Gatsby notes on symbolism and themes


Chapter notes arriving at the character symbols and themes of the story. It also has many quotes that back the symbols.
Note by Maria-Rodriguez, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Maria-Rodriguez over 7 years ago

Resource summary

Page 1

Ch. 1Background:The American Dream James truslow adams - epic of america am. dream is not a quest for wealth but self worth and abundance live in a world of opportunity - hard work (Ben Frank.) D of Independence - Eur. Settlers everyone can achieve the same (through hard work) Popularized by: Horatio Alger boys who came from nothing to be millionaires (rags to riches) Equal opp. to succeed american ethos, identity East Egg/West Egg Long Island, next to new york divided by water East Egg old money rich family, inherited wealth manhasset neck or port washington West egg great neck new money - worked for it fitzgerald lived here gatsby based on max gerlach see money that is earned and not inherited as lower - aristocratic not now though eas tv. west coast of the US “The Rise of the Coloured Empires” in one hand, equal opp. - in the other, race has big impact on life and opp. Stoddard - parallel w/ buchanan said white is the dominant race fear that the colored people would become the superior white supremacy must be maintained!! stoddard harvard educated - widely accepted belief Tom Buchannan old money arrogant, racist, rude, cruel dominant, authoritative - always gets what he wants college football star at yale the way fitzgerald represents old money - asks: why do we admire them? Chapter notes:CH. 1/2 -NickDenotation: west egg, advantaged (rich), judges (but says he doesn’t), people trust him, educated - Yale, politician, hypocrite, bitter, (FORESHADOWING), discouraged, old money, veteran-war changed him, desillusion; but now hope, purpose, restless, alone, hopeful, afraid, salty, disillusioned, judgemental, unreliable, narrator, educated, demeaning and dismissing, reservedConnotation: The Lost Generation, but with hope at the beginning (searching for meaning)Possible Symbolism: Nothing yetTomDenotation: east egg, arrogant, unrestful, drifting, dominant, authoritative, powerful, can control the world around him, racist, peaked at 21 (‘cool’ college kids), Very, very wealthy, old money, old house, sturdy, muscular, straw hair, red, gold, eagerness to fight, imperative, brute, hulking, has an affair, dominant, wistful, cruel, defiant, violent, ready to fight, dumb, liarConnotation: conservative, powerful, domineering, white supremacist, longing for control; tethered to the past?loss of controlPossible Symbolism: Old Money, conservatism?DaisyDenotation: east egg, white, dresses, rippling and fluttering, lux, charming, lovely, puts you in a daze, VOICE, bright, excitement in her voice, stands up for herself, gossiping, appealing, thinks women have to be pretty little fools, naive, excitement, sad and lovely, pale, delicate, womanly, dreamy, careless, free (until tom), floating, fresh, insubstantial, [wind - 12], surface, happiness (bruised finger - odd marriage), center of attentionConnotation: superficiality but rotten inside, beauty but fake, dreamy, money; false front, false perfection; meretriciousness; the american dream?Possible Symbolism: the American Dream of Materialism?JordanDenotation: motionless, chin raised, snobby, righteous (right), cadette, bored all the time, absence of all desire, unashamed, “a nice girl”, prideful, demeaningConnotation: fakePossible Symbolism: nothing yetGatsbyDenotation: west egg, everything nick dislikes (scornful of), hope, romantic readiness - full of life, optimistic, dreamer, imitation, castle, vines, enjoys time alone, “gift for hope”, responsiveness, imposing, optimistic, new money (rich) - but tries to look old moneyDenotation: puts up an elaborate facade, new money, hopeful about the future (opp. of tom), hope, optimistic, longingPossible Symbolism: the working class dreamer?Valley of the AshesDenotation: Ashy, dirty, bleak powdery air, grey (cars), ghastly, impenetrable cloud, obscureConnotation: desolate, bleak, poor; death, suffering, remnants of something or an event, industrial waste, people are made of ashGeorge WilsonDenotation: small block of yellow brick, garage, unprosperous and bare, dust-covered, shadow; holding piece of waste, blond, spiritless, anemic, faintly handsome, hope?, blue eyes, ghost, submissive, cement color, white dust, dumb (naive),Connotation: ?Possible Symbolism: nothing yetMyrtle WilsonDenotation: thickish