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)