ROMANTIC IDEALISM • naive, miscalculated dream of a perfect world without factoring in the flaws that reality would bring. • Ideal romance has to do with a hope for love that is so strong that the flaws of the people become endearing.• Sometimes, when people idealize an individual the person becomes a perfect version in the mind that the real person can never live up to; leads to disappointment when imagination and hope meet reality.
RUMOR• The guests return to Gatsby’s house and gossip about the host• While bad mouthing Gatsby, the ladies partake in the pleasures his house offers, clipping roses from his garden. • They are content not to find out the truth about the host and are not his real friends - use him for his wealth
BENNY MCCLENAHAN “Benny McClenahan arrived always with four girls. They were neverquite the same ones in physical person, but they were so identical one with another that it inevitably seemed they had been there before.” • The girls are interchangeable decorations - no individuality. • Superficial - blend in to their surroundings • The men in this society don’t seem to make lasting connections with the women they surround themselves with. Artificial people and relationships.
GATSBY RESTLESS“He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand” (63) Gatsby does not seem comfortable in his skin and the restlessness reflects his unhappiness in his surroundings.
DISAPPOINTMENT • Gatsby talked very little and didn’t live up to Nick’s ideal or expectation of him.• Nick had an image of the mysterious Gatsby in his mind, and the people in this novel tend to be disappointed when they realize that reality rarely satisfies.
GATSBY’S HISTORY• Gatsby claims to come from a wealthy Midwestern family that is all dead now. However, San Francisco is not in the Mid West. • He claims to be educated at Oxford, like his ancestors - however, he hurried the phrase, as if he were lying. • Nick begins to wonder if there isn’t something sinister about Gatsby. • Gatsby inherited a good deal of money when his family all died - he is solemn at the memory as if still haunted by the event.
GATSBY’S HISTORY• After the tragedy, Gatsby lived “like a rajah in all the capitals of Europe - collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, things for myself only and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to me long ago.”• Gatsby seems to surround himself with wealth and distractions to forget the past.
NICK’S RESPONSE • Doesn’t think Gatsby’s story is true• He keeps picturing Gatsby in a turban - calling him a character - “leaking sawdust at every pore as he pursued a tiger” through the foreign lands.• Gatsby is more of a caricature in Nick’s mind, a comical adventurer.
GATSBY’S PAIN• “Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to bear an enchanted life.” • Gatsby is suicidal over his emotional pain, suggesting that whatever happened in the past has done lasting harm.
MEDAL AND PHOTO• reminders of the past and a record of his personal history• proof of his story, since he knows many people might not believe him• Gatsby says that he wouldn’t want Nick to think he was a nobody.• He is often around strangers, drifting to forget the past, that he needs to present validation of his accomplishments to new acquaintances.• Nick seems to come understand Gatsby’s pain and his money as a quest to forget the pain.
MEYER WOLFSHEIM• He is a small, flat-nosed Jew and a gambler.• He is enamored with the old restaurant across the street since it is “filled with faces dead and gone” - he is nostalgic for the past.• He was the man that fixed the World Series in 1919 and is an expert in shady deals.• He looks around the restaurant skeptically, as if paranoid.
CRIME • Wolfsheim represents a world of crime • Gatsby’s business associates are shadyDoes this suggest that Gatsby’s fortune is gained from illegal activities? How does this make us feel about Gatsby?
GATSBY AND WOMEN “Gatsby’s very careful about women. He would never so much as look at a friend’s wife.”• a foil to Tom – opposites?• Gatsby is seen as a man that honors marriage.
GATSBY AND DAISY• However, this is false, since his interest in Daisy is the motivating factor for all of Gatsby’s actions, and the fact that she is married will not stop him from getting her back. • When it comes to his ideal love, Gatsby has no qualms about romancing another man’s wife, especially since he believes that a relationship with him will be better for Daisy than her marriage
TOM AND DAISY’S CHILD How do you think the fact that Daisy and Tom have a daughter would affect Gatsby? How does this add to the dissolution of Gatsby’s dream? Think about what Gatsbywants from Daisy, and how a child might ruin that dream of the perfect life.
