishly in the vain hope that she will notice him. Passion, intimacy and idealism permeate many of the key scenes.
    ‘We passed a barrier of dark trees, and then the façade of Fifty-ninth Street, a block of delicate pale light, beamed down into the park. Unlike Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, I had no girl whose disembodied face floated along to dark cornices and blinding signs, and I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. Her wan, scornful mouth smiled, and so I drew her up again closer, this time to my face.’ (p.78)
    In contrast, how would we describe the above extract, taken from the end of Chapter four? Does it follow the romantic pattern that has come to characterise the novel so far? If not, why not?
  • 99. And to finish the lesson…
    The destructive nature of desire…
    • Who has the most loving relationship?
    • 100. Who has the most lustful relationship?
    • 101. Who’s relationship is based on selfish desires?
  • 102. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    ‘The romantic imagination invents a world of possibility, but the emotion it generates is often a sense of loss. For the transfiguring moment immediately becomes the past, the vision cannot be sustained.’
    To what extent do you agree with this view of Daisy and Gatsby’s reunion in Chapter five?
  • 103. At approximately half way through the novel, Chapter five is a pivotal moment in the text. But why?
    • Because Nick and Gatsby become co-conspirators in the plan to win back Daisy.
    • 104. Because Gatsby and Daisy finally meet once again, therefore making Gatsby’s love for Daisy less ephemeral and more realistic
    • 105. Because we begin to see that Gatsby’s idea of love cannot be reconciled in the hedonism of the age
    • 106. Because the character of Nick becomes less significant as the focus moves towards the romance of Daisy and Tom,
    • 107. Because Daisy is seduced by the promise of Gatsby’s extravagance and wealth, therefore portraying her as materialistic and shallow
  • The meeting between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan has been highly anticipated for a number of pages. Fitzgerald doesn’t disappoint in the way in which he describes their reunion.
    “‘It’s stopped raining.’
    ‘Has it?’ When he realized what I was talking about, that there were twinkles of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weather man, like an ecstatic patron of recurrent light, and repeated the news to Daisy. ‘What do you think of that? It’s stopped raining.’
    ‘I’m glad, Jay.’ Her throat, full of aching grieving beauty, told of her unexpected joy.” ( p.86 – 87 )
    What does the above extract suggest about the blossoming relationship between Gatsby and Daisy? Is this episode enough to satiate our romantic inclinations?
  • 108. The reunion of Daisy and Gatsby is the event that the reader has been waiting for. However, although their meeting is full of romance and sparkle, Fitzgerald is keen to highlight undertones of doubt and cynicism…
    ‘His head leaned back so far that it rested against the fact of a defunct mantelpiece clock, and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy, which was sitting, frightened but graceful, on the edge of a stiff chair.
    ‘We’ve met before,’ muttered Gatsby. His eyes glance momentarily at me, and his lips parted with an abortive attempt to laugh. Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with his trembling fingers, and set it back in its place. The he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
    ‘I’m sorry about the clock,’ he said.

    ‘It’s an old clock,’ I told him idiotically.
    I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed upon the floor.’ (p.84)
    On what way might the episode with the clock be a metaphor for the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy? In what way does Fitzgerald hint at the tragic ending of the novel?
  • 109. Chapter five is the pivotal point of the novel because the reunion between Gatsby and Daisy is the hinge that the story swings on. In groups you will analyse different aspects of the chapter and will present your findings to the class. You must chart the key moments of the character as well as analysis of quotations with their page references.
    Gatsby
    • How does Gatsby develop as a character in this chapter?
    • 110. How would you describe Gatsby’s feelings for Daisy?
    • 111. How does Gatsby’s preoccupation with stopping time or recapturing a time that has disappeared become more prevalent in this chapter?
    Daisy
    • How would you describe Daisy’s feelings for Gatsby?
    • 112. How does the reader respond to Daisy in this chapter?
    The Atmosphere
    • How do you think Fitzgerald has used the setting of the day to reflect the situation?
    • 113. How has Fitzgerald used non verbal interaction to convey the character’s emotions?
    • 114. How would you describe the overall tone of the chapter?
