the great gatsby

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the great gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended Princeton University and later left in 1917 to join the army. His traumatic marriage to Zelda Sayre was one of his leading influences in his writing. His writings are about the Jazz Age of the 1920s. His four published novels include This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night, and the classic, The Great Gatsby. He also published six volumes of short stories and a collection of autobiographical pieces. After a few years of bad health, Fitzgerald died in 1940. He is considered one of the twentieth centuries greatest writers.The Great Gatsby was published in 1925. Fitzgerald was highly influenced by the "Roarin Twenties" and was fascinated by the lavish lifestyles of the rich. He based his novel on the shores of Long Island where he lived. The architecture there and his famous neighbours were both inspirations for The Great Gatsby.

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The Great Gatsby is the story of Jay Gatsby, narrated by the character Nick Carraway, his neighbour. The novel is a love story, but Fitzgerald wrote it to criticize the typical "American Dream". The novel is set in Long Island and New York, post World War I in 1922. Nick Carraway moves to the flashy "new rich" area of Long Island, West Egg, to work in the bond business. He becomes fascinated with his mysterious neighbour, Jay Gatsby, whom he hears many wild rumours about. Gatsby throws extravagant parties at his mansion, secretly hoping to attract his long lost love, Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is Nick's cousin and Nick is close to her and her husband, Tom. Tom and Daisy live in East Egg, home to the more established upper class. Throughout the summer of 1922, Nick plays matchmaker and arranges for Daisy and Jay to meet. Their secret affair does not last as Tom grows suspicious of his wife. Although Tom himself has not been faithful, he selfishly cannot allow Daisy to leave him. The love story ends in tragedy as Gatsby is murdered by the husband of Tom's mistress. Nick realizes that Gatsby's vision of Daisy was corrupted by his pursuit of wealth. Fitzgerald portrays that the American Dream of the "Roarin Twenties" leads to moral decay.

Daisy Buchanan, wife of Tom Buchanan, was a careless, yet beautiful socialite. She was raised in a wealthy family and had been accustomed to luxury her entire life. She was Nick Carraway's cousin and the woman of Gatsby's affections. Daisy, before the war, had promised to wait for Gatsby to return from the battlefields, but she broke her promise. Being loved and being wealthy were more important to her, so she accepted Tom's hand in marriage.Daisy represented everything Gatsby wished for: aristocracy, wealth, sophistication and perfection. Her voice was described as being "full of money" (p. 115). She hid behind these luxuries to conceal her inner turmoil over her husband's infidelities. She was quite fickle and shallow and according to Nick, retreated into her money when she had been reckless and carless. Incapable of sustained loyalty to Gatsby, Daisy represented the hidden immoral values of the American rich in the 1920s.

Jay Gatsby, born James Gatz, was the archetypical American self-made millionaire. Raised in a poor, midwestern family, Gatsby aspired to one day come into wealth in order to impress his first love, Daisy. After the war, Gatsby lost touch with Daisy and dedicated his life to becoming the kind of wealthy man that he believed Daisy could love. Gatsby acquired his fortune by associating with gangsters in the bootlegging business. Gatsby, once reunited with Daisy, could not convince her to leave her husband, Tom. Gatsby was stuck in the past and could not realize that his dream for a future with Daisy had already passed.Gatsby tries to conceal the way he acquired his fortune and becomes a compulsive liar. His colossal mansion and obstentatious parties are used to conceal his vulnerability. A hopeless romantic, Gatsby truly believed that he and Daisy would be together forever.Fitzgerald portrayed Gatsby as a handsome man, with "one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it..." (p. 49). He was always dressed spectacularly in custom suits and tailored shirts. Jay Gatsby has remained one of the most celebrated and alluring romantics of modern literature.

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby

Glog by Danielle G.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic 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 one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (p. 171-172)

"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams--not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion..." (p. 92)

" '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. 7)

Paradox:Jordan Baker, Nick's romantic interest, states: “ 'And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.' ” (p. 50) This is contradictory because the opposite is true.Nick Carraway's entire view on the upper class is paradoxical. Nick despises the garish displays of wealth in Long Island, yet he admires Gatsby, the most extravagant of them all. Nick allows both Tom and Daisy to have extra-marital affairs. Irony:Tom Buchanan is a snobby, wealthy man who believes in white supremacy and aristocracy, yet he has a lower-class mistress, Myrtle Wilson.Imagery/Simile:Fitzgerald creates vivid imagery when describing the desolate area between Long Island and New York: "This is a valley of ashes–a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens..." (p. 26)Allusions:Gatsby's book collection promised "to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew." (p. 10) Fitzgerald is making a mythological reference to the Greek King Midas, and historical references to J. P. Morgan, American financial banker, and Maecenas, a patron of the arts in Roman history.Oxymoron:Gatsby is described as "an elegant young rough-neck" (p. 49). Synecdoche:"...Chicago was calling him on the wire." (p. 49) The word telephone is substituted with the word 'wire', one of its parts.Parallelism:Fitzgerald describes how American settlers must have seen Long Island when they discovered it: "...Man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired..." (p. 171). This is parallel to how Gatsby sees the American Dream and his optimistic dream.Figurative Language:" 'He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive.' " (p. 29)" 'I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn't fit to lick my shoe.' "(p. 37)Symbolism:The Green Light: There is a green light on Daisy's dock that reflects and can be seen across the water from Gatsby's house. Gatsby often reaches out toward the light, symbolizing himself reaching out for Daisy and hoping for the future.The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg: These eyes are a pair of faded glasses on an advertisement billboard in the Valley of Ashes, the area between Long Island and New York. They symbolize God's eyes looking down on the moral decay of society and making his judgements.

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In the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby was played by Robert Redford and Daisy by Mia Farrow.

Music in the 1920s was that of the "Jazz Age", a term coined by Fitzgerald himself. Reference to music is a reoccuring motif in The Great Gatsby. There is always music playing at Gatsby's parties and the song playing, Ain't We Got Fun, is alluded to in the novel.


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