THE GREAT GATSBY PT 2RELATIONSHIPS-GENDER-ENVIRONMENT-MAPS- TECHNOLOGY
RELATIONSHIPS• The core of The Great Gatsby is relationships, but those relationships are often shaped by physical environment. • For example: Tom and Myrtle’s relationship can only happen in the city. When it starts to emerge in the countryside, well, it has fatal consequences.• If they aren’t shaped by physical environment, then they are shaped by psychological spaces— especially the fallibility of human memory • For example: Daisy and Gatsby can only really have a relationship either in the past, or in Gatsby’s head—they can’t have one in the present physical reality.
GENDER• But whatever physical or psychological space a relationship can flourish in, Fitzgerald’s novel can’t get away from the problems and complexities of gender in a post-WWI world. • At its core, The Great Gatsby can read a very anti-female book, because so many of its female characters (from Jordan to Daisy to Myrtle to the many party-goers) seem to be developed from gender-based stereotypes • Jordan is a bad driver, Daisy is overly emotional the night before her wedding and a flighty mother, the women at the parties can’t hold their liquor, etc. • But the novel also stereotypes some of its male characters, suggesting that it isn’t just about the emergence of the Modern Woman so much as the impossibility of traditional male and female roles • In this, it is very similar to what we see in “The Beast in the Jungle”• DO THIS: To get a sense of the recent history Fitzgerald is responding to, look through my PowerPoint on women’s suffrage, a few posts down.
ENVIRONMENT• Gatsby flourishes in an environment of rumor and falsehood, but at the physical middle of the novel, Fitzgerald gives us his true origin story.• Putting that story at the traditional moment of climax indicates the author wanted to draw attention to it.• It’s this set of revelations that brings us to Gatsby and Daisy meeting again for the first time in the present day of the novel.
MAPS Gatsby’s Origins Industry = Access to Wealth• Gatsby grew up in North • In Duluth, Gatsby meets Dan Dakota, in a relatively poor family Cody, the wealthy industrialist• As a young adult, he first tried who will help get him to attending college, in Europe, where he essentially southeastern Minnesota remakes himself during WWI. • St. Olaf College is a real place—my • Basically, Gatsby manages to mother is an alum! enjoy the fruit of late-nineteenth century capitalism, and start his• When that didn’t work, Gatsby own life, by being in the right went up to Duluth, a city in place at the right time. northern Minnesota. • Why Duluth? At the turn of the • DO THIS: To get a better century, it was one of the busiest understanding of Gatsby’s ports in the world, because just outside of Duluth there were a bunch origins, look at the Google of iron ore (taconite) mines. These Map and the photographs mines provided resources to the growing U.S. steel industry. of Duluth/the taconite industry, a few posts down.
TECHNOLOGY• So, it’s important to understand Gatsby’s origins as industrial, and as technological • He is able to capitalize on the results of the new technologies being developed by U. S. industry, quite literally—a technologically- advanced ship takes him to Europe.• But that’s kind of funny, because there are lots of moments in the novel when technology breaks down • The auto accident with Owl-Eyes, where they have so little understanding of how the car works that they try to drive it when the wheel has fallen off • When Gatsby and Daisy meet again for the first time, time stops—the mantelpiece clock is broken. But the clock itself sort of gets in the way of that meeting. They all feel as if the clock has actually fallen, signifying the impossibility of stopping time—it will move forward whether you want it to or not.• So The Great Gatsby is, at its core, ambivalent about technology. • You can see this in the final auto accident, too!
HURRICANE SANDY MAKE-UP ASSIGNMENTCreate a map of The Great Here’s just one example Gatsby from a previous class:• You can map any category of information from the text in any way you choose. • For example, when I lead this assignment in class, I have some people map characters/relationships, some people map rumors about Gatsby, and some people map places mentioned in the text. • You can choose one of those categories, or make up your own! • Please use COLOR!• Bring your completed map to class on November 13
REMINDERS AND UPCOMING INFO• The EVENING section • Our next class is does not have class November 13 on Election Night. • At that class, we will• Your Gatsby map is be discussing: not the make-up • poetry by Allen assignment for Ginsberg Election Night. That • a short non-fiction will be a different piece by Thomas Hine post. (which I hope you’ll really like!) • an audio clip from This American Life
STAY SAFE, STAY DRY, SEE YOU SOON!E-MAIL LINDSEY.FREER@GMAIL.COM WI TH A NY QUESTIONS