figure, mid-thirties, faintly stout, sensuous, spotted dress, no gleam of beauty, vitality, soft coarse voice, dominant over her husband, no dust, brown dress (changes dress a lot), straightforward, warm soft and pastoral, (center of attention), cream colored chiffon dress, rustle, expanded, “revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air”; flounced, ecstasy; violent and obscene language, wild, living for now (“you can’t live forever”), artificial (laughter), Connotation: tries to look like she has money - changing dresses, acts upper class, above peopleWho does the belief in the American Dream benefit?lower classesMovie notes: (how do they represent the characters)tom: blue - control, power always centered in the shot (power shot) symmetrical, balanced Daisy: white, light, whispy, airy, magical, alluring, veiled, feathery dressJordan: neat and trimmed, neat trimmed bright colors for mansion------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ch. 2Valley of the Ashes - background info: large pile of ash in Corona NY huge from burning of coal industrial wasteland urban poor immigrants, african-americans, overspenders high to unhealthy environments lack of education, healthcare, lighting, water rural poor farmers - not much income, crop prices went down loans - led to more debt women: more conservative ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ch. 3-4Motifs of Disintegration (ch. 3): p. 58 - the car falling apart - drunken car accident p. 56 - women fighting w/ husbands p. 57 - “the dispute ended in a short struggle” p. 52 - gatsby’s smile - foreshadows, “precisely at that point it vanished” p. 60 - “a sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows” and Gatsby’s formal farewell p. 81 - Daisy has second thoughts about the wedding - doesn’t love Tom - Note disintegrates - just like her dream of marrying her love, and Gatsby’s dream of getting back together w/ Daisy The facade (or dream) vs. the reality: Gatsby p. 52 - gatsby’s smile - foreshadows, “precisely at that point it vanished” his speech “just missed being absurd” p. 69 - lies (his finally story) p. 71 - looking through magazines - magazines are usually gossiping p. 75-77 - Meyer Wolfsheim - clue to reality of Gatsby (corruption?) beautiful web of lies covers up some type of corruption (America? - APUSH makes it look bad?) Gatsby’s party p. 58 - party’s end with car p. 57 - “the dispute ended in a short struggle” p. 46 - “Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn a little after seven. . . . convinced that it was theirs for a few words in the right key,” 46 - nick couldn’t blend in - competition to seem better, they're not really there for Gatsby facade of enjoyment covering a hungry greed - microcosm for the 1920s Tom/Daisy p. 82 - Tom’s affair w/ chambermaid on honeymoon - happy couple - affair p. 81 - Daisy has second thoughts about the wedding - doesn’t love Tom - Note disintegrates - just like her dream of marrying her love, and Gatsby’s dream of getting back together w/ Daisy p. 82-83 - “What Gatsby?” - Daisy is still thinking about Gatsby, unhappy with her marriage The facade of the old money perfect life is false and covers misery and corruption Nick p. 64, beginning - facade of honest pure non-judgemental p.70 - judgemental attitude towards gatsby (trying not to laugh) lying to himself doesn’t do anything - let’s bad things happen and stands aside p. 69 - refers to when Gatsby asked for his opinion on him - Nick’s not willing to be honest to Gatsby about how he feels - hides behind politeness p. 61 - life - full of work and imagining how others’ lives might be. - incredibly sad and loneliness, describing himself as invisible facade of excitement in his life - Tom/Daisy drama, Gatsby’s parties Jordan p. 63 - incurably dishonest p. 62 - in her first big golf tournament cheated (probably) p. 63 - bad driver - it’s okay b/c it takes two to make an accident, blames others - as a metaphor to drive in life facade of coolness and disinterest covers a core of dishonesty and uncaring NOTES - backgroundGilda Gray popular broadway star popularized the “shimmy” - “the twerking of the 20s” Ziegfeld follies elaborate broadway productions became radio show called “Ziegfeld follies in air” dance crazes in the 20s quick feet, flapper dresses dance moves - “charleston, turkey trot, quick step, the shimmy” 1919 World Series - The Black Sox Scandal chicago White Sox v. cincinnati reds White sox were the best team so it’s odd that they lost payed off to lose no player