The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Author Background • Francis Scott Fitzgerald born September 24, 1896 • Member of the Princeton Class of 1917 • Joined the Army-stationed in Montgomery Alabama where he met Zelda Sayre • Refused to marry him until he could publish This Side of Paradise • Published 3/26/1920, week later the couple married • Part of the literary party scene with Ernest Hemmingway playwright Gertrude Stein Author Background Cont. • Known as an alcoholic , led to slow writing speed • Critics called him an “irresponsible writer.” • Main themes focused on aspirations and the American Dream and domesticity • Great Gatsby put him on the literary map • Wrote it in France- Zelda had affair • 1930-1931-Zelda began dancing led to her mental breakdowns • Save Me The Last Waltz- Tender is the Night is a response to this • Died 12-21-1940-believing himself a failure • Zelda died 1948 in an asylum fire • Revival of his works in 1950-1960’s Context • • • • Published in 1925 Prohibition became law in 1920 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote Modeled Gatsby, and the Buchanan's after his wife’s lover and the relationship between himself and his life. • Triggered ideals of disillusionment after soldiers returned from the war as they dealt with PTSD and brought the party scene of Europe to America • coined the term Jazz Age, which denoted an era of ragtime, jazz, stylish automobiles, and “uninhibited young women with bobbed hair and short skirts” • " Fitzgerald wrote, "It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire." Setting f • • • • • East and West Egg, Long Island New York West Egg-poorer side (Nick Caraway) East Egg-Beverly Hills of Long Island (Buchannan's, Gatsby) Symbolizes the grandeur and dichotomy of the American Dream Novel also travels to Gatsby’s time in the war and arrival in New York Plot Summary: Eggs Cracked • Nick Carraway, a recent Yale graduate returns home to West Egg to start a career • Neighbors to the mysterious Jay Gatsby • Invited to the home of his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan on East Egg. • Meets Jordan Baker, the golf pro who Daisy wants him to date • Nick notices that Daisy is unhappy in her marriage, desperate to escape domesticity • Tom gets a call from a mysterious woman, his mistress Myrtle Wilson Plot Synopsis: Dichotomy of Domesticity • Tom takes Nick to Queens to meet Myrtle • The relationship is permitted by Tom and Myrtle’s friends because both were “vastly unhappy in their marriages.” • Myrtle mocks Daisy and Tom beats her to Nick’s horror • Weeks later, Nick and Jordan attend a Gatsby party, shocked that few of the guests actually know him and gossip that he is an Anti-Semite, and a murderer. • Nick meets Gatsby who asks him to lunch the next day Plot Synopsis: The “Great” Gatsby At lunch with Gatsby and Jordan the next day, Nick learns that Gats attended Oxford University and that his family is “all dead now.” Meets Meyor Wolfsham, who with Gatsby’s help, fixed the world series in 1919. On the car ride back to West Egg, Nick notices that Gatsby’s hand is shaking and that his “whole statement had fallen to pieces.” Gatsby reveals that Daisy Buchannan was the only woman he had ever loved and that they had a relationship five years prior to when he joined the war. Plot Synopsis: “Red Light, Green Light” • Gatsby built his house to be closer to Daisy and to watch her from afar • The Green light at the end of the dock symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes that they will one day still be able to be together • Daisy and Gatsby reunite and their relationship begins once again • Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s parties and Daisy becomes overwhelmed with emotion • The party moves to the Buchannan’s house but Daisy declares that they should move to a hotel to escape the heat. • Much to Tom’s dismay, Daisy rides in Gatsby’s yellow car with him, while Tom is forced to drive Nick and Jordan. • On the way into town, Tom meets with Tom Wilson who has locked Myrtle in the house because of her continued affair. Plot Summary: Summer Heat and Heated Tempers • The party moves to the Plaza Hotel where Tom confronts Daisy about her relationship with Gatsby. • Gatsby brings Daisy to an ultimatum: she must choose to be with Tom or himself. • Daisy is unable to make a decision and runs away with Gatsby. • Furious, on the way home, Daisy seizes control of the car from Gatsby and hits Myrtle Wilson who instantly dies. • Back at the Buchanan’s home, Tom and Daisy flee Long Island unable to face responsibility