The Great Gatsby
Chapter 8 and 9
Topics of our discussion:
Does Gatsby cling to his dream until his death? (132)
- He expects Daisy’s phone call (134) but he seems to have given up waiting.
- The motif of unsuccessful attempts to contact people and to get into touch with them.
(especially when Nick tries to find people who want to come to Gatsby’s funeral)
- An unfinished sentence marks the end of Nick’s and Jordan’s relationship (135)
- Reasons for the “holocaust” at the end of chapter 8:
- Mistaking an advertisement for God (Wilson) (138f)
- Mistaking Gatsby for Myrtle’s lover (139f) and (155)
- Mistaking Gatsby for Myrtle’s murderer
For the last two mistakes Tom turns out to be responsible.
- Who else is responsible for tragic ending? Question of guilt.
- Reference to Gatsby’s world at the end of chapter 8:
Again the greatness of Gatsby’s dream is related to the “new world”
and it is contrasted to the material world (not being real) of “Poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifting fortuitously about…” (140)
Task: Compare the drifting of the pneumatic mattress to the other scenes in which the drifting
image is used.
Task: Which are unsuccessful attempts to make people come to Gatsby’s funeral:
· Daisy and Tom have left without leaving an address or a destination. (143)
· Daisy hadn’t sent a message or a flower (152)
· Mayer Wolfsheim refuses to come (144, 149)
· Klipspringer (pair of shoes) Nick hangs up the receiver (147)
· Nobody comes apart from his father (151) and finally Owl-Eyes from Gatsby’s library comes who calls Gatsby “The poor son-of-a-bitch” (152)
Task: Which is the point of the East-West topic (152ff)?
Task: How is Tom presented when Nick meets him again? (155f)
Task: The obscene word written with a piece of brick on the white steps. (156) Interpret
Task: Interprete the ending of the novel.
The Great Gatsby chapter 7
Gatsby stops his parties and subsitutes his servants.
“So the whole caravansary had fallen in like a card house at the disapproval of her eyes.” (100)
– Gatsby and Nick at the Buchanan’s house (102ff): variations of the first visit
– The floating impression of the first visit is now filled with new content:
- Wilson’s telephone call
- Nick’s ironical reference to an imagined telephone call of Myrtle
- Gatsby kissing Daisy
The introduction of Daisy’s child leads to the ironical shattering of Gatsby’s dream. Whereas he dreams to ignore the past five years, the simple presence of the child makes the realisation of this dream unlikely.
At the same time Daisy refers to her as “You dream, you. You absolute little dream.”, thus involuntarily confronting Gatsby’s “big absolute dream”.
(by the way the nurse is the only person who gives the little girl a name: Pammy)
As a parallel to the first scene in the Buchanan’s house there are Tom’s clever remarks on the sun getting hotter every year (see his racial remarks in the first scene), then he gets mixed up and claims the opposite: the sun’s getting colder every year.
- The floating aimlessness prevalent in the scene is Daisy’s remark: “What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?” (105)
- The fact that Jordan calls the chill of fall the beginning of a new life also contributes to this idea. (Normally spring is the season of the beginning of new life)
By the way Daisy addresses Gatsby (“You always look so cool”, she repeated”) Tom realizes that they are in love. As a consequence he wants to go to New York: “What’s the matter anyhow? If we’re going to town let’s start.” (p.105)
Before they leave, the motif of Daisy’s voice gets a new quality:
Gatsby: ““Her voice is full of money,”…”(106)
Nick: “That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it. …High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl….” (106)
Growing confusion: disorder of cars
- Tom takes Gatsby’s “circus wagon” with Nick and Jordan, Gatsby takes Tom’s coupé with Daisy (at her own will).
- Wilson is presented in a confused state: “My wife and I want to go West” (109)
- Nick remarks the eyes of Dr Eckleburg keeping their vigil and at the same time Myrtle’s eyes who is locked in a room over the garage and who now mistakes Jordan to be Tom’s wife.
