The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
Chapters 6-9
The Roaring Twenties Game
Chapter 6: Summary
Jay Gatsby-the Prince of Enchantmentindeed "sprang from his Platonic
conception of himself."
 Nick tells the reader the “truth” about
Gatsby, who is really James Gatz from
a North Dakota farm.
 He attended St. Olaf college for two
weeks, but dropped out because he did
not like the humiliation of working as a
Dan Cody
While working on Lake Superior, he sees a
yacht and after rowing out to it to warn the
owner of a storm, he meets Mr. Cody and
ends up working for this very wealthy
copper mogul.
But Gatsby is, in some basic way, made of
“finer stuff” than his "mentor"; a romanticist
even as a youth, he remains apart from
the worst dissipation, and indeed had at
this time acquired a dislike for liquor which
was to last all his life.
Gatsby and Daisy
Gatsby himself, furthermore has a difficulty in "loving Daisy
as just a woman.” So completely has she been for him a
“Holy Cause” that to accept her for a woman with a real
life and a real past--a past complete with a husband and
a child—seems no longer possible. In a basic sense,
Gatsby has not only idealized reality, but has replaced
reality with the “Ideal.”
Gatsby, at any rate, does not "want" Daisy as she exists;
he wants his Golden Girl, his Golden Dream of five years
before. That this Dream has actually lived with another
man for five years, and - even more intolerable - had
actually borne a child by him - has no part in his vision.
His romanticism has blinded him to reality that this
“ideal” doesn’t exist. . . .but can he recapture the past?.
Theme of Social Class Extended
Fitzgerald continues to explore the theme of
social class by illustrating the contempt with
which the aristocratic East Eggers—Tom
and the Sloanes—regard Gatsby. Even
though Gatsby seems to have as much
money as they do, he lacks their sense of
social nuance and aristocratic grace. As a
result, they mock and despise him for being
“new money.” As the division between East
Egg and West Egg shows, even among the
very rich there are class distinctions.
Read the final two pages of chapter 6,
which captures Gatsby’s sense of the
romantic ideal. . . .
In many ways I wonder if young Christians
maintain a type of “spiritual ideal” when it
comes to dating and marriage. . . And in the
end, this “idealism” may be detrimental to
relationships, and even our own spiritual
Donald Miller page 205
Note John Green’s interpretation. . .
Chapter 7
For Daisy's relationship to her child is hardly that
of a mother to a daughter; the role of Pammy in
Daisy's life is all too obviously that of a "darling"
little toy - a toy to be "played with" and removed
by the hired help when its presence is no longer
 Daisy's emotions, of course, are completely
superficial; indeed, her very praise of Gatsby
(that he looks like a man in an advertisement!)
defines the nature of her "emotion" - or rather,
her infatuation with the entire gesture of "having"
a love-affair. This so-called “love” is merely
another “toy,” for Daisy is apparently incapable of
deep human commitment or intimacy.
The Plaza Hotel
Gatsby and Wilson
Where Wilson is deeply hurt, however, almost physically ill
because of his wife's betrayal, Tom Buchanan is merely
angry, furious, like an overgrown infant deprived of "his"
property. This is a vital difference between the two men, and
is a basic reason why Tom will ultimately survive.
Wilson's "weakness" is precisely the fact that he loves
his wife too deeply; for Tom Buchanan, on the other hand,
"love" is itself a matter of ego and appetite, and if he is
furious that Gatsby has engaged the affections of his wife, he
is no less angry that Wilson is planning to deprive him of a
mistress. It is men like Wilson and Gatsby-men defined by
emotion or Ideals-who ultimately struggle more.
The Confrontation
At the Plaza the conflict between Gatsby and Tom
over Daisy brings to the surface troubling elements in
both characters. Tom uses his knowledge of
Gatsby’s illegal activities to disgrace the “hopeless
When Gatsby attempts to force Daisy to tell Tom that
she never really loves him, she balks. . . .
Tom invokes their personal history to “subdue” Daisy.