    Nick
    • Why do you think Nick has been included in the reunion between Daisy and Gatsby?
    • 115. How does Nick feel about their relationship?
  • Throughout the novel so far, Fitzgerald has manipulated our impression of Jay Gatsby. Our interpretations continually fluctuate.
    Look carefully at the words in the grid above; all of them may be used to describe Gatsby throughout the novel so far. What order would you put them in? How does this help us to characterise Gatsby?
  • 116. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    Unscramble the words above which are all related to our study of Chapter seven. In what way are they significant?
  • 130. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter Six?
    • Nick reveals more of Gatsby’s past, revealing his poor background and his dreams and aspirations.
    • 131. Gatsby’s associations with Dan Cody reveal him to be a opportunistic but sensitive man; although he is attracted to Cody’s wealth, it is clear that there was genuine affection between the two men.
    • 132. Nick recounts the time when Gatsby met Tom Buchanan; despite the fact that we are aware of Gatsby’s devious intentions, Tom’s arrogance and rudeness almost excuse what Gatsby is trying to do.
    • 133. When Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s parties, Gatsby plays the congenial host. However, it is clear that Daisy does not feel comfortable in this world; too much time has passed and they do not yet belong in each other’s worlds.
    • 134. Tom’s dislike of Gatsby is clear and yet his dislike is based on masculine competition and financial jealousy. He does not appear to register that Gatsby is in love with his wife.
    • 135. Throughout the chapter the past mingles with the present; Gatsby logs for what has passed and his sentimental romanticism believes it can be achieved.
  • To start the lesson…
    ‘But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an obvious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.’ (p.96)
    What does this extract suggest about Gatsby’s desires? In what way is the language used in this extract gaudily romantic?
  • 136. Chapter Six – Gatsby and Tom
    “He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there.” Pg 98
    “Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy’s running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby’s party.” Pg 100
    TASK: Examine Fitzgerald’s presentation of Gatsby and Tom’s interaction in chapter 6.
    How does the power shift in the chapter?
    DISCUSS: Do you think Tom is jealous? Is this because he loves Daisy – or because his authority is challenged?
  • 137. ‘Good night Nick,’ said Daisy.
    Her glance left me and sought the lighted top of the steps where ‘Three o’clock in the Morning’, a neat, sad little waltz of that year, was drifting out the open door. After all, in the very casualness of Gatsby’s party there were romantic possibilities totally absent from her world. What was it up there in the song that seemed to be calling her back inside? What would happen now in the dim, incalculable hours? Perhaps some unbelievable would arrive, a person infinitely rare and to be marvelled at, some authentically radiant young girl who with one fresh glance at Gatsby, one moment of magical encounter, would blot out these five years of unwavering devotion.’ (p.105)
    What does the above quotation reveal about Daisy?
    In what way does the language suggest the possibility of romance?
  • 138. ‘…One autumn night, five years before, they had been walking down the street when the leaves were falling, and they came to a place where there were no trees and the sidewalk was white with moonlight. They stopped here and turned towards each other. Now it was a cool night with the mysterious excitement in it which comes at the two changes of the year. The quiet lights in the houses were humming out into the darkness and there was a stir and bustle among the stars. Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees – he could climb to it, if he climber alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.
    His heart beat faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.’ (p.107)
    What does this extract suggest about Gatsby’s desires?
    In what way are they married to the vision of Daisy?
    How effective is the romantic imagery in this extract?
  • 139. “Gatsby is an accomplished magician and The Great Gatsby is a novel full of magic, illusion, imagination and enchantment.”
    Homework: Find evidence to support this statement, focusing your attention on chapter six. Why do you think Gatsby has been presented in this way?
  • 140. And to finish the lesson…
    Think back to what we have learned about The Great Gatsby in this – and previous - lessons. Bear in mind also your key coursework question on the destructive nature of desire.
    What three comparisons can you make between The Great Gatsby and Othello. Think about similarities and differences between the texts.