- The idea of “confusion” is mirrored by Nick: “There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind,…” (110) which refers to Tom who is about to lose his wife and his mistress.
- They rent a suite in the Plaza Hotel. This is the setting for the final showdown between Tom and Gatsby which begins with Gatsby’s attempt to defend Daisy against Tom:
“Why not let her alone, old sport, …”(112)
“The telephone book slipped from its nail and splashed on the floor,
whereupon Jordan whispered “Excuse me” – but this time no one laughed.” (112)
- Motifs underlining confusion:
- Confused conversation
- Mendelson’s wedding march from below
- Daisy’s idea to order ice (see scene in Myrtle’s apartment, but this time the ice comes)
- Pointless conversation about Blocks Biloxi.
- Conversation about black and white (114) (Tom’s racist ideas)
- Tom’s transition from libertine to prig (114)
- Does Daisy love Tom or Gatsby? Gatsby’s remark that she has never loved Tom.
- Tom’s various adulteries are reported which lead to Daisy’s comment that she has never loved Tom which finally ends in a sort of compromise that she loved Tom and Gatsby, too.
- Daisy is staring in a terrified way between Gatsby and her husband (118)
- Gatsby’s attempt to clear himself from Tom’s accusations concerning his business is described as “the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away…” (118) He is reduced to his dream.
- Personification: Daisy is now reduced to her voice: “The voice begged again to go.” (118)
- While she himself wanted to go to NY in Gatsby’s car, she is now forced by Tom to go home with Gatsby in Gatsby’s car.
- Nick’s birthday (30): His mood swinging between hope (Jordan’s head against his shoulder) and desperation (decade of loneliness ahead of him).
“So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilight.” (120)
- Myrtle’s accident as a consequence of disorder.
- Nick’s disgust concerning Tom, Gatsby and even Jordan. Why? (125)
- Tom and Daisy conspiring (127)
- Gatsby watching over nothing.
Motif: nature: leaves falling, summer’s almost over. Refer to the weather symbolism in this chapter.
The Great Gatsby incarnation
End of chapter 6 „The incarnation of Gatsby’s dream“
- The scene represents the climax of the early romance with Daisy.
- Gatsby’s dream that seems to be absolute but vague is connected with Daisy.
- The scene refers to Jacob’s vision of the ladder in Genesis 28.12-15.
Jakobs Traum und Gelübde
10Aber Jakob zog aus von Beer-Seba und reiste gen Haran 11und kam an einen Ort, da blieb er über Nacht; denn die Sonne war untergegangen. Und er nahm einen Stein des Orts und legte ihn zu seinen Häupten und legte sich an dem Ort schlafen. 12Und ihm träumte; und siehe, eine Leiter stand auf der Erde, die rührte mit der Spitze an den Himmel, und siehe, die Engel Gottes stiegen daran auf und nieder; 13und der HERR stand obendarauf und sprach: Ich bin der HERR, Abrahams, deines Vaters, Gott und Isaaks Gott; das Land darauf du liegst, will ich dir und deinem Samen geben. Und dein Same soll werden wie der Staub auf Erden, und du sollst ausgebreitet werden gegen Abend, Morgen, Mitternacht und Mittag; und durch dich und deinen Samen sollen alle Geschlechter auf Erden gesegnet werden. Und siehe, ich bin mit dir und will dich behüten, wo du hin ziehst, und will dich wieder herbringen in dies Land. Denn ich will dich nicht lassen, bis daß ich tue alles, was ich dir geredet habe. 16Da nun Jakob von seinem Schlaf aufwachte, sprach er: Gewiß ist der HERR an diesem Ort, und ich wußte es nicht; 17und fürchtete sich und sprach: Wie heilig ist diese Stätte! Hier ist nichts anderes als Gottes Haus, und hier ist die Pforte des Himmels. 18Und Jakob stand des Morgens früh auf und nahm den Stein, den er zu seinen Häupten gelegt hatte, und richtete ihn auf zu einem Mal und goß Öl obendarauf 19und hieß die Stätte Beth-El; zuvor aber hieß die Stadt Lus. 20Und Jakob tat ein Gelübde und sprach: So Gott wird mit mir sein und mich behüten auf dem Wege, den ich reise, und mir Brot zu essen geben und Kleider anzuziehen 21und mich in Frieden wieder heim zu meinem Vater bringen, so soll der HERR mein Gott sein; 22und dieser Stein, den ich aufgerichtet habe zu einem Mal, soll ein Gotteshaus werden; und von allem, was du mir gibst, will ich dir den Zehnten geben.