Of course he is upset by her infidelity and Gatsby’s
immoral activities, but is himself a hypocrite.
Tom has won when Daisy can’t openly say she has
never loved her husband. . . He has such confidence
in his “victory” that he encourages her to ride back
with Gatsby. . .
The Tragedy
The ride home. . . Myrtle’s tragic death, and
Gatsby “gallantly” taking on the blame
further confirms his “romantic delusion.”
 Finally we see Nick discovering Gatsby
holding vigil outside the Buchanan’s home,
waiting expectantly for Daisy to come to
him, or to “rescue” her from an irate Tom.
At the start of book he had reached out his
arms to the green light; now, physically
much closer to his “dream,” he vainly waits
on their plush green grass.
“Follow your dreams. . . “
This is what precisely
Gatsby did. . . But what if our
dreams have been
corrupted, or what if they
were never real or never
consisted of genuine moral
For Fitzgerald, there is, in
fact, no overriding “moral
content” that exists in this
world. . . No justice, no real
love, no higher “purpose.”
The American Dream
Are there innate problems with the American
Dream, or does this novel simply present a perverted
version of that Dream?
America was after all founded upon the hope to
realize “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Didn’t the millions of immigrants who sacrificed
everything to come to this continent have a dream?
Didn’t Martin Luther King express the hope of this
dream in his famous speech? And isn’t our current
President’s “audacity to hope” incumbent upon the
reality of that same dream?
Chapter 8: The Great Gatsby
Gatsby, back home in the morning, is visited by
Nick. Gatsby tells of his relationship to Daisy
back in Louisville before the War.
What are some significant aspects of the
Gatsby-Daisy courtship we learn in this
How does the weather continue to reflect
the direction of the plot in this chapter and the
previous chapter? And how is this fact
Baz Luhrmann is looking for the right woman to play Daisy Buchanan in his
upcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary gem, The Great Gatsby.
Maybe this story was picked up too early in the process, but apparently every
single young actress in Hollywood is up for the role.
Gatsby’s Dream
Why does Gatsby refuse to give up his dream?
What does his dream represent in the broader
scope? And what might the author be attempting to
convey through these “dreams?”
What is even ironic about where Nick finds Gatsby,
having already been shot by Wilson?
How does Wilson, in this chapter, interpret the eyes
on the billboard of T. J. Eckleburg?
Chapter 9
Nick has come to see America not as just a
nation, but as a geographical entity. It has
become a land with distinct regions
embodying contrasting values. The
Midwest, while dreary and simple compared
to the “glitz” of the East, does contain an
element of moral fiber. The East, for all its
glitter is superficial and depraved. This
sense of “distortion” that lures and
eventually dooms the characters of The
Great Gatsby, is repulsive to Nick. In the
end he returns to Minnesota.
The failure of Gatsby’s dream:
Gatsby, out of all of Nick’s
acquaintances, has the ability and the
audacity to dream for a radically
different future for himself. But it ends
in failure largely because:
a. His methods are criminal
b. He can never gain acceptance into the
American aristocracy, and
c. His new identity is largely an act, not
unlike those to whom he aspires
The Setting:
Creative Group Activity
Learn and perform the Charleston
Create a dialogue on the “News of the Day”. .
. current events, entertainment, sports etc.
In class report on one “infamous” gangster of
the Prohibition times; perhaps a monologue
or dialogue.
Do a short skit on the more “common” folks of
the time. . . Workers, servants, minorities,
ethnic immigrants etc.
Represent the American Dream in an art form
Nick Carraway -
The novel’s narrator, Nick is
a young man from Minnesota who, after being
educated at Yale and fighting in World War I, goes to
New York City to learn the bond business. Honest,
tolerant, and inclined to reserve judgment, Nick often
serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets.
After moving to West Egg, a fictional area of Long
Island that is home to the newly rich, Nick quickly
befriends his next-door neighbor, the mysterious Jay
Gatsby. As Daisy Buchanan’s cousin, he facilitates
the rekindling of the romance between her and
Gatsby. The Great Gatsby is told entirely through
Nick’s eyes; his thoughts and perceptions shape and
color the story.