  • 141. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    ‘Wealth and sex are closely related in this vicious world of plunder, which renders life meaningless by denying any altruism in human endeavour: life becomes a species of jungle in which the immediate satisfaction of desire is the only value. However, drawn irresistibly by the magnet of wealth, and having taken Daisy in an act of sexual plunder which is eventually transformed into love, Gatsby tries to employ his idealising capacity and imaginative response to beauty to transform the moral ugliness of this world.’ (Critical Studies: The Great Gatsby – Kathleen Parkinson)
    To what extent do we agree with the above statement, that Gatsby is trying to transform the ugly world of the 1920s into something romantic and beautiful. Can we be wholly trusting of Gatsby's intentions?
  • 142. “Gatsby is an accomplished magician and The Great Gatsby is a novel full of magic, illusion, imagination and enchantment.”
    Homework: Find evidence to support this statement, focusing your attention on chapter six. Why do you think Gatsby has been presented in this way?
  • 143. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from (the first part)Chapter Seven?
    • As the chapter begins, Nick explains that Gatsby has called off his parties. It appears that, now he has achieved his aim of securing Daisy, he no longer needs the attraction of his hedonistic gatherings.
    • 144. The oppressive heat of the day echoes the oppression of the mood – we recognise that Daisy and Gatsby’s renewed love can only be short-lived and that more sinister events are close by.
    • 145. Daisy’s attitude to her daughter – and the cold and detached way in which she greets her – once more establishes her as two dimensional.
    • 146. Throughout the luncheon at the Buchanan’s house, it is clear that Daisy and Gatsby are in love. Tom notices it too and his subsequent actions begin the steady downfall of Gatsby.
    • 147. The swapping of the car as the group journey into town is symbolic of the adulterous nature of these couples. Tom acquiesces and allows Gatsby to drive Daisy even though he is aware of Gatsby’s intentions? But why?
    • 148. The plot and subplots of the novel begin to merge in this chapter. The inclusion of Myrtle Wilson and her husband adds even more confusion to an already chaotic episode.
  • Chapter seven heralds the beginning of the end for Gatsby and Daisy.
    ‘Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.
    “You always look so cool,” she repeated.
    She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw. He was astounded. His mouth opened a little, and he looked at Gatsby, and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as someone he knew a long time ago.’
    In what way is Fitzgerald’s description of the ‘moment’ both romantic and sinister? How does Fitzgerald present this as a pivotal moment in the novel?
  • 149. ‘“I hear you fired all your servants.”
    “I wanted somebody who wouldn’t gossip. Daisy comes over quiet often – in the afternoons.”
    So the whole caravansary had fallen like a card house at the disapproval in her eyes.
    “They’re some people Wolfshiem wanted to do something for. They’re all brothers and sisters. They used to run a small hotel.”’ (p.109)
    ‘“I can’t say anything in his house, old sport.’
    “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of –” I hesitated.
    “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.
    That was it. I had never understood it before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it … High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl …
    ‘He looked at me keenly, realizing that Jordan and I must have known all along.
    “You think I’m pretty dumb, don’t you?” he suggested. “Perhaps I am, but I have a – almost second sight, sometimes that tells me what to do. Maybe you don’t believe that, but science –”
    He paused. The immediate contingency overtook him, pulled him back from the edge of the theoretical abyss.” (p,117)
  • 150. As well as bringing Gatsby and Tom together, Fitzgerald chooses this chapter to introduce Myrtle Wilson further into the action.
    Re-read p.117 – 119. ‘We were all irritable … whom she took to be his wife.’
    • In what way is George Wilson made to seem weak and ineffectual throughout his dialogue with Tom?
    • 151. How does Tom react to the news that George Wilson has found about his wife’s affair?
    • 152. In what way does Nick – and therefore Fitzgerald – draw parallels between Tom Buchanan and George Wilson?
    • 153. How does Myrtle Wilson react to the vision of Jordan Baker at the end of the extract? In what way is this important?
  • And to finish the lesson…
    Think back to what we have learned about The Great Gatsby in this – and previous - lessons. Bear in mind also your key coursework question on the destructive nature of desire.
    What three comparisons can you make between The Great Gatsby and Othello. Think about similarities and differences between the texts.
  • 154.
  • 155.
  • 156. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from (the secondpart)Chapter Seven?