- Gatsby’s dream includes that as long as he remains a single individual, his fantasy is limitless, his desire is to overcome the earthly bonds and limits, to catch the stars, to go like Faust to the core of things, to create (like Jacob, God’s messenger on earth, or the Romantic Poets) something outstandingly good. (Dream of a 17 year-old boy?)
- The unification with another human being (incarnation of the dream) makes the dream communicable, probably we can say “socially relevant”, it is transformed and restricted to the idea of absolute love, but it also includes the danger of becoming a failure. Can the “incarnation” (Daisy) live up to his expectations? Does society (and Daisy) accept and understand his absolute love? (Romeo and Juliet) Can his ideal compete with the impact of facts like the materialism of the American society (or Daisy’s) or the class-structure that has developed in the American society after the “frontier-period” (which was in fact classless).
- Gatsby, in his colossal desire, seems to be more than a single human being, he symbolizes an archetypal quality of human beings, the desire to go beyond the limits that “imprison” us in our earthly lot. Like Prometheus who thinks he can break the rules, he intends to ignore the laws of life, to repeat history, to ignore the impact of a period of five years on a human being. Anyway: who do we appreciate more? Prometheus, who gives us the fire or Zeus, who punishes him for it?
- Gatsby’s guilt, as a tragic figure, can be seen in the fact that he makes too many compromises, e.g. by giving himself away to materialism, trying to lure Daisy into his house and by making money with criminal transactions. But this makes Nick’s criticism of the American society even stronger that he considers Gatsby to be still better than all the rest.
- Finally we can say that Gatsby incorporates something that is deep inside, in the core of each human being, that can hardly be put into words; Nick refers to it as “a fragment of lost words”. We cannot name it clearly, because it is beyond our limits of understanding but makes us be and live.
You shall have leave to do as you prefer,
So long as earth remains his mortal dwelling;
For man must strive, and striving he must err.
My thanks, O Lord. For frankly it’s repelling
To have so much to do with the deceased.
For me a glowing cheek is like a feast.
I’m not at home to corpses in my house:
There’s something in me of the cat-and-mouse.
Let it be so: to you is given the power
That may seduce this soul from his true source,
And drag him down with you, in fatal hour,
If you can wholly bend him to your force.
But stand ashamed when called on to confess:
A good man in his dark, bewildered course
Will not forget the way of righteousness.
(Faust I Prologue in Heaven)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gatsby chapter 3
Find evidence in the text for the followingaspects:
- The text refers to old EuropeanDreams (of Castile)which are not really specified but just alluded to
- There is freedom fromconvention
- There is the idea of thepursuit of happiness
- There is the idea of thefulfilment of every wish
- There is the materialization ofthe dream
- There is the idea of individualfreedom
- There is the idea of the dreamas an illusion
- There is the idea of a dreamturning into a nightmare ora farce
- There is the idea of a remotedreamland
The Gatsby Myth :
- There are rumours about his person
- There are hints at his isolation and otherness
Gatsby Chapter 2
The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg overlooking the Valley of Ashes.Task: Give an interpretation of the motive.
The scenein Wilson’s garage.Task: Analyse this scene and refer to character, constellation of characters, colors etc.
