F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
The narrator is a young man from Minnesota called Nick Carraway. He’s got wealth and calss and he went to Yale. He not only narrates the story but casts himself as the book’s author. He begins by commenting on himself, stating that he learned from his father to reserve judgment about other people, because if he holds them up to his own moral standards, he will misunderstand them. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (P.5) He characterizes himself as both highly moral and highly tolerant. We learn that the narrator is non-judgmental. As a result, people tell him their life stories like he's a bartender. He briefly mentions the hero of his story, Gatsby, saying that Gatsby represented everything he scorns (= verachten), but that he exempts (= befreien) Gatsby completely from his usual judgments. Nick had just arrived in New York, where he moved to work in the bond business (he’s a financier type), and rented a house on a part of Long Island called West Egg. West Egg and East Egg are the twin villages of Long Island. West Egg, where Carraway lives, is not as fancy as East Egg. But it's still pretty fancy compared to the rest of the world. Nick’s comparatively modest West Egg house is next door to the mysterious Mr. Gatsby’s huge mansion. Nick heads over to East Egg to have dinner with Daisy, his second cousin once removed, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, an old college buddy. Tom, a powerful figure dressed in riding clothes, greets Nick on the porch. Inside, Daisy lounges on a couch with her friend Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who yawns as though bored by her surroundings. The Buchanans have tons of money, and Nick likes to tell us all about it. We see that Tom is a rather large and "aggressive" former football player. In other words, this guy is not the sensitive, lyric-writing type. We then meet two women dressed in white – Daisy, of course, and her friend, Jordan Baker. Daisy and Tom have a child, who spends the majority of her two-year-old time sleeping in the other room. Tom tries to interest the others in a book called The Rise of the Colored Empires by a man named Goddard. The book espouses racist, white-supremacist attitudes that Tom seems to find convincing. When, in friendly cocktail conversation, Nick casually mentions Gatsby, Daisy gets particularly interested. In general, Daisy spends Chapter 1 being happy and excited about life and having a bruise (blauer Fleck) that Tom accidentally gave her. The following is a rather dramatic scene: Tom gets a phone call, Daisy freaks out and goes to yell at him, and Jordan reveals that Tom is messing around on the side. „He got some woman in New York“ (S.26) Not only that, but he's messing around with a woman tactless enough to call his house all the time to ask what's up. We get the feeling that the tactless bit is the real problem. Daisy comes back and talks about when her daughter was born: Tom wasn't there, and “I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”—i.e., too dumb to know any better. It turns out that Jordan is an athlete (golf). Nick feels like he's heard about her before, but he can't remember the story. Daisy then jokes about Jordan and Nick getting together. When Nick arrives home, he sees Gatsby for the first time, a handsome young man standing on the lawn with his arms reaching out toward the dark water. Nick looks out at the water, but all he can see is a distant green light that might mark the end of a dock. Chapter 2:
Nick describes the land that lies in between the Eggs and New York as a "valley of ashes" which sounds really unpleasant. The valley of ashes is a picture of absolute desolation and poverty. One day, Tom forced Nick to travell with him tot he City to show him his mistress. Tom leads Nick to George Wilson’s garage (Wilson’s a auto...
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