- Describe three key characters and explain how they change throughout the novel.
Nick at the start of the novel stated that he was unjudgeable and was looking into the life of gatsby and the high class that lived in west egg. As nick becomes immersed in gatsby’s life he begins to fade away from reality and becomes part of the upper class new money, forgetting that he doesn’t have a large amount of money he becomes a large part of gatsby’s life and eventually sets gatsby up with daisy nick’s second cousin once removed. Nick moves away from the non judgemental character that he was supposed to be as he becomes closer to gatsby. A quote of nick being judgemental would be when he says that tom has arrogant eyes.Nicks illusion:
Nicks illusion is that he is non judgemental as he states at the start of the book but it isn’t long before he starts to stray from the illusion of him being non judgemental as when he meets Tom Buchanan he comments on his arrogant eyes. Further through the book when nick is in the apartment with tom and myrtle he sees himself looking back in on himself and his party at the apartment. But as he becomes more aart of the new money life ehe becomes more distant from the non judgemental character that he is supposed to be.
Throughout the text Daisy changes. When Daisy reunites with Gatsby she loves Gatsby and his dreams of the two of them, getting well caught up in Gatsby’s dreams. However she soon realises that Gatsby’s dreams are just dreams – high up in the clouds and unreachable for Daisy, things cannot be how they were 5 years ago. Upon realising that Gatsby is going to pursue this impossibility no matter what and deny anything/anyone who says otherwise, Daisy changes her mind about Gatsby, retreating into the wealth and status of her husband, Tom Buchanan. When Daisy and Gatsby first met, Gatsby was alluded to believing that Daisy loves him and that she was going to wait for Gatsby to return from the war. Instead, Gatsby discovers that Daisy has married the extraordinarily wealthy Tom Buchanan. Five years later Daisy alludes Gatsby again, making him believe she loves him and is going to be with him only to then turning her back on him for Tom once again saying, “Please, Tom! I can’t stand this any more.” after Tom prods a few questions towards Gatsby that reveal some of the truth about Gatsby and his money. These two illusions are important as Daisy’s decision to be with the old wealth of Tom or the new wealth of Gatsby is the key basis of the story.
Daisy’s ‘love’ relationship with Gatsby is presented as being non existent when she denies Gatsby for Tom (on two occasions nonetheless). She claims to have loved both Gatsby and Tom however by choosing Tom of the two reveals the fact that she is possibly more loving of their wealth rather than the people as Tom’s wealth is the older, grander ‘east-egg’ kind of wealth.
Gatsby changes along the book as the more he chases after his dream Daisy the more we learn about him. At the start we don’t know much about Gatsby only that he wants Daisy and will go to great extremes to get her back. As the book goes on we find out that Gatsby got his money through illegal crimes just to get money so that Daisy will marry him. Gatsby left at the age of 17 so that he could reset his life this is how he manage to make up his life story that he suspiciously says many times. He also changed his name from Jimmy Gatz to Jay Gatsby so that he couldn’t be linked back to his parents that were farmers and didn’t have a lot of money. Gatsby also becomes more unstable as his dream Daisy this can be seen when he rages at Tom because he thought it would be easier to get Daisy now that he has money.
Gatsby covered his true self by making a story up about his past which seems dodgy. His true story and profession can be discovered through the story as each time he tells his story it sounds very memorized and he tries to get to the point when telling nick about his past. He claims that he went to oxford and was part of the army. We later realise that he got his money through illegal activity to try get daisy to love him as he didn’t have money at the start. His whole story slowly gets revealed. Some clues that revealed his story are the colour White, Green light and the colours yellow and gold.
- Create a map of the settings in the novel either digitally or on a piece of A3 paper. Next to each setting (there should be four in total) list at least two quotes from the novel that described that setting.
- Each of the settings in the novel comment on an aspect of The American Dream. Explain how each of the settings reveals a reality about The American Dream and how this message is reinforced by the characters that live in each setting.
Fitzgerald loves his symbolic references. Littered throughout the novel are many key objects that help us understand something more about an idea, character or place.