PAMMY• The daughter is a physical manifestation of the past and the present that Tom and Daisy share.• Gatsby cannot deny her reality when he meets her and cannot deny the fact that Daisy has a sexual relationship with Tom.• She is no longer the pure and innocent girl that he fell in love with. Daisy has been damaged and soiled by reality and circumstances, much different than Gatsby’s ideal.
YOUNG DAISY • She was the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville and one that Jordan admired for her popularity.• She was dressed in white and drove a white roadster - Daisy is an interesting juxtaposition between innocence and a corruption of innocence.• The phone rang all day long for Daisy and many men were interested in taking her out.
YOUNG GATSBY “The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at some time”• Jordan didn’t recognize Gatsby - suggests that he has changed a great deal.• The quest for wealth and reputation - to impress Daisy with - has drastically changed him. • He is now somber, detached and slightly artificial.
DAISY AND GATSBY• Daisy might have ran away with Gatsby, since her family didn’tapprove of the match since Gatsby was not wealthy.
DAISY AND TOM’S MARRIAGE • The marriage was extravagant - a gift of pearls valued at $350,000. • The day of the wedding Jordan “found [Daisy] lying on her bed as lovely as the June night in her flowered dress - and as drunk as a monkey” - Daisy was a mixture of beauty and sadness.• She was clutching the letter from Gatsby and the memory of her love made her realize that she has no feelings for Tom. • Despite her strong feelings for Gatsby, she married Tom. • WHY?
CONT.• At first, Daisy seemed crazy about her husband - would look for him whenever he was out of the room.• The perfect honeymoon didn’t last. Tom had a car accident while driving around town with one of the maids from the hotel - already started cheating on Daisy.
LIFE IN CHICAGO “They moved with a fast crowd, all of them young and rich and wild, but she came out with an absolutely perfect reputation. Perhaps because she doesn’t drink. It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people. You can hold your tongue, and, moreover, you can time any littleirregularity of your own so that everybody else is so blind that they don’t see or care.”
GREEN LIGHT “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisywould be just across the bay...Then it had notbeen merely stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.” (78-79)
GATSBY’S MOTIVATION • All of Gatsby’s actions are motivated by Daisy - he acquired wealth to impress her, since it was his social status that prevented their union in the first place. He wants her to wander into one of his parties and be impressed. • The green light that Gatsby was starring at was the light from Daisy’s dock.• To Nick, Gatsby has become a person of dimension and purpose, not an empty shell with money - The love for Daisy gives him emotion and personality.
Is she that shallow that he has to lureher with money? Is this someone that is worth all of Gatsby’s efforts and pain? What does Gatsby’s infatuation with Daisy tell us about his character?
GATSBY• He also seems a bit shallow or superficial, inlove with the idea of love and the idea of Daisy rather than the person. • Uses material items to gain emotional happiness. • He knows that Daisy is materialistic and is stooping down to her level.
ROMANTIC IDEALISM • Gatsby had a strong desire for the American dream, represented in the novel by Daisy, and thinks that the best way to achieve that is by making a lot of money to impress her with.• The problem is, the only way he can make this money and have any chance of winning her back is through crime, corruption, bootlegging • Pure love and crime don’t mix – will he fail? Did he sacrifice who he was?
NICK AND JORDAN – ROMANCE? • He knows that Jordan is superficial and dangerous (as well as dishonest) but is accepting her flaws. • He is more of a realist than a dreamer.• Jordan is physical; Daisy is almost a distant object of admiration • Nick knows people are not perfect, while Gatsby seems to think that Daisy is.
PERFECTIONDo you think Daisy can ever live up to Gatsby’s ideals about her? What will happen in their relationship? Why is it important to realize that no one is perfect?