Gatsby Workbook

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  • F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock."

    THE GREAT GATSBYApril 10th 1925

    The Great Gatsby is a novel by American

    author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The

    story takes place in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties

    6th Year DeValera Study Guide



    The first important feature of chapter one is our introduction to our narrator; Nick Carraway. We are given an interesting insight into his character when he relays his fathers philosophical advice: Whenever you feel like criticising anyone, just remember that all the people in this world havent had the advantages that you had. This tells us two things about Nick. One, that he had a comfortable upbringing and two, that he isnt judgmental. A further two mentions of the word snobbishly on this page suggest that Nick not only had a comfortable upbringing but that he is of a good family.

    Next we are introduced to our title character, Gatsby and Nick says Gatsby, who represented everything for which I had unaffected scorn. Nicks pedigree has taught him to disapprove of greed and obvious wealth and as we are to learn Gatsby makes an art of exactly this. The next insight we are given is into the attitude of the era. Nick describes his war days and then says I came back restless; this shows us the way that the young mean returned from the battlefield only to be unsatisfied with their ordinary lives. This explains the feeling of stiflement that swept through a whole young generation throughout

    Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;

    If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-

    bouncing lover,I must have you!"-Thomas Parke


    Sixth Year De Valera 2012J a y G a t s b yWEST EGG

    L o n g I s l a n d , N Y , N Y .T E L E P H O N E(123) 456-7890


    the 1920s. This is what gave rise to parties like Gatsbys and people like Gatsby.

    The next significant event is Nicks introduction to his new neighbours Tom, Daisy and their friend, Jordan. Tom is an old college peer of Nicks and these people are to make up Nicks social circle.

    As they sit down to dinner, Tom begins to talk about a book that he has read The Rise of the Coloured Empires. He believes that it is up to them, as the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things. This conversation highlights the attitude of the era. As Fascism began to rise in popularity in Europe in the inter war years, the idea of racial superiority is shared by some Americans.

    Over dinner, Nick begins to notice Jordan Baker romantically. This is a key moment as Jordan is to become his love interest. The last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face.

    It soon becomes apparent that underneath her happy exterior, Daisy is disillusioned and discontented with her life. We hear that Tom is cheating on her; he has some woman in New York. Daisy tells Nick that she has become cynical about everything. She tells him that she wept

    when her daughter was born and hoped that the girl would be a fool because thats the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.

    The final key moment in the first chapter is Nicks first sighting of Gatsby. A figure emerged from the shadow of my neighbours mansion. Nick notices that Gatsby is trembling as he looks across the dark water. The significance of this is to become clear as the story progresses.


    T h r o u g h F i t z g e r a l d s r i c h Characterisations, the setting and tone of the novel begin to develop, for example when Nick says No Gatsby turned out to be all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations We realise that Gatsby is not nearly as corrupt as the social climate that surrounds him.

    Apart from Nick who resists corruption and later describes himself as one of the few honest people I have ever known most of the characters are, in some way, polluted by the characteristic self-indulgent excesses of the roaring 20s.

    Gatsby believed in the green light,

    the orgastic future that year by year recedes

    before us. It eluded us then,

    but thats no matter

    tomorrow we will run faster, stretch

    out our arms farther. . . . And

    then one fine morning

    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.


    An example of this is the upper class, Yale educated, Tom Buchanan who comes east from Chicago is Supercilious and Arrogant. His opinions of a need for racial purity are as repulsive as his flamboyant masquerading of his affair. Daisy, his wife is more agreeable, particularly because she makes a mockery of his racist views. We should note that she appears in a White fluttering dress which conveys a sense of emptiness.

    At the same time, it seems as if America herself, like the characters in the novel bears the stain of this corruption and greed. This will eventually culminate in the stock market crash of 1929; leading to the Great Depression. Fitzgerald who published the Great Gatsby in 1925 is viewing this world as Nick does, he is inclined to reserve all judgements but only out of his sensibility that a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.

    So the Great Gatsby opens by establishing a strong moral vision of a world that seems to be unravelling from the stress of the excess that strains its integrity.


    Chapter two starts off with a description of the area. We are introduced to Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, his eyes are wide and gigantic, and aside from that he is faceless. This introduces us to the theme of facelessness; eyes without soul, face without expression.

    Tom brings Nick to meet his mistress; Tom is keen for Nick to meet her- to show her off. She is the garage owner's wife, Myrtle. She is ''faintly stout... carried her flesh sensuously''. Nick, it is clear, has some degree of distaste for Tom's mistress or rather Tom's flamboyancy of Myrtle. We

    see Tom acting superior in front of Wilson, Myrtle's husband, here we see that not everyone was prosperous despite the times. This brings us back to the quote in Chapter one that Nick's father instilled in Nick.

    N i c k , To m a n d Myrtle go to New York City, Myrtle requests Tom to buy her a puppy, an Airedale Terrier, and this shows the impulsiveness of the time. Then the three of them plus the new addition go to Myrtle's top floor apartment, they drink whiskey, it's still daytime- we see their blas attitude to drinking in the day; no work to do so they drink.

    Myrtle's sister, Catherine, arrives and we are introduced to her. It is evident that she is a flapper "solid, sticky bob of red hair... complexion powdered milky white... eyebrows plucked and drawn on again." Myrtle's neighbours arrive and Nick notices a change in her "personality had also undergone a change... her laughter, her gestures; her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment." Later on, Nick is talking to Catherine, she mentions that she attended one of Gatsby's infamous parties "they say he's a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilheim's, that's where all his money comes from." Gatsby's notoriety becomes known to Nick here. Nick and Catherine go on to talk some more, here we see the recklessness with money at the time "we had over $1,200 when we started but we got gyped out of it all." It becomes clear to us Myrtle's distaste

    He had 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 external world for an instant and

    then concentrated on you with an

    irresistible prejudice in your favor. It

    understood you just as far as you wanted

    to be understood, believed in you as you would like to

    believe in yourself.

    "What foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded

    elations of men."-NICK CARRAWAY


    for her husband "I thought he knew something about breeding but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe."

    We then hear a recounted tale of how Myrtle and Tom met, the contrast between courtship at this time and ten years previous is strong "his white shirt-front pressed against my arm and so I told him I had to call a policeman but I lied." Again the impulsiveness is clear when we hear of Myrtle's shopping list. Later on in the evening, Nick hears Myrtle and Tom arguing, she is shouting "Daisy, Daisy, Daisy", "making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with an open hand." Here, we see Nick and Mr. McKee's nonchalance in a man hitting a woman, a previous taboo.

    Chapter 2 AnalysisA major development in the

    theme of judgement and morality is the introduction of the billboard of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The sign, a faded advertisement for an eye doctor, looms over the dumping ground where Toms mistress lives. The connection between the geography of the dumping ground and toms affair signifies the consequences of a financially unrestrained lifestyle. Just as every wealthy city is bordered by a repository for its physical waste, in Gatsby, the city and her affluent suburbs have their own moral dumping ground. Just as the city exploits the neighbouring land for its waste the heartless aristocrat Tom

    exploits the working class circumstances