By: F. Scott Fitzgerald Concept/Vocabulary Analysis Literary Text: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (2004, Scribner paperback edition) Summary A vision into the roaring 1920‟s, Fitzgerald captures the decades indulgences. The novel is written through the eyes of a man named Nick Carraway. This fellow is an outsider who, for a summer, experiences the grandeur and glamour of New York. The protagonist, Gatsby, is his neighbor and seems to be a member of the quintessential 1920‟s. His parties are the talk of the town, though he is not throwing them for enjoyment. The reason for the parties is an integral part of the romantic theme throughout the book. Juxtaposed to these parties is is his wealth, which make them possible, but seems to be ill gotten. Ultimately the contention that comes from money, love, and power result in terrible deaths. Organizational Patterns The Great Gatsby is organized into 9 untitled chapters. The first chapter sets the book up by describing the narrator, Nick Carraway, and his migration to New York. Two peoples of interest are introduced; Nick‟s old friend Daisy and her husband Tom. At the close of the chapter Nick experiences Gatsby for the first time. The second chapter is dedicated to the adulteress behavior of Tom, who takes his mistress Myrtle to New York. Following this, chapter three is focused on Gatsby and his famous parties. Chapter four is gives Gatsby more definition by showing his power in a society as experienced by his ability to get out of a parking ticket. It is there that Jordan, a friend of Daisy, tells Nick that Gatsby is in love with Daisy. Chapter five describes Gatsby‟s obsession with Daisy and their meeting after their long estrangement. Chapter six tells of Gatsby‟s former life and illustrates that he is not the man many believe him to be. The following chapter deals Tom realizing the developing relationship between Gatsby and Daisy, as well as including the murder of Myrtle, his mistress. Chapter 8 revels more about Gatsby‟s
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obsession with Daisy, and ends with his death. The final chapter is about the lack of true friendship that Gatsby had, and finishes with Nick leaving. An important organizational factor is that the book is told from Nick‟s perspective. He tells the majority of the story as if was there, but ends with a retrospective perspective of what happened when Gatsby died. The Central Question/ Enduring Issue How Do People Achieve True Happiness? The novel deals with themes that are very adult in nature. These themes in the book are all examples that Fitzgerald uses to show outlets of how individuals during the 1920‟s would attempt to find happiness (i.e. adultery, revenge, money). Because of the extremity in these acts, and the lack of happiness in the actors, it is clear that happiness is difficult to achieve. By allowing for the discussion of what contributes to true happiness, which addresses revenge, adultery, and money, students can develop their own ideas of what truly makes them happy. What Value Do We Place On Money? Fitzgerald was able to capture the 1920‟s with his unique talent of imagery and description. The excess of money and time during this period was complicated because previously, much of the money was „old‟ money from families that had been influential for a long time. During this time there was an uprising of „new‟ money, which resulted in unknown families, having influence. Within the book there is a debate as to what is really important, old money vs new money or if money is important at all. Can We Live to Achieve A Dream From Our Past? The book closes with the quote that says “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This idea of trying to achieve an old dream, which is what Gatsby attempts to do when he tries to rekindle a relationship with Daisy, attempts to answer the question if dreams from our past are worth our emotional investment.