3 Gatsby’s Self Invention Post WW1, American Reality was one of loss, particularly for youthThe American psyche (shared existence) carried a profound sense that life was meaninglessThe Pursuit of money now overtook the previous cultural roots of working together for a common good. This was the concept of the American Dream.
4 Gatsby’s Self Invention Fitzgerald embodied this concept in his creation of his character Gatsby, by imposing on him a sense of rootlessnessGatsby acts for the characters around him, becoming that person that he wishes to be in their eyesHe is self-inventedHe started as James Gatz, but created his name, “Jay Gatsby” before boarding Dan Cody’s yacht.
5 Gatsby’s Self Invention Gatsby confides in Carraway that he misled Daisy five years earlier into believing that he was wealthier than he is, and that he used his army uniform as a guise to hide the fact that he could not afford more expensive clothes.He hides the illegal source of his wealth (bootlegging and selling stolen or forged bonds). Carraway does not learn the truth until after Gatsby’s death.
6 Gatsby’s Self Invention Henry C. Gatz displays an old copy of “Hopalong Cassidy” showing a schedule Gatsby penned in when he was a boy. This shows that even as a child, Gatsby sought to transform and improve himself.Material displays define him (ie. The yellow car that Tom Buchanan considered “clownish”)None of his displays of wealth provide his life with meaning because his love for Daisy goes unfulfilled
7 Gatsby’s Self Invention Roger Lewis, a critic, comments that Gatsby sought to recreate the hpast by marrying Daisy, but with his new wealthy persona, in tact.Lewis states:
8 “When one’s sense of self is self-created, when one is present at one’s own creation, so to speak, one is in a paradoxical position. One knows everything about oneself that can be known, and yet, the significance of such knowledge is unclear, for no outside contexts exist to create meaning. The result is that the self-created man turns to the past, for he can know that. It is an inescapable context. For Gatsby, and for the novel, the past is crucial.”
9 Any Thoughts?Start to consider the relationship of Gatsby as a Christ-like figure. What connections can you make?
11 Love and MoneyGatsby’s adoration of Daisy is at the heart of the plot.Gatsby becomes the only character to see clearly the connection between his quest for the ideal of love and that of wealthHe describes Daisy’s voice by saying, “…her voice is full of money…[she is a] golden girl.”To Gatsby, her charm and his attraction to her is allied in her wealth.
12 Roger Lewis states:“It is true that from Wolfsheim to Nick Carraway, people are in the East to earn their livings… But Gatsby with his boundless capacity for love, a capacity unique in the sterile world he inhabits, sees the pursuit of money as a substitute for love. He knows himself well enough to see that his own attraction toward love is tied to his love for Daisy. The fact that Gatsby’s money, like his love, should be self-made gives his description of her voice authority and depth.”
13 An Ambivalent Narrator Theme #3An Ambivalent Narrator(Definition- having opposing attitudes or more than one point of view…)
14 An Ambivalent Narrator Nick Carraway is a practical character and therefore is suitable to tell the storyCarraway’s character is marked by a need for order, which, although allowing for the story to be narrated, means that for a majority of the story, he exists in a state of relative ambivalenceHe prides himself on his honest: “…I am one of the few honest people I have ever known.”The reader belives and identifies with him
15 An Ambivalent Narrator His relative position to the characters plays a role in his ability to narrateA critic, A.E. Dyson explains, “Carraway is one middle class character in the novel - vaguely at home in the worlds of both Daisy and Myrtle, but not belonging to neither, and so able to see and judge both very clearly.”
16 An Ambivalent Narrator He seeks to reserve judgmentHowever David Parker, another literary critic states that “… Nick is slow-thinking. He does not learn immediately from the experiences of Gatsby, but slowly, reluctantly, and in retrospect…The reader… sees him, in the course of the novel, gradually coming to realization… Nick wants the world and the people in it to be cleaner and simpler that they are.” This affects his reliability as a narrator.
17 Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic Theme #4Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic
18 Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic When Fitzgerald was young he fell in love with a girl named Ginevia King, who he later found out called him the “poor boy”, and it crushed him. This echoes the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy.Daisy does not share the romantic sentiments of Gatsby and thus “belongs” to Tom, be cause he understands the nature of things, which reflects how she acts.
19 Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic Daisy’s character is too much like Tom, so she is able to use Gatsby the same way Tom uses Myrtle.Although Tom’s attitude is realistic, it is hard against Gatsby’s romantic ideas.The reality shatters the fantasy
20 Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic The events leading to Gatsby’s death “symbolize… that [Gatsby’s] downfall, though inevitable, is by no means an unambiguous triumph of moral powers. His death is brought about by Daisy who first lets him shield her and then deserts him: by Tom who directs the demented Wilson to the place where he is to be found; and by Wilson himself- a representative of the ash-grey men who comes to Gatsby, in his disillusionment, as a terrible embodiment of the realities which have killed his dream.” (Dyson)
21 Gatsby as a Heroic Romantic Gatsby pays the price of death for his loyalty, but it is his willingness to adhere to his heroic passions that allows Carraway, and the reader, to overlook the faults of Gatsby and to have the most repect for him as a result.
22 Other Themes Unexplored: Nick Carraway’s Price: The Loss of InnocenceThe Art of The Great Gatsby