Book Study 1: The Great Gatsby
Some page numbers may not align with the book as I read the book using my I-pad and a copy of the book, sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (Daisy, 22) Daisy tells this to Nick and Jordan as her hopes for her baby girl. This quote offers us a glimpse into the character of Daisy who herself is not a fool but just the product of her environment that does not value smart women. Though in her quote she refers to the social values of that time, she does nothing to argue them. Instead she describes how bored she is with her life and implies that a girl will get further in life if she is beautiful and foolish. LD: caesura, character
“The light grows brighter as the Earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches a key higher.” (Nick, 42) At this point Nick is at Gatsby’s party and the party is in full swing. He is talking of how the party is progressing on into the night getting better and bigger as the night progresses. Nick’s description of it gives us an amazing image of the happenings at the party by painting a picture in our head, through the descriptive words like “lurches away from the sun” and “pitches a key higher”. LD: imagery, setting
“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 then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (Nick, 171-172) These words conclude the novel The Great Gatsby and Nick returns to that same theme of the past and the dreams of the future. It also talks about their struggle to turn their dreams into reality. The metaphor talks about both Gatsby’s struggle and living the American dream. LD: metaphor, character
“That’s my Middle West – not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark. . . . I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.” (Nick, 167) This quote is in Chapter 9 that brings the theme of geography to an end. During the novel places are linked with the themes, characters and ideas of the novel. The East is a lifestyle with parties, low morals and very wealth-based. Both the West and Midwest are very traditional with traditional values and morals. His perspective on the Western characters and their attitudes and the choices they’ve made, contributes almost solely to Nick’s decision to leave the East Coast and head back to Minnesota, a place where he is much better suited. It also shows how Nick’s values in New York parallel Gatsby’s unfeasible dream. LD: character
“He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” (Nick, 94) This quote is from chapter 6 where Nick finally describes Gatsby’s earlier life. The author uses this quote as a comparison between Jesus and Gatsby, because he creates his own identity. The person that Gatsby envisioned himself to be was decided at seventeen and he did a great job at keeping it up even through hardships and pressures. LD: metaphor, character
“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and...
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