New York: Arrival in NY and purchase of the dog.
Myrtle’sapartment:The scene is characterised by false appearances, errors, insecurity andpretence:
- Insecurity concerning the breed of the dog
- Insecurity concerning its sex
- Falsestyle of the furniture in the apartment
- Sizeof the furniture not fitting
- Picture of Myrtle’s mother first appears to be a hen
- Myrtle’s chiffon dress
- Mistaken belief that Daisy is a Catholic
- Blurred air of Catherine’s face
- Insecurity if she lives in the apartment
- Myrtle’s personality seems to undergo a change (impressive hauteur)
- Ice is ordered, but doesn’t come
- Myrtlelaughs pointlessly
- Insecurity (rumours) concerning Gatsby
- Neither of them can stand the person they are married to
- The blue honey of the Mediterranean
- Peopleare going and staying, lose and find each other
- Peopleare getting more and more drunk
Nick Carraway ends up in Pen station waiting for the four o’clock train.A cold and lonely place.
Gatsby’s and Tom’s mansions
- The importance of Nick’s cardboard bungalow:
It is a parody of a pioneer log cabin
It is “furnished” with a dog, a Dodge, a Finish woman (Scandinavians were one of the largest and most hardworking immigrant groups)
“…life was beginning over again with the summer.” (p. 7)
After the establishment of Nick in the tradition of great American narrators and the establishment of the Americanness of the narration, the expectation of the reader is aroused by the expectation of a new life.
Retardation in the narrative flow:
- Description of Nick’s preparations for his new job in the “bond business”
- “…they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new moneyfrom the mint,…” (p.8)
Task: Try to find out the importance of span> this comparison andthe image of the “single window” in line 11, page 8
- Nick’s neighbourhood:
Gatsby’s mansion: Newly rich
- Imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy
- Tower on one side
- Spanking new
- Thin beard of raw ivy
- Marble swimming pool
- More than forty acres of lawn and garden
The Buchanan’s mansion:
Traditionally rich, embedded in the surrounding countryside
Tradition coupled with financial success
- cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion>Lawn ran towards the front door, jumping over sun-dials andbrick walls and burning gardens>Bright vines at the sides of the house>Line of French windows glowing with reflected gold Imagery of the living-room scene:Sailing, flowing, people floating and drifting through life, aimlessness
- Breeze blowing through the room
- Blows curtains in and out like pale flags
- Wedding cake of the ceiling
- Curtains ripple over the wine-coloured rug making a shadow flying as a wind does on the sea
- Coach only stationary object like an anchored balloon
- Women both in white, their dresses rippling and fluttering
- Whip and snap of the curtainsCurtains and rugs and the two women balloonedslowly to the floor
- Literary terms:
Collective noun for all forms of figurativelanguage.
An image is a picture which the author introduces into his text so that it will be associated with a particular figure, series of events, or feeling.
The linking and likening of two objects.
An explicit comparison between two essentially different things indicated in the text by the use of words such as “like” or “as”. Words in a simile are used in their literal sense.
An implied comparison between two things of unlike nature which yet have something in common. A word which in ordinary use signifies one kind of thing is applied to another without clearly saying what the relation between them is: e.g. “my life is a bed of thorns”.
In a metaphor the relation between the two likened things is conveyed by using words in the figurative sense.
An extended metaphor is to be found when a particular metaphor is used over a longer passage of a text, or when the word field from which the metaphor is taken is employed extensively and repeatedly throughout a section of the text or throughout the whole text.
The Great Gatsby
What is the importance of the opening part of the novel? (pages 5 to p. 7ll. 41)
- Nick Carraway introduces himself as the narrator.
- He characterizes his position and qualification asa narrator.
- He writes from a position he regards as mature(knowledgeable) and as distanced from the events.
- His judgement is based on tolerance .