    • Despite his arrogant, masculine pride, Tom is clearly moved by what he has discovered about Daisy and Gatsby. As they move from the Wilson’s garage to the suite at the Plaza, it is clear that he cannot endure their obvious love.
    • 157. Much of this chapter belongs to Tom; Fitzgerald develops his character from a two dimensional stereotype to a tortured man who exhibits love, tenderness and devotion.
    • 158. Daisy’s torment in this chapter is obvious. She clearly loves Gatsby but cannot bring herself to admit that she never loved Tom. This is something we have suspected throughout the novel but it comes as a surprise for Gatsby.
    • 159. As the party leave the Plaza, Nick remembers he is celebrating his thirtieth birthday. The passing into a new decade represents the change that is taking place amongst the group; things will never quite be the same again.
    • 160. The death of Myrtle Wilson is brutal and unforgiving. Fitzgerald has so far shielded his readers from the sinister elements of this world. In this episode however, he reveals the disturbing details with the intention to shock and appal.
    • 161. Whilst Gatsby waits for Daisy, it is clear that she has said goodbye to him. The intimate simplicity of Daisy and Tom together represents the renewed solidity of their marriage and the end of Gatsby’s dream.
  • Arguably, both Daisy and Tom represent the two dimensional, materialistic world of the rich upper classes during this era. However, throughout this chapter, we see Tom’s character change and develop; we find our initial impressions challenged.
    ‘…Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.’ (p.119)
    ‘”And what’s more, I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.’ (p.125)
    “Not that day I carried you down from the Punch Bowl to keep your shoes dry?” There was a husky tenderness in his tone. “Daisy?”’ (p.126)
    ‘In a little while I heard a low husky sob, and saw that tears were flowing down his face. “The God damned coward!’ he whimpered. “He didn’t even stop the car.” (p.135)
    ‘He was talking intently across the table at her, and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own. Once in while she looked up at him and nodded in agreement.’ (p.138)
    What do the following quotations suggest about the development in Tom’s character?
  • 162. ‘The moment of her death is both dramatized and give added significance by the language; there is irony in her kneeling, a posture usually associated with prayer or penitence, and so the narrative style suggests that she is paying a heavy price for he adulterous sexual life … By its reference to ‘the tremendous vitality she had stored up for so long’ (p.131) and has now relinquished in such agony, the final sentence pays tribute to her sexuality, but, nonetheless, it seems that Fitzgerald makes Myrtle pay heavily for being openly sensualist. Tom certainly does not pay for his sexual transgressions … Dead, Myrtle Wilson is a victim of the callous rich who hold the social and economic power.’ (The Great Gatsby - Critical Studies by Kathleen Parkinson, London, 1988)
    To what extent do we agree with the comment above? What role / roles does Myrtle Wilson play in the novel? Is it only through her death that she comes to life?
  • 163. Myrtle Wilson has been seen as the antithesis of Daisy; her sensuality and disregard for traditional moral values sets her apart from the elegant and reserved world of Tom’s wife.
    ‘Then I heard footsteps on a stairs, and in a moment the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door. She was in her middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her flesh sensuously as some women can … but there was an immediate perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering … then she wet her lips, and without turning around spoke to her husband in a soft, coarse voice…’ (Chp.2 p.28)
    ‘… but when they tore open her shirtwaist, still damp with perspiration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap, and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped a little at the corners, as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long … Myrtle Wilson’s body, wrapped in a blanket, and then in another blanket, as though she suffered from a chill in the hot night, lay on a work table by the wall …’ (p.131 – 132)
  • 164. As well as bringing Gatsby and Tom together, Fitzgerald chooses this chapter to introduce Myrtle Wilson further into the action.
    Re-read p.117 – 119. ‘We were all irritable … whom she took to be his wife.’
    • In what way is George Wilson made to seem weak and ineffectual throughout his dialogue with Tom?
    • 165. How does Tom react to the news that George Wilson has found about his wife’s affair?
    • 166. In what way does Nick – and therefore Fitzgerald – draw parallels between Tom Buchanan and George Wilson?