Create a “symbols chart” as outlined below.
|Symbol||3 quotes from the book that describe the symbol||3 moments when the symbol appears||Major characters that the symbol is connected to||What the symbol is representing||Important things the symbol reveals about ideas and characters|
|Water||his ideas were still in riot; there was ever the pain of memory; the regret for his lost youth-yet the waters of disillusion had left a deposit on his soul, responsibility and a love of life, the faint stirring of old ambitions and unrealized dreams..
After the house we were supposed to see the house,….-but outside Gatsby’s window it began to rain again.
‘It’s stopped raining’’Has it?’ When he realised what I was talking about, that there were twinkle bells of sunshine in the room, he smiled like a weatherman.
|When Nick invites daisy to tea it is raining.
When gatsby and daisy cant see the green light across the bay because of the mist.
When gatsby is shot by the pool and falls in.
|Daisy + Gatsby-as time has kept them apart for the last 5 years and water represents time. E.g. the distance across the bay is represents the how close and far apart they are.||Water represents time in the book and when and daisy and gatsby’s life without each other, the water in the bay represents the time gatsby and daisy spent apart. When gatsby and daisy are reunited it is raining and when the rain reality fades away and they dream of the time the could of had had together and when they realised that you can’t take back the 5 years it starts raining again as time catches up again.||The symbol reveals that|
|Eyes||and I said’ God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may
fool me, but you can’t fool God.” – Wilson
The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their irises are one yard high
Terrible place, isnt it said Tom, exchanging a frown with Doctor Eckleburg.
|Three moments that the symbol appears:
The symbol eyes appear 3 times the first time is when Tom and Nick are stop at the valley of
ashes to Introduce Nick to Myrtle the person Tom is having an Affair with.
The second time is when the eyes foreshadow that something is going to go wrong this is
not directly said but it implies Myrtles death is coming which happens as Wilson finds out
Myrtle is having an affair with Tom. Wilson shows Myrtle the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg from the
window from their house. And tells her that she Maybe able to fool me, but you can’t fool
God. Myrtle then runs out when she sees the yellow car thinking it will be Tom, but she gets
hit by the car and dies.
The eyes are also appeared while tom walked past the bill board and said “terrible place,
isn’t it,” this is a sign of a reality check because not all characters are very wealthy and it
shows the majority of how people where really living as the valley of ashes was what most
places were really like.
|Wilson, Nick||The symbol eyes are representing the eyes of god. This is because the eyes are referred to
as if they are the eyes of God as they witness everything and can foreshadow certain scene.
The eyes also represent a reality check as they show that not all people at that time lived
lives as the main characters in the book. The valley of ashes is a ran down place that is very
dusty which is very different to the eggs (west and East).
Gorge Wilson sees the eyes as the eyes of God as he believes that they can see everything
that happens that’s why he gets violent after he gets told that the eyes are just a billboard.
Wilson is also not religious as he has no church, so the eyes are the only God like influence
that he has.
Nick sees the eyes as discomforting which gives him a reality check as not all life is as good
as theirs. And while everybody is chasing the American dream the reality is that not
everybody is living the dreamed of or perfect life. The people that live in the valley of ashes
where the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg also seem to have lost their vitality as people see them as
not worth much more as a nobody than a person as. On the other hand the wealthy keep on
indulging in luxuries.
|The Colour White||“Their house was even more elaborate than i expected, a cheerful red & White Georgian colonial mansion, overlooking the bay.”
“She was dressed in White and had a little white roadster.”
“Taking a White card from his wallet he waved it before the man’s eyes.”
|When nick was describing tom’s house house.||Daisy and Gatsby
Daisy; she used to be pure and not worried about money when she was in love with gatsby at the start but then she married tom for the money which made her corrupt.