- His father’s advice is to be tolerant based on class, wealth and education
- He stresses his slowness to criticize others whichsuggests narrational impartiality.
- He is the ideal narrator .
Limits to Nick’s tolerance:
- He wants the world “to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever.” (p 6 l.5)
- Gatsby represents everything for which he has an“unaffected scorn”.(p.6 l.9)
But: “Gatsby turned out all right at the end.” (p.6 l.17)
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
Pages relate to the Schöningh-edition
NickCarraway, the reliable narrator(Pages and lines are refered to as e.g. (5.1))
The chapter begins with a presentation of Nick, he presents himself as the narrator of the story.At pagefive (lines 1-4) he states his position and qualification as a reliable narrator.
Nick writes from a position he regards as mature and that is at a distance from events (he is not directly involved).He also remembers his father’s advice: to betolerant concerning class, wealth and education.So we can say Nick presents himself as knowledgeable, distanced and tolerant.
5.5-5.19:Elaboration of Nick’s narrational position; his tolerance.There is a close bond between father and son (Nick) which Fitzgerald sets up as a personal ideal.He also doesn’t criticize others easily, i.e. he is impartial, but he is willing to believe Gatsby’s fantasies (52.30 ? 54.18)He is the ideal narrator.
5.20-6.5:Here limitsto Nick’s tolerance occur:He comes from the Midwest and shows the traditional Midwestvillage morality in his judgement of the morality of the East Coast. Only Gatsby is considered to be an exception.
6.5-6.14:Here Gatsbyis sharply contrasted to the other ccharacters of the novel.“it was anextraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.”?(6.10f)
6.15-7.3Here Nick’s character is established which is given reliability by the relatively detailed presentation of his family-history.
1851 Grandfather Carraway’s brother settles in the Middle West, probably in St Paul1861 He sends a substitute to the Civil War and sets up his hardware business.
1890 Nick’sfather graduates from Yale
1892 Nick is born1915 He graduates from New Haven1917 ? 1918 Nick on military service in France
1922 He goes EastHe celebrated his 30thbirthday in late summer1923 He begins writing the story of Gatsby.
7.4-11:Here basicfacts of Nick’s Eastern existence, his arrival in New Yorkand the move to Long Island are presented.He settles in what can be called a parody of a pioneer log cabin with a dog, a car (Dodge)and a Finish woman (Scandinavians = one of the largest and most hardworkingimmigrant groups)
7.12-20:The story begins: The reader’s expectation is aroused by the expectation of a new life.As a narrator Nick is established in the tradition of great American narrators andthe Americanness of the narration is established, too.
7.21-30:Retardation or delay in the narrational flow. Nick presents his knowledge of literature andpresents himself, in spite of all reliability, as a biased narrator: “life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.” (7.30)7.31-9.9:Presentation of the setting: East-Egg/West-Egg9.10-10.6:Presentation of Gatsby?s house: Imitation of a Hotel de Ville in Normandy . 10.7-10.25:Presentation of the Buchanans and Daisy, who is Nick’s removed cousin.
10.26-11.3:Presentation of the Buchanans’ house.11.3-1126:Introduction of Tom Buchanan. (Cruel body) 11.27-12.18:Description of the interior of the house with Daisy and Jordan Baker in the floating room,all dressed in white. Symbolism of floating: balloon, sails, sea.
13.1-14.26:Superficial conversation, “exhibition of complete self-sufficiency”(13.11)
14.27-14.28:Firstmentioning of Gatsby
14.29-16.31:DinnerDaisy calls Tom a “great, big, hulking physical specimen”Tom talks about the danger that the white race might be submerged. (15.33ff)Tom is called to the phone (16.13f). (Jordan Baker 17.10.: „Tom’s got some woman in New York.“)16.32ff:Daisy calls Nick ‘an absolute rose’. Nick, considering that, rejects the comparison, but he is attracted by Daisy’s ‘thrilling’ words and her voice.