for their actions Plot Summary: The Great Gatsby’s Last Illusion • Determined to avenge his wife’s death, George Wilson sneaks into Gatsby’s backyard and murders both himself and Gatsby. • Nick (now separated from Jordan) notifies Gatsby’s father of his son’s death. • Gatsby refused to meet with father because he wanted to get rid of his past. • Few present at the funeral (Owl Eyes) • Nick reflects upon his experiences with Gatsby and realizes albeit loathingly, the truth of his character. Character Analysis: Nick Carraway • • • • • • 29-30 Yale Grad Cousins with Daisy and Tom Narrator of the story Comes of age (loss of innocence) Moral compass of the novel Conflicted both about Daisy and Gatsby and Tom and Myrtle • Unable to decide whether or not Gatsby is to be trusted • Gatsby creates him as a father figure to replace his own. • Relationship with Jordan Baker harmed by her supremely feminist ways. Character Analysis: Jay Gatsby • Originally known as James Gatz • From North Dakota • Taken in by Dan Cody, a wealthy tycoon from whom Gatsby inherited his wealth • Fell in love with Daisy Buchannan shortly before leaving to fight in WWI • Moved to West Egg in order to see her across the bay • Relentlessly lives in the past and ultimately gives up his life for Daisy hoping that she will love him again. • Don Draper esque Character Analysis: Daisy Buchannan • Femme fatal • Yearns to be an independent woman, suitable for her intelligence but is stuck in her domestic life. • “I’m glad it’s a girl, and I hope she’ll be a fool– that’s the best that a a girl can be in this world– a beautiful fool.” (17). • Ironically, she decides to stay with Tom after the vehicular homicide of Myrtle Wilson. • Reader asks whether or not she truly loves Gatsby or if she is playing him to get what she ultimately wants (The death of Myrtle Wilson). Character Analysis: Tom Buchanan • Devoted husband of Daisy Buchannan • Has an open affair with Myrtle Wilson • Breaks Myrtle’s nose when she mention’s Daisy’s name • Conniving, quick to anger • Quick to leave Nick and Gatsby when the going gets tough • Isolates himself from Daisy when he finds out about her affair • Symbolizes the double standard between male and female adultery. Character Analysis: Jordan Baker • Golf pro • Independent, stands up to men • Career tanked after she was caught in a cheating scandal (possibly result of living in male dominated society). • Nick’s love interest throughout the novel • Finally breaks up with Nick after he is unable to rise above his morality to help Daisy and Tom in their predicament. • Partially the reason Nick “hates” Gatsby Character Analysis: Myrtle Wilson • Pleasantly plump mistress of Tom Buchannan • Symbol for the blunt of domesticity’s rage • Beaten by both her husband and lover • Death at the hands of Daisy Buchanan symbolizes the inescapability of domesticity. Minor Characters • George Wilson-the husband of Myrtle Wilson. He ultimately kills Gatsby, blaming him for his wife’s death • Meyer Wolfsheim- Gatsby’s friend who famously rigged the 1919 world series. He causes Nick’s first uncertainties about Gatsby • Catherine-Myrtle’s sister who accepts Tom and Myrtle’s affair later condemns Tom after her sister’s death • Owl Eyes- a drunken partygoer who attends Gatsby’s funeral • Dan Cody- Gatsby’s provider • Henry C. Gatz-Gatsby’s estranged father • Dr. T. J. Eckleburg- a pair of eyes on a billboard seen throughout Long Island • Pammy Buchannan-Daisy and Tom’s daughter Themes and Motifs • Eyes • Domesticity is impossible to escape even with independence • The American Dream can be found, but at a price • The unfulfilled dream of the past can ruin the present but may provide insight towards the future • Glamour in the Prohibition Era • PTSD and the Aftermath of war • Omnipresence of Society Rhetorical and Literary Devices • Polysydeton-“They knew that presently dinner would be over, and soon the evening would be over and all would be put away.” (12). • Also used to emphasize the grandeur of Gatsby’s parties (40). • Symbolism • Dr. T. J. Eckleburg-symbol for God’s omnipotence. • Imagery-used to heighten the plight of domesticity • “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon.” (8). Passage Analysis “ And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter– tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning---So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (180). In his novel, The Great Gatsby, how does Fitzgerald use imagery and other rhetorical devices to provide a concluding ending on a thematic symbolic and psychological level?