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The Great Gatsby - Chapters 2 and 3


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The Great Gatsby - Chapters 2 and 3

  1. 1. Independent Study – Spend only 1 hour SECTION A PRACTICE QUESTIONS: • How is the story told in Chapter One of The Great Remember you are being marked on Gatsby? AO2 only on this question AND • Even though Nick claims he’s not judgemental, his presentation of the other characters encourages the reader to make their own judgements about them.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement? Refer to the text in your answer. AO1: being able to write about narrative analytically AO2: being able to deconstruct the text, to look at technical authorial methods AO3: being able to lay bare the possibilities of interpretation AO4: understanding that evidence for your readings is in the relationship between what is in the text itself and what you yourself bring to it. Context is included in the question you just have to look for it. Remember context can be: cultural, modern, autobiographical, historical and its reception too. Remember you are being marked on AO1, 3 and 4 on this question
  2. 2. Chapter 2
  3. 3. Exploring the Narrative of The Great Gatsby Learning Objective: How does Fitzgerald tell the story in Chapter 2 of the Great Gatsby? Learning Outcome: To explore Fitzgerald’s use of: • Time and Sequence • Characters and Characterisation • Points of View • Voices in texts • Scenes and Places • Destination
  4. 4. The Valley of Ashes CONTRASTS Wheat and gardens are associated with life and nature. Ashes are dead and depressing. Combining them shows that beauty has been destroyed. This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque 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. IMAGERY The image of “transcendent effort” shows how all the men’s effort is taken up in just existing. But despite their struggle to survive, they’re “already crumbling”. LISTS Fitzgerald gives long lists of objects made from ash to emphasis the scale of decay. Repetition of ‘and’ slows the pace, emphasising the trudging drudgery of life in the valley.
  5. 5. Romantic Modernism Remember how we discussed: • The Romantic era was a late 18th to early 19th century artistic movement. The poets of the Romantic era focused on celebrating the beauty of nature and favoured emotion over reason. • The early 20th century saw rapid technological change driven by the demands of war. Some writers responded to this by experimenting with unconventional language and structure. The era was called Modernism.
  6. 6. Romantic Modernism in Chapter 2 Fitzgerald was excited by the new Modernist writing style – but he still wanted to make ‘something new’. He merged poetic Romanticism with the sparse style of the Modernists and incorporated advertising slogans and slang: • Chapter 2 opens with the lyrical description of the “ash-grey men” who work with “transcendent effort”. This follows the Romantic tradition of idealised images of workmen. However Fitzgerald’s workmen are not farm labourers working the fields – rather than being close to nature, they are covered in urban grime. • Fitzgerald uses slang to describe T.J. Eckleburg as a “wild wag of an oculist” whose advertising looms over the valley. In a postwar world, the existence of God was in question. Fitzgerald uses Eckleburg’s image as a substitute god. To make this link explicit, even the substitute god has abandoned his people because Eckleburg “sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away”.
  7. 7. T.S. Eliot Fitzgerald admired the modernist poet T.S. Eliot – he called himself a “worshipper” of Eliot’s poetry. Eliot’s long poem, The Waste Land was published in 1922. The poem’s representation of a sterile landscape, where everyone is isolated and unable to love, voiced a common concern of the 1920s. Eliot’s ‘waste land’ may have inspired Fitzgerald’s idea of the desolate valley of ashes in The Great Gatsby. THE WASTE LAND •The people of Eliot‟s waste land “know only a heap of broken images”. THE GREAT GATSBY •Fitzgerald suggests that the powerful images of communications and advertising have replaced the „real‟ person or idea, e.g. Jordan looks like a “good illustration” and God is an advert. The valley of ashes is central to Fitzgerald’s vision of a desolate world, full of images but empty of meaning.
  8. 8. Unhappy Marriages Only three marriages are specifically mentioned in The Great Gatsby and none of them seem very happy. Buchanans •Myrtle’s description of how she met Tom suggests that he has had many affairs. She says “he know I’d lied” – this shows he’s confident and practiced in his seduction. •Catherine says Daisy refuses to divorce Tom because she’s “a Catholic”, but Nick knows she isn’t. This implies that Tom has lied to Myrtle to hide the fact that he doesn’t want to leave Daisy. •He refuses to allow Myrtle to even say Daisy’s name and breaks her nose when she starts shouting it. This suggests Tom has strong feelings of possessiveness towards Daisy. Wilsons •Myrtle resents and despises Wilson. When he’s mentioned, her response is “violent and obscene”. •She thinks he’s beneath her socially, and claims that “he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe”. •She won’t accept that it was her choice to marry him, saying she mistook him for a “gentleman”. Mckees •Mr McKee has photographed his wife “a hundred and twenty-seven times”, which could suggest that he’s obsessed with her as a visual object, rather than as an individual. •Their lack of communication reinforces this – he ignores Mrs McKee for most of the party, shushing her at one point and only acknowledging her by nodding “in a bored way”. All three marriages seem to be more about appearances than love.
