Presentation on theme: "The Great Gatsby Chapter Notes: Ch. 1-2-3. ► Fitzgerald designed chapters one, two, and three for two purposes: to introduce us to the characters of."— Presentation transcript:
► Fitzgerald designed chapters one, two, and three for two purposes: to introduce us to the characters of the novel to paint a vivid portrait of the world in which the novel takes place
► Ch. 1 establishes Nick as our narrator. There are three interpretations of Nick as a character/narrator: 1. Nick views himself as an objective reporter who “reserves judgment” and merely retells the extraordinary events of the summer of 1922 (evidenced by first paragraph of Ch. 1 and Ch. 3 “I’m one of the few honest people…”.
2. Some critics say Nick is too involved to be objective- the first three chapters have him making numerous judgments of the people he meets in the East; in addition, Nick participates in the drunken debauchery of the world he claims to despise in the opening pages. Also, he fails in reserving judgment of Gatsby who he adores from their first meeting.
3. Some critics say Nick is too inactive- Nick has been called a waste of a character, one who sees the immorality around him (Tom and Daisy’s fake marriage, Tom and Myrtle’s affair, Gatsby’s lifestyle, Jordan’s cheating at golf) and does nothing to stop it.
We begin to see that this novel is essentially about Nick’s journey into adulthood and his initiation into a corrupt world. He is the character that we are to look to for change and self- realization. We begin to see that this novel is essentially about Nick’s journey into adulthood and his initiation into a corrupt world. He is the character that we are to look to for change and self- realization.
► We learn from these chapters that this is also a novel of comparisons. In the first three chapters, we are faced with many comparisons, most notably is the fact that each of these early chapters centers on a different type of party. In addition, we see comparisons between:
Comparisons 1. East Egg and West Egg and the Valley of Ashes 2. the West and the East 3. Daisy and Myrtle 4. Catherine and Jordan 5. Tom and Wilson 6. Eckleburg and Nick 7. Gatsby and how others view him
► Also, it is a novel of symbols. The first three chapters introduce us to the green light and Eckleburg’s eyes. Both have important significance later in the novel.
► Finally, these first chapters establish Gatsby as a mythical figure. In chapter one, Gatsby is seen as a shadowy figure looking toward a distant dock. In chapter two, he is mentioned briefly as the nephew of a German Kaiser.
In chapter three, he is a mysterious enigma who doesn’t drink, keeps his distance, and is the victim of countless rumors. However, the rumors paint Gatsby as a paradox.
► Consider what is said about Gatsby at his party and how the information conflicts with itself. All of this helps establish Gatsby as a legend, which as we will see is precisely what Fitzgerald (and Gatsby in the novel) wanted to do.
Paradox He killed a man He’s a German spy He’s the cousin or nephew of Kaiser Wilhelm American soldier Oxford man – “old sport” ‘elegant,’ ‘young,’ ‘elaborate formality of speech’ ‘rough-neck,’ ‘absurd’
Later in our discussion of the novel, we will discuss another major comparison- Appearance versus Reality (hint: Gatsby’s use of “old sport” will come into play here. Consider Owl Eyes as a symbolic character and his reference to Gatsby’s books as “being real” as important.
► Consider the incredible trouble he goes through for his parties and how nobody cares to know about the real Gatsby.
Blue gardens Beaches, motorboats, hydroplanes Rolls Royce delivers guests Crates of fruits Mountains of food and open bars Orchestra
Thematic Focus: American Dream ► Consider the attitudes of the people at the party and how it reflects on the corruption of the American Dream. “introductions forgotten on the spot” (p. 44) “women who never knew each others names” (p. 44) “one of the few guest invited” (p. 45) “I never care what I do…” (p. 47) Men and women fighting; car accidents