    • 167. How does Myrtle Wilson react to the vision of Jordan Baker at the end of the extract? In what way is this important?
  • And to finish the lesson…
    Why can the dream that Gatsby and Daisy hold never work? What factors will ensure that they can never be together?
    What have we learned this lesson which will help us to answer this question?
  • 168.
  • 169. American literature has often explored the role and presentation of women; Fitzgerald’s women are complicated and challenging …
    But which one of the women is …
  • Aims for the lesson…
    • To explore the role of the female characters in the novel
    • 177. To make links in the presentation of the female characters between The Great Gatsby and Othello.
  • To start the lesson…
    ‘Each of the women perform a different role within the novel. None of them stand out in their own right – as the male characters do – but instead perform a function which is essential in understanding the concerns and desires of the time.’
    Based on what you have learned about each of the women in previous lessons, to what extent do you agree with this statement? What role does each woman play? Are they as essential as the male characters? How do they help us to understand the concerns and desires of the time?
  • 178. ‘In all Fitzgerald’s fiction women characters are decorative figures of seemingly fragile beauty, though in fact they are often vain, egotistical, even destructive and ruthless. They are very often the survivors. Prime consumers all, they are never capable of idealism or intellectual or artistic interests, nor do they experience passion.’
    In your analysis, you will need to think about …
    • Their initial presentation
    • 179. How / if their characters change throughout the novel
    • 180. What role you think they fulfil – what message Fitzgerald was trying to send through their characterisation.
    • 181. How they might be compared to the female characters in Othello.
    Your aim is to review the role of the three women in the novel so far – Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker and Myrtle Wilson. You will need to think specifically about how Fitzgerald presents them and what role they play in the novel.
  • 182. In evaluating your chosen female character, you will also need to critically analyse a chosen extract.
    You will be assessing the character of Daisy and your key extract is …
    ‘Under the dripping bare lilac-trees … such beautiful shirts before.’ (p.82 – 89)
    Be prepared to present your findings on one side of A4 paper, complete with your explorations into the key questions and your analysis of the focus scene. You will also need to present your findings – orally – at the end of the lesson.
  • 183. In evaluating your chosen female character, you will also need to critically analyse a chosen extract.
    You will be assessing the character of Myrtle Wilson and your key extract is …
    ‘So Tom Buchanan and his girl … Taking my hat from the chandelier, I followed.’ (p.29 – 39)
    Be prepared to present your findings on one side of A4 paper, complete with your explorations into the key questions and your analysis of the focus scene. You will also need to present your findings – orally – at the end of the lesson.
  • 184. In evaluating your chosen female character, you will also need to critically analyse a chosen extract.
    You will be assessing the character of Jordan Baker and your key extract is …
    ‘For a while I lost sight … I have ever known.’ (p.58-59)
    Be prepared to present your findings on one side of A4 paper, complete with your explorations into the key questions and your analysis of the focus scene. You will also need to present your findings – orally – at the end of the lesson.
  • 185. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    “A change occurs from chapter seven in the novel: the characters can no longer fulfil their desires. Fitzgerald believes the desires of each individual are punishable because they are selfish and lack moral judgement or spiritual guidance.”
    To what extent do you agree with this statement? What have we learned in previous lesson to help you reach a conclusion?
  • 186. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter Eight?
    • The sadness of the chapter is established from the very first moments; Gatsby’s insistence that he stay to wait for Daisy and her obvious indifference to what might happen to him as a result of what she has done puts paid to any romantic notions we might have for a happy ending.
    • 187. Fitzgerald returns to the past once again telling the tale of the courtship between Gatsby and Daisy. Although he professes unconditional love for her, it is clear that his love is also bound in what she represents.
    • 188. Nick’s parting from Gatsby is poignant and telling. There is a melancholy about their goodbye which suggests this might be the last time. Although Nick seems aware of this, Gatsby continues in somewhat blissful ignorance, focusing only on Daisy.
    • 189. The nature of Nick and Jordan’s relationship is finally realised. Although they were both clearly caught up in the moment, now that the group have dispersed and the need for one another is no longer there, the attraction has also gone.