eligible to hall of fame even though they were fantastic lifetime ban from league but no criminal charges paid very little, so the money seemed good, more than one gambler involved made people realize the corruption and gambling became regulated people devastated - player disrespecting them and their honesty metaphor for everything that was wrong with america --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ch. 5--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ch. 6 104 - Gatsby’s symbolism (“rags to riches” “reinvention” “new”) Torn green jersey, changes his name, becomes a new person, rags to riches “Platonic conception of himself” Plato - he believes that everything is just a standing of an idea Ex. tree is a symbol of treeness , and treeness is the ideal form of tree Gatsby embodies an idea, he doesn’t exist in a physical sense He is a slave to a false, but outwardly beautiful, world American dream? American identity/America/America’s understanding of itself 105 - Dan Cody Symbolism “Frontier” “violence” “silver mines” “soft-minded” “rich” Represents: Imperialist spirit - frontier (Western Imperialism) - shapes the US 107 - points out relationship btw Gatsby and Dan Cody How Gatsby was shaped by Cody To make the symbolic tie 107-110 - Symbolism of Sloanes ???? Maybe distinction btw old and new money They leave Gatsby out 113 - Gatsby’s Party w/ Daisy Everything absolutely offended Daisy Party “from nothing to nothing” Daisy lives in a world of euphemism Party symbolism? The 20s The younger/ lost generation 2nd, alternate world (nihilistic idea) 115 - Daisy's mind - maybe even gatsby’s love is a facade that’s going to disintegrate 116 - he says that she didn’t love it - they were all for daisy He wants to repeat the past - she has to understand Crushed flowers, empty bowl - symbolism Symbol of past - Dan Cody Thinking about Gatsby’s symbolism - America (Am.) Romanticises our dreams from our past and future Ch. 7Background: Trimalchio Collection of satirical poems - Roman satyrica The dinner of trimalchio Dinner with unsettling displays of wealth Trimalchio was a freed slave - reference to questionable means He is very disrespectful to both guests and slaves Implications Both: “making fun” of their respective countries Great Gatsby - satyre of America p. 6 - something very, very wrong - “preying upon Gatsby” Symbolism:Gatsby: (illusion of the american dream) Illusion of the american dream Obsession with materialism To the point of corruption - bootlegging, and take the fall for myrtle’s death And death of human spirit (Myrtle) Nick: (Industry) Industry Driving force which helps gatsby (america) to realize his dream of materialism (daisy) New decade ahead of him - can only see death and weakness after Admires and benefits from the illusion of the american dream Protects the secrets of materialism Daisy: (Materialism) Materialism Her voice is full of money Materialism ultimately kills the human spirit (Myrtle) Myrtle: (Human Spirit) Human Spirit “Life is violently extinguished” "Smoldering," "alive" Doing what you can to live happily Breast - symbol of life giving - ripped out Tom: (white supremacist fear of losing control) Trying to control everything around him Represents the white supremacist’s Fear of losing power Try to keep under control the market (materialism) And control/oppress lower classes (George Wilson) Exploiting human spirit Jordan: (upper class) Another example of upper classes To show it's not just one person that acts that way, it's systematic George: (lower classes) Chained to environment, sad Oppression of lower class - the sadness that comes with him His only dream is to be enough for Myrtle Lower classes cannot find fulfillment Desires to point of obsession --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ch. 8-9(13-15 paragraphs + counterargument & refutation) - for the essayQuotes proving symbolismDaisy Feminist lense - objectification of daisy, of women “She vanished into her rich house, into her rich , full life, leaving Gatsby - nothing.” - p.156-157 Richness, wealth, emptiness - gatsby’s house is also a symbol of this From before too (weath preserves)“...Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor” p. 157 STRONG QUOTE - gleaming like silver, starshine Connotation of artificiality Silver - dehumanizing - empty dehumanized materialism Meretricious materialism Gatsby p. 156 - “he might have despised himself… to be blown anywhere around the world” False front - lies to daisy He himself is a facade Shows the reality p. 156 - “however glorious might be his future… because he had no real right to touch her hand” Putting on a facade - shows the facade p. 176 - “he had a bright future before him” Bright future is not always true The lie his father still believes - still believes in this illusion - “that’s my jimmy” Counterargument + refutation - you can’t prove that’s the american dream Refutation - p. 181 - Gatsby’s journal - “no wasting time, etc.” Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin connection - specific Am. Icon Something important in death of illusion of Am. dream - who's fault?: George wilson - oppression of lower classes killed the illusion of the am. Dream -- (leads to Progressive era? - but Fitzgerald doesn't know that) Tom - manipulates george (lower class) to kill the am dream - supremacy/higher classes/need for control kills am. dream Daisy (driving car) - manipulates and benefits from death of am. Dream and oppression of lower classes - money root of all of this mess George p. 164 - “about 3 0’clock… and her nose swollen” George goes downhill - deteriorating, disintegration motif Grief - anger stage p. 165 - “half annoyed… look” Symbolic of how beaten down by society - no longer has a soul, humanity (human spirit?) - never very strong mentions half a lot - connotation: sort of like fading out; mentions eyes: windows to the soul, shows soul fading out p. 167 - “listen… the dissolving night” Eyes of Dr. T edenberg - eyes of god, eyes of judgement “Just an advertisement” (next line) - theme of nihilism p. 170 - death “The holocaust was done” - death by fire - evokes sense of ashes (not The Holocaust - hadn't happened yet) Everyone who has a dream dies or fails - motif - nihilism Tom p. 159 - “she wanted her life shaped now, immediately…still at oxford ” How forceful tom is - supremacy “Made by some force” ^ - power Kills gatsby’s dream the moment he marries daisy Crushes the am. Dream by the way he controls and exploits materialism p. 187-188 - “he was crazy… never stopped the car” Tom pointed a loaded gun at gatsby but the gun was in wilson’s hands what it says about nick - he said nothing What pg? - “They were careless people ...the mess they had made” Doesn’t have to deal with any of his problem privilege This is what kills gatsby in the end - pwrful people can manipulate to not be held responsible Nick p. 173 - “look here old sport… this alone” Industries primal instinct - to keep working for the am. Dream even after it’s dead p. “... me and Gatsby against the world” Delusion that they can be together - loyal to the myth even in its death and with the evidence of corruption P. 183 - ”I’m 30.. And call it honor” What he did in the past was not benefiting him Realises he’s lying to himself - realizes he’s acting on his own self interest p. 189 “I thought of Gatsby’s wonder… ceaselessly into the past” The am. Dream promotes the idea that just keep going (the green light) Yet we still go - never-failing belief to keep trying, even if the facade is harmful for us The West (New symbol) Symbol: conservative traditional values P. 184 - “I see now… to eastern life” Eastern life is new modern life of new values and they’re stuck in their old values Shedding that old identity 185 - “West egg still… and no one cares” Nihilistic portrait - nobody knows one another - empty lives and relationships Woman dying because she’s drunk Embracing that when we leave the west behind “That’s my middle west… ” 189 - “the essential houses begin to fade away...for wonder” The aesthetic he neither understood nor desired This wonder sets the bar for the Materialistic desire and the am. Dream I can build anything I can dream idea (East passage, panama canal) Jordan - corrupt upper class (like tom) - not individual but systemic Possible Arguments/ Themes The american people should not respect the upper class because under their facade they’re shallow The power hungry and the oppression groups that killed the american dream If daisy is the am. Dream - then many people demised b/c of its corruption Am dream unobtainable b/c oppression of lower class Nihilistic - disintegration Keeping upt the facade of am dream - benefitial for some people Am dream needs industrialism to become real Materialism cause of am dream + its death, also death of human spirit Am dream chases materialism which causes death of human spirit Am dream is fragile illusion Materialism is empty and dehumanizing Irony - am dream chases materialism + causes death

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