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The Great Gatsby - Notes

The Great Gatsby - Notes

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Published by Megan Mulder
A list of cool things, compiled for revision for Paper II. Some links are made to Heart of Darkness and Metamorphosis.
A list of cool things, compiled for revision for Paper II. Some links are made to Heart of Darkness and Metamorphosis.

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Published by: Megan Mulder on May 08, 2011
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04/21/2013

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Megan Mulder  Notes for THE GREAT GATSBY
This isn¶t an exhaustive list, because I think you guys should probably be doing that on your own. This is just cool  stuff. Because I am a big fan of cool stuff. Also, I kind of started doing a slack job halfway through, when i realized that this is the same number of words asmy extended essay.
 Themes:Jeffrey Meyers, from the intro (xxvi)³the frontier myth of the self-made man; the attempt to escape the materialistic present and recapture the innocent past; the predatory power of rich and beautiful women; the limited possibilities of love in the modern world; theheightened sensitivity to the promises of life; the doomed attempt to sustain illusions and to recapture theAmerican dream´*all of these are true, but i find the most powerful theme is the one not expressed in that quote: the tension between idealistic hope and realistic cynicism, and what that does to a person. Gatsby, the idealist, lost hisidentity and ended up dead. Nick, the one in the middle, returned to the west, remained a snob, and didn¶t loseanything because he didn¶t venture anything. I see Daisy as the cynic, the one who is willing to use other  people for her own pleasure, but who knows from the beginning that she will never leave tom. I don¶t think tom ever abuses daisy, she¶s not afraid of him, and i don¶t think he would have gotten any pleasure from it.Instead, tom abuses daisy by cheating on her, and daisy shows her realism by getting him back (cheating onhim with Gatsby). Ultimately, no one wins.Cool Stuff Awesome QuotesWhy James Gatz changed into Jay Gatsby ± tidilyexpressed in four lines of poetry.
Contrast to HoD
: Gatsby became a different person (or,arguably, played a persona) to win Daisy. There was adisconnect and the relationship didn¶t work, becauseGatsby was lying to himself, and Daisy was lying toGatsby. In HoD, Kurtz ³lied´ by omission/absence, takingan African mistress, while his Intended lied to herself to prolong the ³relationship´.
Link to Kafka:
The same disconnect exists betweenGregor and his family (not becoming a different person towin them over, but keeping his true self hidden). Also, inthe novel there are indications that he doesn¶t truly realizehimself as a vermin, still trying to be human for Part I,trying to go to work, etc. (disconnect even within himself) Nick is fleeing a messy engagement breaking in the East.As such, he wants everything to be solid, at ³moralattention´ (3). So he should hate G, but he doesn¶t. Why?He had an ³extraordinary gift for hope, a romanticreadiness such as I have never found in another person´(4). G may be flamboyant and full of himself, but hedoesn¶t use it in the ³wan, charming, discontented´ (10)way that Daisy/Tom/everyone else do, to hurt others.Instead, he is the only true idealist Nick has ever met.Epigraph:
Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,Till she cry µLover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!¶ 
Thomas Parke d¶Invilliers³Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have anunaffected scorn.´ (4)
 
 Nick, being a cynic, is obviously drawn to the one thing hecannot be.
Contrast with HoD:
Daisy vs the Intended. The Intendedfools herself into believing Kurtz was a good man. Daisy,on the other hand, knows that Tom is not a good man, andshe uses Gatsby. Though they inhabit opposite ends of thespectrum, neither of them are admirable.
Similarities with HoD:
From the Introduction to the Great Gatsby, by JeffreyMeyers³Conrad¶s influence can be seen in Fitzgerald¶s evocativesymbolism (the green light at the end of Daisy¶s dock)´Green is goGood word:
evocative
. It¶s gross, but it¶s almost as if G isembracing that light, making love to it, in a way, because itis the only comfort and reminder of Daisy while he waitsfor her to show up at one of his partiesGreen is the future: green is permission to live into thefuture, to take the first step out of the past.Things to consider:Obviously, eyes of god. Duh. But why is God so non- present, then? He watches everything, but he doesn¶tinterfere.Double vision ± why double? There¶s a reason we havetwo eyes ± the two perspectives balance each other out, sowe see what is really there, and not what we want to beGOOD QUOTES FOR DESCRIBING DAISY³Do they miss me?´ she cried ecstatically. (9)³I¶m glad it¶s a girl. And I hope she¶ll be a fool ± that¶s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful littlefool.´ (15)³Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather likeTom¶s and she laughed with thrilling scorn. µSophisticated ± God, I¶m sophisticated!¶´(15)³She doesn¶t drink. It¶s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people. [...] Perhaps Daisy never went in for amour at all ± and yet there¶s something in thatvoice of hers.´ (58)SYMBOLISM of GREEN LIGHT³he stretched out his arms toward the dark water [...] Iglanced seaward ± and distinguished nothing except asingle green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock´ (17)³Gatsby believed in the green light the orgiastic future thatyear by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that¶sno matter ± tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... and one fine morning ± ´ (134)SYMBOLISM of DR. T. J. ECKLEBURG³the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic ± their retinas are one yard high.´ (18)³the road under Doctor Eckleburg¶s persistent stare.´ (19)
 
there. But the people in the novel display a fabulous abilityto see what they want to see (eg: all the rumours that areoffered at parties as explanations for Gatsby¶s identity),except for Nick. Nick sees everything, notes everything,and then makes a decision, even if he keeps it to himself.In fact, nick is the only person who, at the end of thenovel, seems to know the whole story of what happened. NB: nobody really actually knows what happened, it¶sshrouded in ambiguity. From intro ³Fitzgerald isdeliberately unclear about whether Tom really thoughtDaisy was driving, whether Daisy lied to tom and told himGatsby was driving or whether Tom knew Daisy wasdriving and tried to protect her by blaming Gatsby.´ (xxvi)Daisies are flowers, light, faintly fragrant, delicate. Theyflower for a week and then die.Myrtles are trees. They are large, growing 5 metres tall.They produce many flowers, an essential oil, and berries.If significance is decided by how many glasses of alcoholone has drunk, what is significance? This is a cool ideathat runs through the novel, because everything that should be real, isn¶t. ³charming´ doesn¶t meaning charminganymore ± nick uses it to describe the disaffection in daisyand jordan¶s ³impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire´(11). And what is laughter, if the laughter is ³vacuous´?(37) what is marriage is everyone is cheating on eachother? And finally, what is the American dream if it is built on bootlegging, and if the person who most believesin it has turned himself into a ³gold-hatted, high-bouncinglover´? if everything is profound, nothing is.The lure of Gatsby is that he shows us ourselves.COOL STUFF! Daisy < ------ > Myrtle³I was enjoying myself now. I had taken two finger-bowlsof champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyesinto something significant, elemental, and profound.´ (36)The LURE OF GATSBY³[His smile] understood you just as far as you wanted to beunderstood, believed in you as you would like to believe inyourself, and assured you that it had precisely theimpression of you that, at you best, you hoped to convey.´(36)

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