Jay Gatsby -
The title character and protagonist
of the novel, Gatsby is a fabulously wealthy young man
living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg. He is famous
for the lavish parties he throws every Saturday night,
but no one knows where he comes from, what he does,
or how he made his fortune. As the novel progresses,
Nick learns that Gatsby was born James Gatz on a
farm in North Dakota; working for a millionaire made
him dedicate his life to the achievement of wealth.
When he met Daisy while training to be an officer in
Louisville, he fell in love with her.
Nick views Gatsby as a deeply flawed man,
dishonest and vulgar, whose extraordinary optimism
and power to transform his dreams into reality make
him “great” nonetheless.
Daisy Buchanan -
Nick’s cousin, and the
woman Gatsby loves. As a young woman in
Louisville before the war, Daisy was courted by a
number of officers, including Gatsby. She fell in love
with Gatsby and promised to wait for him. However,
Daisy harbors a deep need to be loved, and when a
wealthy, powerful young man named Tom Buchanan
asked her to marry him, Daisy decided not to wait for
Gatsby after all. Now a beautiful socialite, Daisy lives
with Tom across from Gatsby in the fashionable East
Egg district of Long Island. She is sardonic and
somewhat cynical, and behaves superficially to mask
her pain at her husband’s constant infidelity.
Tom Buchanan -
Daisy’s immensely wealthy
husband, once a member of Nick’s social club at
Yale. Powerfully built and hailing from a socially solid
old family, Tom is an arrogant, hypocritical bully. His
social attitudes are laced with racism and sexism,
and he never even considers trying to live up to the
moral standard he demands from those around him.
He has no moral qualms about his own extramarital
affair with Myrtle, but when he begins to suspect
Daisy and Gatsby of having an affair, he becomes
outraged and forces a confrontation.
Jordan Baker -
Myrtle Wilson -
Daisy’s friend, a woman with
whom Nick becomes romantically involved during the
course of the novel. A competitive golfer, Jordan
represents one of the “new women” of the 1920s—
cynical, boyish, and self-centered. Jordan is beautiful,
but also dishonest: she cheated in order to win her
first golf tournament and continually bends the truth.
Tom’s lover, whose lifeless
husband George owns a run-down garage in the
valley of ashes. Myrtle herself possesses a fierce
vitality and desperately looks for a way to improve
her situation. Unfortunately for her, she chooses
Tom, who treats her as a mere object of his desire.
Literary Essay:
Use your journals and notes as
Choose a topic of limited focus, and
write an introduction (opening
paragraph) with a clear thesis.
Do an outline that includes at least
eight specific points, quotes, or
examples from the story to support
your thesis.
Sample of Possible Essay Topics
The pitfalls of the American Dream
Many plays and novels use contrasting places (for
example, two countries, two cities or towns, two
houses, or the land and the sea) to represent
opposed forces or ideas that are central to the
meaning of the work.
Choose a novel or a play that contrasts two such
places. Write an essay explaining how the places
differ, what each place represents, and how their
contrast contributes to the meaning of the work.
Is Nick a reliable narrator? How does his point of
view color the reality of the novel, and what facts or
occurrences would he have a vested interest in
 Trace the use of the color white in the novel. When
does it falsify a sense of innocence? When does it
symbolize true innocence?
 Do a close reading of the description of the "valley of
ashes." How does Fitzgerald use religious imagery in
this section of the novel?
 What does the green light symbolize to Gatsby? To
 How does Fitzgerald juxtapose the different regions
of America? Does he write more positively about the
East or the Midwest?
What is the distinction between East and West Egg?
How does one bridge the gap between the two?
 In what ways are Wilson and Gatsby similar?
Dissimilar? Who is Nick more sympathetic to?
 How does Fitzgerald treat New York City? What is
permissible in the urban space that is taboo on the
 Is Tom most responsible for Gatsby's death? Daisy?
Myrtle? Gatsby himself? Give reasons why or why
not each.
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