    • 190. George Wilson’s heartbreak at the death of his wife reveals the sinister consequences of revelling in the hedonism of the age. His ‘ordinary’ life has been ruined by the whims of others.
    • 191. The death of Gatsby is told with brutal simplicity. Although Fitzgerald plays with the devastation of the scene, his language is cold and uncompromising.
  • As we have already noted, Gatsby’s dream for Daisy is firmly rooted in the American Dream – although he may love Daisy Fay, he also loves what a lifetime with her promises …
    ‘The list of names which Fitzgerald proceeds to enumerate conjures up with remarkable precision an atmosphere of vulgar American fortunes and vulgar American destinies … Why did they come? There is the answer of the plotted story – the free party, the motor-boats, the private beach, the endless flow of cocktails. But in the completed pattern of the novel one knows that they came for another reason – came blindly and instinctively – illusions in pursuit of a reality from which they have become historically separated, but by which they might alone be completely fulfilled. And why did Gatsby invite them? As contrasted with them, he alone has the sense of reality that hovers somewhere out of sight in this nearly ruined American Dream; but the reality is unintelligible until he can invest it again with the tangible forms of his world, and relate it to the logic of history. Gatsby and his guests feel a mutual need of each other, but the division in the American experience has widened too far, and no party, however lavish, can heal the breach. The illusions and the reality do there separate ways.’
    From The Complex Fate by Marius Bewley.
  • 192. The world in which Gatsby operates is fundamentally false – an illusion at odds with reality. Gatsby – unlike some of the other more transitory characters – understands that his world is artificial and can only be made real if he can marry his lavish life with a concrete and real relationship with Daisy. But this is also the tragedy of the novel; the two cannot be matched and Gatsby’s dream – like the dream of so many others – will never be realised.
    Do you agree with this assessment of Gatsby?
  • 193. Throughout Chapter eight, we hear the motivations behind Gatsby's love for Daisy. Bearing in mind what we have just discussed, what do the following quotations suggest about Gatsby’s love for Daisy Fay.
    ‘Just as Daisy’s house had always seemed to him more mysterious and gay than other houses, so his idea of the city itself, even though she was gone from it, was pervaded with a melancholy beauty.’ (p.145)
    ‘She was the first ‘nice’ girl he had ever known. In various unrevealed capacities he had come into contact with such people, but always with indiscernible barbed wire between.’ (p.141)
    ‘There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool that other bedrooms … and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shining motor cars and of dances whose flowers were scarcely withered.’ (p.141)
    ‘But he knew that he was in Daisy’s house by a colossal accident … He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously - eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand.’ (p.141-142)
    ‘He had intended, probably, to take what he could and go – but he now found that he had committed himself to the following of the holy grail.’ (p.142)
  • 194. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    ‘Gatsby is a more sympathetic character that Othello.’
    Discuss…
  • 195. ‘”They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”
    I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from the beginning to the end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time. His gorgeous pink rag of a suit made a bright spot of colour against the white steps, and I thought of the night when I first cam to his ancestral home, three months before. The lawn and the drive had been crowded with the faces of those who guessed at his corruption – and he had stood in those steps, concealing his incorruptible dream, as he waved them goodbye.
    I thanked him for his hospitality. We were always thanking him for that – I and the others.
    “Goodbye,” I called. “I enjoyed breakfast, Gatsby.”’ (p.147)
    How effective is this an ending of the relationship between Nick and Gatsby? What comments might we make about the language and tone of the extract?
  • 196. Throughout the novel we have been guided by various symbols and motifs. The ‘eyes of Dr T.J. Eckelberg’ remain one of the most effective representations.
    ‘Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Dr T.J. Eckleberg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night.
    ‘God sees everything,’ repeated Wilson.
    ‘That’s an advertisement,’ Michaelis assured him. Something made him turn away from the window and look back into the room. But Wilson stood there a long time, his face close to the window pane, nodding into the twilight.’ (p.152)
    In what way does Fitzgerald use the recurring motif here? What do the ‘eyes’ symbolise at this point in the novel?
