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Themes of The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

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1 Themes of The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Presentation by Edward Amaba, Alexia Mazis, Kirsten Rico, and Sean Healey

2 F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Life
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota in He was born into a middle class family and did not live in great splendor. He grew up in St. Paul and participated in sports and wrote many columns and articles. He met his future wife, Zelda, in 1918, but she refused to marry into a poorer lifestyle. After Fitzgerald gain popularity from his novels, they got married and lived a very lavish and wild lifestyle, attending many parties and much travel across the Atlantic to Europe. After several years of writing and travelling, Zelda became mentally unstable and was institutionalized. Many stresses and other pressures on Fitzgerald led to an early death in 1940, without much literary success, which would come to him after his death.

3 The Roaring Twenties: A Divergent Era
This time period was a time in which consumerism was booming, and the act of prohibition was enacted. Many people began living in cities, indulging in the wealth that few people obtained. Those who did, experienced a feeling of optimism, stature, and entitlement. Although Prohibition was stated as law, the wealthy were able to bribe and cheat their way into achieving their liquor. This age also created a new aura of discrimination, due to World War I, and shift in morals. This overall description of the Roaring Twenties is the setting in which "The Great Gatsby" is written in.

4 Hollowness of the Upper Class
This theme means that within the Upper Class, they hold certain characteristics or perform certain actions which show the morals, intentions, and actions, which can be regarded and shallow or deceitful. This theme is present through the sayings and actions by many of the upper class characters. Chapter 1: Tom. B - "It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things." (pg 13) Racist, White Supremacist attitude (ex.); His mention of “The Rise of the Colored Empires” Daisy -“ I hope she'll be a fool – that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful fool.” (pg. 17) Daisy says that she hopes she stays a beautiful fool, in order to indulge in the hollow riches of their class. Appealing to the social standings of gender, Daisy implies, that generally, all women who are beautiful and simplistic, will keep them where they are in their high class. Chapter 2: Tom. B - Tom picks up his Mistress, Mrytle, to go to their apartment in New York city, where later in the night he punches Myrtle for the mentioning of Daisy. Total infidelity toward Daisy and proudly shows Myrtle off in the apartment, in New York, set aside for his love affairs. This shows that he is completely unfaithful and is completely unphased at his actions, but more proud in showing in dominance over the two women.

5 Hollowness of the Upper Class
Chapter 3: Description - Although most chapter focuses on the development of Gatsby, the description of his glamorous parties give insight to the reoccurring theme. - The party is over extravagant, showing off the true and new wealth of Gatsby. - The people there only went by knowledge of the party, not really knowing Gatsby, showing that the people only want to indulge in the wealth and stature. - Beauty and extravagance is shown at face value, but morals and true personality is not revealed at all, for example Jordan Baker. Although she, at face value, is gorgeous and wealth, it gives no insight to whether she has rightful morals in which Nick is looking for within the East. Chapter 4: Gatsby - Description: Jordan Baker's explanation of Daisy and Gatsby situation from her point of view. Using Nick as a bridge to attain Daisy's attention. Daisy being unknowingly forced to seeing Gatsby. Using means of friendship/companionship for self gain, giving off a somehow shallow relationship. Chapter 5: Gatsby Description: The indirect proposal by Jordan to invite Daisy to tea without her knowing Gatsby would attend. The hollowness is depicted by the idea that Gatsby asked Jordan Baker to ask about the tea instead of himself. Leading to the conclusion that the relationship of Nick and Gatsby is just for Gatsby's own gain to rekindle the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy.

6 Hollowness of the Upper Class
Chapter 6: Gatsby Description: Gatsby invites Tom and Daisy to his party, hoping to impress Daisy enough to leave Tom. Meanwhile, in the end, he realizes she is unhappy and becomes disheartened by his effort. Shows that Gatsby truly believes that the dream that is Daisy, can be achieved by the power of money. He regards her as the same person as she was back then, and because she may or may not leave Tom for him because of the social status and wealth that comes with the marriage, he uses his wealth to compete. Chapter 7: Tom. B - Description: The situation in which he confronts Gatsby about his affair with Daisy. - Emphasizes his hypocrisy further; having no doubt or guilt when confronting Gatsby, and paying no attention to his morals or conscience when the true fact he is doing the same. Relates to the idea the his class gives him dominance and a free ticket to anything. Chapter 8: Gatsby - Description -With his talk with Nick, he reveals why he loved Daisy and what he did to try to achieve the love back. -Explanation: We see that his description has seem to be true love, but we see that he greatly idolizes wealth, not only Daisy, and he combines his wealth in order to obtain Daisy. Because of Daisy's current social stature, he feels in order to rekindle the love back then, he needs to glorify his wealth in order to gain her attention. This emphasizes the idea that wealth "buys" happiness. Chapter 9: - Because of Nick, Gatsby funeral was intended to be large. However, because of the shallow connection, Tom and Daisy, Meyer Wolfshiem and Klipspringer did not show up. This action shows that even though that when they were presented by Gatsby, they only really cared when he was alive, but now that he is not present, he is insignificant in mind, only being remembered by his wealth.

