Aditya Rao Mrs.

Gaetjens IB English SL, Block 4 March 28, 2012 The Great Gatsby Chapter I, Question 10: What is the effect of the following description from Chapter One: The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. The effect of Fitzgerald‘s description is to immerse the reader in the story and to set the tone of the passage. Rather than simply stating the existence of the room, Fitzgerald uses descriptive diction (―frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling‖, ―wine-colored rug‖) and evocative imagery (―like pale flags‖, ―gleaming white against the fresh grass‖) to give the reader the experience of actually being in the room. Furthermore, he mixes the natural and artificial, conjuring up images of grass that ―seemed to grow a little way into the house‖ and of a breeze that ―blew through the room.‖ In addition, the passage acquires a lighthearted tone through the use of words like ―fresh‖ and ―rippled.‖ The flowing sentence structure also contributes to this tone. Chapter II, Question 8: What is the significance of her statement, “You can’t live forever; you can’t live forever”? Myrtle and Tom meet for the first time on the train to New York. Both are instantly attracted to one another. When Tom makes an advance towards her, Myrtle says that she ought to call a policeman but thinks ―You can‘t live forever; you can‘t live forever.‖ Myrtle is telling

which eventually results in Gatsby‘s death. She has been stuck for twelve years in a loveless marriage with an unsuccessful husband and she isn‘t getting any younger. Question 8: What is your reaction to Nick’s comment. Female deception. which we can glean from Nick‘s reactions to the lies of both Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. contributing to the view that women are weaker and more immoral than men. is considered tolerable. this is reflective of the morals and sexual biases of the 1920s. He is willing for the truth to remain concealed. There is a sense of mutual exploitation in their relationship. Tom is obviously interested in her and he seems quite rich (―…he had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes…‖). She sees in him an escape from her mundane and boring life. The implication of these social paradigms is that dishonesty is a natural female failing. “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply”? The quote implies that dishonesty can be condoned more freely in cases where a woman is concerned. on the other hand. Chapter III. Nick never confronts Daisy.herself that she must seize the opportunity that has presented itself before her. the time period during which the novel is set. Tom uses Myrtle for sexual pleasure while Myrtle gets money and pretty things in return. nor does he tell Tom or go to the police with this information. Male integrity is a major component of the decorum of the time. . Nick‘s tolerance of Jordan‘s dishonesty also foreshadows his acceptance of Daisy‘s future deception in allowing Gatsby to assume the blame for Myrtle‘s death. she may never meet anyone like Tom ever again.

George and Myrtle. By juxtaposing the valley of ashes with Mrs. were one such couple who called that wasteland their home. Question 5: What is the effect of juxtaposing the valley of ashes with Mrs. mainly ashes produced by coal-fired burners of the manufacturing plants in New York City. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track. with a transcendent effort. the valley had the opposite effect on Myrtle. . and behavior all blended with the ashes amidst which he lived – he had lost all vitality for life. where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and. The more impoverished denizens of the city lived in ramshackle housing in the valley of ashes – the Wilsons. which screens their obscure operations from your sight. It is described by Nick in Chapter 2 as ―a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens. and immediately the ashgray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud. of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Fitzgerald suggests that Myrtle Wilson‘s spark could never be extinguished. However.Chapter IV. gives out a ghastly creak. Wilson‘s ―panting vitality‖. George‘s features.‖ Every word of Nick‘s description lets the reader know what an ugly. In reality. she had not lost her love of the extravagant and her zest for life. Wilson “with panting vitality” at the garage pump? The valley of ashes was a narrow strip of land through which a traveler had to pass if he or she were going between New York City and the resort villages of East Egg and West Egg on the north shore of Long Island. demeanor. it served as a dumping ground for industrial waste. and comes to rest. In spite of being married to George for twelve years and living in poverty. finally. however bleak her circumstances may have been. god-forsaken place the valley of ashes was.

