The Great Gatsby

The American Dream/ Chapter One
When you see the word/ phrase, write down
the first thing that comes into your mind
The sense of wonder and limitless possibility
at the heart of what America means. This
America is an embodiment of human
potential, free from any limits set by past
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the
orgiastic future that year by year recedes
before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no
matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch
out or arms farther . . . . And one fine
morning –”
The later, materialistic version came to be
In this, the process of creating one’s self is
equated with getting rich.
The acquisition of wealth allows certain
material freedoms and possibilities.
Gatsby’s love for Daisy is a metaphor for the
American Dream, particularly its corruption
In a sense, Gatsby is America.
“It is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust
floated in the wake of his dreams that
temporarily closed out my interest in the
abortive sorrows and short-winded elations
of men.”
Choose an item that you feel relates to the
American Dream.
This can be a film, song, poem, advert, book
or other.
Be prepared to justify your choice.
African American poet
A key figure in the Harlem Renaissance
Poetry was particularly popular in the 1920s
Much of his poetry was concerned with the
experience of African Americans
We are introduced to our (not completely
reliable narrator) Nick Carraway
He describes a particularly horrible dinner
party at the house of Tom and Daisy
Nick- apparently descended from Duke of
Real founder was great uncle who paid a man
to go to the Civil War in his place.
Tom Buchanan belongs to an American upper
class whose privileges are based on wealth.
A state of cynicism, spiritual sterility and
world weariness. This is what money brings
to the Buchanans and Jordan Baker- not
Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once,
unobtrusively and with a bantering
inconsequence that was never quite chatter,
that was as cool as their white dresses and
their impersonal eyes in the absence of all
desire. They were here, and they accepted
Tom and me, making only a polite pleasant
effort to entertain or to be entertained. They
knew that presently dinner would be over and
a little later the evening too would be over
and casually put away.
East Egg- Old Money (Tom Buchanan)
West Egg- New Money (Gatsby)
Irony- eggs promise new life, but these are
sterile rocks.
Tom’s racism
Daisy’s butler- poisoned from the fumes at
his previous job. This a metaphor for how
American capitalism in the 1920s affected the
To Gatsby, the green light represents his dream,
which is Daisy. The first time the green light is
seen in the novel is also the first time Nick sees
Gatsby. Fitzgerald writes, “…he stretched out his
arms toward the dark water in a curious way,
and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he
was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward –
and distinguished nothing except a single green
light, minute and far away…” The green light is
described as ‘minute and far away’ which makes
it appear impossible to reach. This will prove to
be true for Gatsby.
Explain, using quotations, what impression is
created of the following characters in this
chapter: Tom, Nick, Daisy, Jordan.