Gatsby; He supposedly did the commissioner a favour once and now gets a christmas card. This makes Gatsby above the law as this card got him out of a speeding ticket. The fact that he has the card shows that he is doing something suspicious or illegal.
|The colour white represents purity as well as corruption. This forms an illusion as the readers associate white with being pure which it seems like from the outside. The more you learn about the characters the more you see how they started of pure but let corruptness get to them so that they have more money, or care about money more.|
|Yellow and Gold||“The only building in site was a small block of yellow brick (George Wilson’s Car Dealership), sitting on the edge of a wasteland…”
“A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume…”
“His bedroom was the simplest room of all – except where the dresser was garnished with a toilet seat of pure dull gold.”
|Gatsby’s first party was very gold and yellow.
Tom’s yellow car that Daisy was driving and hit Myrtle.
TJ Eckleburg’s yellow spectacles that look over the wasteland of the Valley of Ashes
Daisy’s the golden girl
|Yellow is the color of gold, which symbolizes money, materialism and high social class. It represents wealth and noble identity which gatsby had built for daisy. Then in order to win Daisy back, Gatsby chooses the yellow color to decorate himself and his house to show that he has been one member of the rich type that daisy thought gatsby was.|
|The Green Light||“You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.”
“Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”
“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”
|When Gatsby is gazing at it across the dock in chapter 1.
When Gatsby and Daisy reunite and the mist briefly clears.
In Chapter 9, when Gatsby compares the green light to what America must have looked like to early settlers.
|Gatsby and Daisy.||Gatsby’s dream future of Daisy and Gatsby together; how it had been previously without time’s interference.
That is how Gatsby perceives the green light.
|It shows how Gatsby is optimistic and hopeful, believing that he is so great that he can undo time. Also it reveals that Gatsby believes Daisy loves and wishes for him as much as he does for her (which in reality is not 100% true).
It also shows how willing Gatsby is to hold onto and believe in something that doesn’t exist as well as revealing Gatsby’s false and illusion of a life.
Fitzgerald has a very poetic way of presenting language. He uses the same devices consistently throughout his writing.
“Yes I went there.” A pause. Then Tom’s voice, incredulous and insulting: “You must have gone there about the time Biloxi went to New Haven.” Another pause. A waiter knocked and came in with crushed mint andice but, the silence was unbroken by his “thank you.” and the soft closing of the door. This tremendous detail was to be cleared up at last.
Fitzgerald “accurately shows life and its problems” and he like to address the “moral dilemmas in the society”. One way that he does this is through the ideas (or themes) that he presents in his work. We have talked about the idea of “illusion” and that all of the characters and places in The Great Gatsby are hiding something from the outside world. Fitzgerald comments on people’s need to present a persona to the world, rather than risk revealing and being rejected because of their true self. He also presents the following ideas in The Great Gatsby:
- The inevitability of time
- The myth of the American Dream
The American Dream:
- “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.” – In the Valley of Ashes the myth of the American Dream is revealed as it is a very poor area near two massively wealthy areas (East and West Eggs). This displays the falseness and illusion of the ‘American Dream’, where all are meant to have equal opportunity and the same access to being able to complete aspirations and goals. These polar opposites are reinforced by the characters such as Wilson, who work hard for little reward and who’s wife can be walked in and taken by someone such as Tom who has never had to accomplish much to get to where he currently is.
- The differentiation between East and West Egg where East Egg is built on old money and West Egg is built on new; West is considered the “least fashionable of the two” as well as of course Daisy choosing Tom (the new money of the East) over ‘Gatsby’ (the new money of the West), who is really at heart, the poor James Gatz. This shows us that the American dream cannot work out as old money is better than new money and therefor American people cannot have equal opportunity because even if they earn a lot of money, those with old money shall always be better off.
- The old money, new money can also be contrasted with the ‘yellow’ and ‘gold’ symbolism as shown in the symbols section. The difference between the two in relation to the American Dream is that the new money does not provide the same as the old money.
The inevitability of time:
- Time has to happen and this is shown by Gatsby’s failed attempt at getting back to being with Daisy after 5 years of separation. Now Gatsby is of a complete different wealth, Daisy married to another man and all of the other things that can possibly happen over 5 years. Too much water has since passed under the bridge (an ironic idiom), to return to that place where the two were 5 years ago and Gatsby very much fails to understand this even saying “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” to