with an aura of wealth . While serving as a young military officer stationed in Louisville. admired the gardens. she is astounded to discover that he has amassed a fortune. Gatsby makes it a point to highlight the luxury of his new circumstances. charming. Question 5: Why does Daisy begin to cry and say “They’re such beautiful shirts…It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts before”? Even though Daisy loved Gatsby. he despised his place in society and longed for the opportunity to break bread with the wealthy and sophisticated. where he proceeds to show her his personal possessions. Daisy realizes that Gatsby is finally in a position to support the exorbitant lifestyle she covets. she married Tom Buchanan instead because she knew that Gatsby could not provide the extravagant life that she was accustomed to. What “Platonic conception” does Gatsby have of himself? Gatsby was born into a very poor family in rural North Dakota. from Plato’s conception of reality. WHiel taking Daisy on a tour of his mansion. He felt that he was destined for great things in life. He always had a plan to escape his circumstances and make a name for himself. and graceful. Even as a child. She was beautiful.Chapter V. Question 2: “Platonic” means ideal. Overwhelmed by all the wealth and extravagance she has seen so far. When Daisy sees Gatsby again. Chapter VI. the sparkling odor of jonquils and the frothy odor of hawthorn and plum blossoms and the pale gold odor of kiss-me-at-the-gate.” Gatsby finally takes Daisy to his apartment inside the mansion. Gatsby encounters the girl of his dreams. ―With enchanting murmurs Daisy admired this aspect or that of the feudal silhouette against the sky. The irony of her situation makes her weep. she is already a married woman. five years later. Daisy. including the custom silk shirts that are tailored specifically for him in London. Unfortunately.

But underneath it all. Even though he had no money. and to this conception he was faithful to the end‖ – a debonair. Gatsby found that Daisy was married to Tom Buchanan. As a matter of fact. charming. Gatsby pledged to dedicate his whole life to amassing enough riches to make himself worthy of Daisy. he made himself out to be an aristocrat. or social connections.surrounding her. education. enormously wealthy. At that moment. . we slowly come to realize that Gatsby really doesn‘t care about his wealth or social status. ―So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent. he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself — that he was fully able to take care of her. even resorting to illegal activities in order to accomplish his goal. he had no such facilities — he had no comfortable family standing behind him. war hero with a mysterious past and more acquaintances than one can count. As readers.‖ When he returned home after the war. Everything that he does is motivated by a much nobler pursuit – love. he is still an innocent young man hopelessly in love with Daisy. and he was liable at the whim of an impersonal government to be blown anywhere about the world. whose tenacity and determination are unflagging till the very end. Gatsby was so smitten by Daisy that he lied to her about his background. Gatsby creates an illusory persona and does everything possible to propagate that illusion. ―…but he had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security.

instead. this scene has tremendous significance. They look out of no face. from the dissolving night”? We are first introduced to Dr. from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. quiet. Gatsby‘s love for Daisy is no match.” The ―gigantic eyes‖ produce an air of authority while the lack of a face suggests an aura of mystery.Chapter VII. domestic moment. brood on over the solemn dumping ground. or forgot them and moved away. Chapter VIII. As Nick himself points out. the description seems to imply an omniscient . pale and enormous. Question 9: What is the significance of Doctor Eckleburg’s eyes “which had just emerged. These eyes have weathered the sun and rain for many years and yet are only slightly dimmed by the passage of time. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens.‖ Although it seems to be merely a simple. but. J. Question 18: What is the tone of the scene where Daisy and Tom are at the kitchen table? The scene where Daisy and Tom are at the kitchen table sharing cold fried chicken and ale is characterized by a tone of intimacy. ―They weren‘t happy. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their irises are one yard high. they value their marriage only for the conveniences it provides to both of them. under sun and rain. and then sank down himself into eternal blindness. dimmed a little by many paintless days. Eckleburg‘s eyes through Nick‘s description of them in Chapter 2: ―The eyes of Doctor T. Holistically. and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale – and yet they weren‘t unhappy either. In the face of such intensely pragmatic reckoning. Neither Tom nor Daisy is incredibly torn up over the infidelity of their spouse. But his eyes. Neither one wants to deal with the trouble and repercussions that would follow if Daisy were to leave Tom.