  • 197. It could be argued that the characters’ desires in both ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Othello’ are rooted in the seven deadly sins – hence why they conclude in tragedy. Read through the deadly sins and decide which characters’ desires could be described in this way and why.
    Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
    Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
    Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
    Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
    Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
    Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
    Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work
  • 198. Where do we see examples of the seven deadly sins in both The Great Gatsby and Othello?
    Which characters are the biggest ‘sinners?’
  • 199. And to finish the lesson…
    DISCUSS: What does Gatsby truly desire...
    Daisy?
    Love?
    Money?
    Status?
    Power?
    A place in the real world?
  • 200.
  • 201.
  • 202.
  • 203. As you are waiting for the lesson to begin…
    The final chapter focuses on the funeral of Gatsby and obviously brings a close to the story. Select two of the following words from the selection below that you think sums up the readers’ response and the concluding tone at the end of the novel and explain your answer.
  • 204. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott FitzgeraldWhat are the key moments from Chapter Nine?
    • Although we have already condemned the promise of the American Dream, ultimately Fitzgerald fails to punish the hedonistic world of the novel. The fact that the murder is put down to the actions of ‘a man deranged by grief’ suggest that Wilson – and not the pleasure seeking 1920’s – will be at fault.
    • 205. The contrast between Gatsby’s full and popular life and his isolated and lonely death is stark and uncompromising. We share in Nick’s sadness for his friend, realising – as we always have done – the Gatsby was fundamentally alone.
    • 206. The inclusion of Gatsby’s father is interesting and a little unsettling. He adds a more emotional and ‘full’ element to Gatsby’s character but this manifestation of Gatsby’s past detracts from his enigmatic persona.
    • 207. Nick’s ending of his relationship with Jordan Baker is tense and difficult. It is clear that they no longer have use for one another, but there is still a sadness and questioning which is associated with their parting.
    • 208. The final paragraphs of the novel offer no real resolve. Although Nick does see Tom again, justice is not served and Daisy continues without reprimand. Gatsby’s legacy is the sadness that is associated with his death, no the rich glamour of his life.
  • The final moments of Gatsby’s life are told delicately and painfully …
    ‘No telephone message arrived, but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until about four o’clock – until long after there was anything to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about … like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding towards him through the amorphous trees.’ (p.154)
    How is this extract a fitting final moment to Gatsby’s life? What impression does it leave us with? Is this the end that we have been expecting?
  • 209. ‘But all this part of it seemed remote and unessential. I found myself on Gatsby’s side, and alone. From the moment I telephoned news of the catastrophe to West Egg village, every surmise about him, and every practical question, was referred to me. At first I was surprised and confused; then, as he lay in his house and didn’t move or breath or speak, hour upon hour, it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no-one else was interested – interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which everyone has some vague right at the end.’ (p.156)
    • Does Gatsby’s isolation in death shock or surprise the reader? Why?
    • 210. Do we also view Nick as an isolated character?
    • 211. What does the reader learn at this point about Nick’s relationship with Gatsby and his emotion regarding his death?
  • ‘”And if you think I didn’t have my share of suffering – look here, when I went up to that flat and saw that damn box of dog biscuits sitting there on the sideboard, I sat down and cried like a baby. By God it was awful – “
    I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. 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 …
    I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child. Then he went into the jewellery store to buy a pearl necklace – or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons – rid of my provincial squeamishness forever.’ (p.170)
    What lasting impression do we have of the Buchanans? To what extent would you agree that Daisy and Tom are the true villains of the novel?
  • 212. ‘You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t I? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. I thought it was your secret pride.’
    ‘I’m thirty,’ I said. ‘I’m five years too old to lie to myself and call it honour.’
    She didn’t answer. Angry and half in love with her, and tremendously sorry, I turned away. (pg 168 – 169)
    What do you think Jordan means when she refers to being a ‘bad driver?’ What tone does this final chapter in their relationship have? What does their parting suggest about Nick’s character?
  • 213. ‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further … and one fine morning -
    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’ (p.172)
    How fitting is this an ending to the novel? What impression do you think Fitzgerald wants to leave us with? How effective is the poetic nature of the final line?
  • 214. What makes The Great Gatsbygreat?