Discussion Questions on Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

1. This book is infused with symbolism, particularly the green light at which Jay Gatsby gazes so intently, and the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg on the billboard. What do these symbols suggest? (Symbolic meanings are fluid, not fixed; they often mean different things to different observers/readers. When Daisy is visiting Jay that first day, he mentions the green light that shines all night at the end of her dock. I really wouldn’t know why there’s a green light at that dock. But Gatsby has been gazing into in often. Green could stand for youth. When I think about green, I think about nature, about fresh leaves on trees. Just as Daisy and he were very young when they were together. Dr. Eckleburg

2. Is Jay Gatsby great? In other words, is Fitzgerald's title sincere...or ironic? I think the title is meant to be ironic. Jay Gatsby is supposed to be great because he is so wealthy and he has al these people coming over all the time. But the way he earned it all is not something to be proud of and in the end he doesn’t seem very happy, let alone appreciative of what he has. On the other hand, I think, the way wants to take the blame for Daisy’s crime is admirable.

3. Discuss the four main characters. Who, if any, do you find most sympathetic? Most important, in what way do the events of the novel affect Nick Carraway? How, or to what degree, does he change? (Some see this work as a coming-of-age story.) Consider Nick's father's advice in chapter one: "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." Does telling the story from Nick's point of view make it more believable? Nick: Nick’s character has good morals. We don’t see him doing anything that is not right. He seems to care for people too. Though with Jordan he’s a bit less careful, because he half-loves her but he does show affection towards her. With Gatsby, although the way he lives is...
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