just out of reach of his hand. denying his parents‘ existence. borne back ceaselessly into the past”? Life is a struggle – as we try to achieve our dreams and looking down on man‘s dishonesty.‘‖ Gatsby‘s reinvents himself by changing his name.‘ ‗Can‘t repeat the past?‘ he cried incredulously. George Wilson is the only character in the novel who explicitly refers to Dr. amassing a large fortune (mainly through illegal activities). ―‗I wouldn‘t ask too much of her. Question 18: What is the significance of the last line of the novel: “So we beat on. You may fool me. ‗You can‘t repeat the past. Mr. ‗I‘m going to fix everything just the way it was before. Unfortunately. after a long silence. Eckleburg‘s eyes as the eyes of God. greed. to his idealized memories of the time they spent together.‘— with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it—‗ and I said ‗God knows what you‘ve been doing. ―‗I spoke to her. this was a futile exercise. ‗She‘ll see. ‗Why of course you can!‘ He looked around him wildly. I took her to the window. and exaggerating certain aspects of . but you can‘t fool God!‘‖ By referencing the eyes of Doctor Eckleburg. nodding determinedly. boats against the current. However.‘ he muttered. we are always fighting to move our lives forward. nostalgia constantly forces us back into it. as one can never really recreate the past exactly as it was before. ‗I told her she might fool me but she couldn‘t fool God. and corruption – adjectives which accurately characterize America‘s moral decline in the 1920s. everything you‘ve been doing. Chapter IX.‘ he said. as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house. Wilson is professing his knowledge of Myrtle‘s adulterous affairs and his confidence that judgment will be passed on her actions.‘ I ventured. Gatsby wanted to draw Daisy back to the time before the war.

No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart. 270). and do you agree or disagree with this statement. clothes. It had gone beyond her. adding to it all the time. He believes that his material possessions – money. I don‘t think he had ever really believed in its existence before. but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. house – will impress Daisy. Why does Fitzgerald leave this out.his life. He is so driven by this that he ends up objectifying Daisy herself to some extent. Because the story is told completely from the point of view of Nick Carraway. Post-Reading. As Nick recounts during Gatsby‘s and Daisy‘s first meeting after almost five years. Everything that he does is aimed towards winning Daisy back.” (from The Crack-up. He feels like he has successfully changed his past. Question 3: Fitzgerald wrote to his editor. The only hint that we are given is Nick‘s observations .‖ Sometime later. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion. p. beyond everything. he is unable to reconcile her presence with his image of Daisy. I agree that Fitzgerald did refrain from providing much description of the time that Gatsby and Daisy spent together after their reunion. ―Afterward he kept looking at the child with surprise. such as his war record and his college education. ―There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault. “The worst fault in [the novel] is a BIG FAULT: I gave no account (and had not feeling about or knowledge of) the emotional relations between Gatsby and Daisy from the time of their reunion to the catastrophe. we are never given the chance to scrutinize the way Daisy and Gatsby acted when they were alone.” As the tragic end of the novel illustrates. Gatsby was never able to return to the past. and thus changing his past with Daisy seems like an achievable venture. decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. when Gatsby sees Daisy‘s daughter.

. This foreshadows Daisy‘s eventual abandonment of Gatsby. In addition.after the reunion between the two. a retelling from a passive character‘s points of view.e. For one thing. in which the reader is only given the information that said character is privy to. the lack of description provided for the meetings between Daisy and Gatsby ascribes a somewhat superficial character to their relationship. I do not feel like this is a fault. This peculiar style is part of what draws the reader in. it maintains the style of the novel – i. However.

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