The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
The novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
• East Egg and West Egg, New
York and New York, New
• 1922
The Roaring 20’s
• Why were they called “The
Roaring 20’s”?
• What was going on?
• “Fitzgerald was the most famous
chronicler of 1920s America, an era
that he dubbed ‘the Jazz Age.’
Written in 1925, The Great Gatsby
is one of the greatest literary
documents of this period, in which
the American economy soared,
bringing unprecedented levels of
prosperity to the nation.”
• “Prohibition, the ban on the sale and
consumption of alcohol mandated by the
Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution
(1919), made millionaires out of
bootleggers, and an underground culture of
revelry sprang up. Sprawling private
parties managed to elude police notice, and
‘speakeasies’—secret clubs that sold
liquor—thrived. The chaos and violence of
World War I left America in a state of
shock, and the generation that fought the
war turned to wild and extravagant living
to compensate.”
• “The staid conservatism and
timeworn values of the previous
decade were turned on their ear,
as money, opulence, and
exuberance became the order of
the day.”
“Background,” The Great Gatsby, SparkNotes. 1 November 2007.
East Egg
West Egg
The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg
The green light
The valley of ashes
The color white
The color red
East Egg
• Old Money
(Think of the US and the east
Boston (the nation’s earliest
wealthy hot spot…)
New York?
West Egg
• New wealth
• Think about the expansion in
the late 1800’s. The west coast
offered a variety of new ways to
make money.
• Fitzgerald himself took
advantage of a Hollywood
opportunity later in his life…for
Valley of Ashes
• The valley of ashes is a stretch
of road where industrial ash
builds up. It’s ugly, dirty, and
plain NASTY. (Think 23rd
Psalm and “the valley of the
shadow of death.”)
• It represents the world’s
morality, or rather the lack
Eyes of Dr. T. J.
• God staring down on a moral
• “My God, my God, oh, why
have you abandoned me?”
• It is a depressing symbol.
Color imagery
• Think about the use of white
and the name Daisy. We see
Daisy wearing a white dress in
the first half of the film. She is
also initially seen in a white
room with white curtains.
Wow, she seems so innocent.
Is she really? Or is it an
• The color of love and
• We see it in blood. (Myrtle’s
broken nose bleeds and
Myrtle’s broken body bleeds…)
• Lust and death?
Green light at end of
• Green means go?
• Go for it!
• It symbolizes Gatsby’s dream
of having Daisy.
• Typically, green means life;
green also means jealousy.
Keep in mind
• There is more than one deluded
character in this novel
• The characters hold to ideas
shown in the novel to be
illusions. What does that say
about us as people?
The American Dream
• What is it?
• Is it truth or illusion?