  9. 9. Chapter 2 • Write a one sentence summary • Choose a single quotation to sum up the chapter • What can you say about chapter two and each of the aspects of narrative? – – – – – – Time and Sequence Characters and Characterisation Points of View Voices in texts Scenes and Places Destination
  10. 10. An eponymous character is the title character of the work e.g. Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. Chapter 3
  11. 11. Structure and Language in the Opening of Chapter 3 • How does Fitzgerald begin Chapter 3? What might be his purpose in beginning with something other than plot? • What do you notice about the language and style of the opening paragraphs? • Why might have Fitzgerald changed tenses in the fourth paragraph? What is the effect on the reader? • Why might there be an absence of first person in this section? • Why does the present tense section end in such a short sentence: “The party has begun”?
  12. 12. How is the story told in Chapter 3? Each group is responsible for feeding back one of the following sections of Chapter 3: • From ‘I believe that on that first night…’ to their arrival on the library ‘…complete from some ruin overseas.’ • The library ‘A stout, middle-aged man …’ to Miss Baker being summoned to see Gatsby ‘…Mr Gatsby would like to speak to you alone.’ • From Miss Baker being summoned to see Gatsby ‘…Mr Gatsby would like to speak to you alone.’ to the end of the chapter. You are looking for: • How the story is told (AO2) • The Aspects of Narrative
  13. 13. What’s in a name… Daisy - Think of daisies and you see a bright yellow centre, crisp white petals, and a tall green stem. I also bet you’re smiling; daisies just make us happy and are considered to be delicate and beautiful. They’re hardy and dependable and they have a lasting bloom, even in drought. But they also just have an ephemeral quality that draws people in and are easily recognised. While some plants that are called daisies are actually chrysanthemums, there’s a set of true daisies that all started from the wild original, called OxEye. OxEye is undoubtedly the vision of daisy in your mind, but in some states of America, OxEye is actually illegal to plant as it is considered a noxious weed. Daisies are popular and beautiful but have some darker traits under the surface, like being potentially invasive. They also last.
  14. 14. What’s in a name… Myrtle - While there are lots of plants called myrtle - crape myrtle, wax myrtle, sand myrtle -plants in the true Myrtle family are rarely planted by homeowners. Primarily native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean regions, myrtle is a tough, scrappy shrub. Most people could not recognise the myrtle plant. While it was popular in England in the 16th to 18th centuries, it fell out of favour due to an influx of new, hardier options being introduced from the Americas. (As a Mediterranean native, myrtle didn’t love England’s harsh winters. Myrtle is tough and scrappy. It survives in harsh native conditions but can struggle in new climates. Myrtle, who, in the book, lives in a place called “The Valley of Ashes,” and, after trying to make her way in a different world, doesn’t make it in the end.
  15. 15. What’s in a name… Jordan - The name Jordan is a non-gender specific name. Jordan is a woman who defies the image of the typical woman of the 1920s. An athlete who excels in golf and a woman who does more or less as she pleases, her characteristics lead her name to suit her beautifully. Her name is a play on the two then-popular automobile brands, the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle, alluding to Jordan's "fast" reputation and the freedom now presented to Americans, especially women, in the 1920s.
  16. 16. The GREAT Gatsby What is in a name … The Old World (Europe) had its great rulers: Alexander the Great, Peter the Great, Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great. In the United States, the epithet ‘the great’ was more likely to be attached to the name of some vaudeville magician or stage illusionist in a popular entertainment. Vaudeville: Stage entertainment offering a variety of short acts such as slapstick turns, song-and-dance routines, and juggling performances.
  17. 17. Jay Gatsby Jay Gatsby certainly defines himself according to European values, importing clothes and cars from England, living in a mansion based on a French model, and affecting the lifestyle of an Old World aristocrat. But his efforts do not convince; the traces of the boy from the American Midwest are evident through the veneer of sophistication, surfacing in moments of nervousness and uncertainty. He seems, then closer to the New World version of ‘greatness’- The Great Gatsby, surrounded by props and assistants, conjuring magical effects which are almost, but not quite, believable.
  18. 18. Nick It is Nick who makes Jay Gatsby into ‘The Great Gatsby’ and as we read we need to ask what kind of man this narrator is. Why is he so drawn to the man who was his neighbour? What does this attraction reveal about his own character? Why should a studious worker in New York’s financial sector decide to write a book about a man with shady underworld connections and unexplained wealth? What drives a solid Midwesterner, with apparently old-fashioned values, to write a lyrical account of a man tragically obsessed with a youthful love affair?
  19. 19. The City In the 1920s America was becoming an urban society, it’s life was increasingly city-based, and that also complicates the notion of ‘greatness’. Inhabitants of cities tend to become anonymous, to be drawn into the mass, and Fitzgerald shared a sense amongst writers of the time that America had become a culture of mass production and mass consumption. In the urban, industrialised, standardised world of the twentieth century, heroic literary figures became more and more scarce. The individual achieving distinction through combat or quest or adventurous deeds had been largely displaced by the anti-hero, the passive victim, carried along on the tide of events, without control over his or her destiny.
  20. 20. Independent Study • Write a one sentence summary for Chapters 2 and 3 • Choose a single quotation to sum up each chapter • What can you say about chapters 2 and 3 and each of the aspects of narrative? – – – – – – Time and Sequence Characters and Characterisation Points of View Voices in texts Scenes and Places Destination Next week it’s Chapters 4 and 5 so reread please.