7 Stratification of Social Classes
Upper Class-Old Money Buchanan’s "His family were enormously wealthy — even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach — but now he’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.” (Fitzgerald pg. 6) Nick’s describes Tom Buchanan as a man from “old money.” Unlike Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is a man who inherited his wealth from his family and is often characterized as a shallow and violent man, and associates himself with people from lower classes in order to make him feel superior. “Her voice is full of money‘…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…” (Fitzgerald pg. 120) This quote shows that Daisy Buchanan is a woman of “old money” that represents a person with great wealth and other characteristics that make her a woman of “class.” Jordan Baker “Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest.” (Fitzgerald pg.158) Nick finally realizes that Jordan Baker is not a perfect person, she is very dishonest and a cheat. His infatuation with her is similar to Daisy’s infatuation with Tom; she is rich and has a “glamorous” demeanor. Jordan Baker’s personality and deceit can be closely associated to the fact that people with “old money” are cold, desolate people.

8 Stratification of Social Classes
Upper Class-New Money Jay Gatsby “The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God – a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that – and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen- year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” (Fitzgerald pg. 98) As Nick gradually finds the truth of Gatsby’s mysterious past, he begins to understand that Gatsby desperately sought to become the embodiment of the American Dream, an effort that was futile despite his best resolve. “Its melancholy take on the American dream -- as a hopeless attempt to reclaim the irretrievable past -- makes it a leading candidate for the Great American Novel. And the book's most unabashedly romantic scenes, the nostalgic past that Gatsby spares no expense to recapture.” (Frassica, M.) Throughout The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby tries to redo his past with Daisy by acquiring a huge fortune and creating a “sophisticated” life for himself in order to impress her. Although Gatsby is able to gain an enormous fortune, because he was “new money,” he was looked down upon by people with “old money.”

9 Stratification of Social Classes
Lower Class- No Money Nick Carraway “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven‘t had the advantages that you‘ve had.” (Fitzgerald pg. 1) Nick Carraway is a man of high morals and seems to dislike “careless people.” Despite being brought up by well-to-do people, Nick lives in an “eyesore” of a house in between two mansions. Also, because Nick’s money does not come close to the Buchanan’s or Gatsby’s he is often associated with a lower class. Wilson’s “When we came into the station he was next to me, and his white shirt-front pressed against my arm, and so I told him I'd have to call a policeman, but he knew I lied. I was so excited that when I got into a taxi with him I didn't hardly know I wasn't getting into a subway train. All I kept thinking about, over and over, was 'You can't live forever; you can't live forever.” (Fitzgerald pg. 121) Upon our first meeting with Myrtle Wilson, we are able to find out that she is a woman who desperately craves the lifestyle of the upper class. Because Myrtle’s husband George does not meet her standards anymore, she seeks the attention of Tom Buchanan in order to achieve a higher status and indulge in its lifestyle. George Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, is a hard-working man in the lower class that is not respected by his wife. After hearing of his wife’s death, he decides to take revenge on her killer, who he believes to be Jay Gatsby.

10 Disillusionment of the American Dream

11 World War I and The Great Gatsby
Background Information Began in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary A war on two fronts. 38 million deaths. The Western Front, running along the French-German border series of trenches yards apart covered with barbed wire, mines, machine guns, and artillery pieces.

12 Nick and Gatsby in World War I
Two things occur from Gatsby’s service in the military. [1]- Gatsby is able to gain an Oxford education. Because of the many connections gained during his service and his many recognitions, he was granted the ability to be educated at Oxford. [2]- Gatsby’s French influences. The many years that Gatsby had spent abroad in France made him enjoy the styles, and as such he build his home with the French styles in mind, such explains “some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy” (Page 9). Nick identifies that he had fought in the Great War, Gatsby and Nick had served in the Third Division as officers in the Army. Gatsby, “accepted a commission as lieutenant” (Page 66), and he specifically speaks about the Battle of the Argonne Forest Gatsby’s leadership skills and bravery led to many awards being bestowed upon him, such as the Montenegro Medal for Valor Extraordinary (an important symbol in the book).

13 Works Cited Frassica, M. (2011, Jul 18). F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Gatsby' captured pieces of Louisville’s romantic past. Courier - Journal. Retrieved from Fitzgerald, F S. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, Print. Graham Royde-Smith, John. "World War I." Encyclopedia Britannica Online

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