In order to fully understand the significance of the novel, it is important that we gain an appreciation of the historical background of the novel. Perhaps the most important thing that we need to consider is how this novel fits within the context of The American Dream It is easy to forget that America is in many ways a country in its infancy.
The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and it contained an idealised belief that America would be a land of equals. Against the backdrop of European class structure, the founding fathers of American Independence envisioned a society in which inherited class structures no longer existed. It was to be a society of equals. At its heart, the idealised vision of the
American dream is the belief in the concept of a meritocracy, a structure of society in which the hard working reach their goals. It is a system that values hard work and aspiration above all else. This vision of society has determined the policies of numerous political leaders including British politicians such as Margaret Thatcher as well as American Presidents such as Ronald Reagan.
One of the founding fathers in particular, Thomas Jefferson, believed that America should be a land of opportunity. There was a sense of limitless possibility across this vast new continent. It was in every way a brave new world. As a character, Gatsby in many ways embodies this spirit of opportunity. He is not held back by his background in the pursuit of his goals.
Despite this, Gatsbys character is tainted by the seemingly corrupt ways in which he gains his successand his wealth. The belief that he could succeed on the basis of hard work is simply not enough. Gatsby is driven by his pursuit of Daisy, and in his opinion he will only gain her affections with the simultaneous pursuit of wealth. The power of the Buchanan highlights
that wealth still overpowers hard work. The opening Chapter introduces us to the narrator, Nick Carraway. The events of the Chapter see Nick visit his cousin Daidy Buchanan and her husband Tom. Tom and Daisy live across Long Island Sound in the more fashionable East Egg. Nick has recently moved into a small rented house in the less fashionable neighbourhood of West Egg.
The Chapter serves as an introduction to the Buchanans and their failings. Nick is presented as both the narrator of and a character within the story. Nick has come to West Egg having relocated to the East Coast of America. He is a bond salesman, however he is clearly from a wealthy background. Nicks narration is a little self conscious. He appears frustrated by the Buchanans and by the failure of those
around him. He declares that Gatsby had an extraordinary gift for hope. Daisy will ultimately be unveiled as the object of Gatsbys affection. Love of her is his driving motivation, yet from the outset, Nick makes it clear that Daisy is a figure who is fundamentally unworthy of his affection. Daisys name implies her delicacy, yet our first interaction with her highlights a falseness about her actions.
There is a crushing emptiness about her life. She claims to be p-p-aralysed with happiness, yet this paralysis is her failing. Tom Buchanan is an old university acquaintance of Nicks. He is vastly wealthy and represents the upper class of American society. His surname connects him to a Scottish clan highlighting that even this fledgling nation has its past linked in the history of other countries. Toms affair and the carelessness of it is
a theme to be repeated throughout the novel, while his racist views highlight a growing unease at the heart of Americaand highlight the clear inequality of this great nation of equals. Chapter 2 sees Nick and Tom make their way to New York where they meet with Toms mistress Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle lives in the Valley of Ashes between West Egg and the city itself. Myrtle is married to a motor mechanic by the name of George Wilson.
In New York, Nick attends a party that is held in the apartment that Tom has rented for Myrtle. The party includes Myrtles sister Catherine as well as some of their neighbours. During a heated exchange about his marriage, Tom breaks Myrtles nose. Myrtle Wilson is Tom Buchanans mistress, and she is everything that
Daisy is not. Where Daisy appears intentionally vacuous, Myrtle clearly has a mind and voice of her own and she is not afraid to use it. Myrtle lives in the desolate valley of ashes and sees her liaison with Tom as being her only means of escape. Tom provides her with the lifestyle that she aspires toeven although she is fully aware that he is married. Myrtles behaviour in this chapter is
symbolic of the rise in consumer culture that came to symbolise the period known as The Roaring 20s. In the chapter we see Myrtle purchase numerous items, however each of these are proof that for Tom, she too is property to be bought and paid for. His relationship with her is a material commitment rather than an emotional one. This will stand in contrast to Gatsbys unquestioned devotion towards Daisy.
Perhaps one of the most powerful symbols in the novel are the Eyes of Doctor TJ Eckleberg. These eyes are part of an advertising hoarding in the valley of ashes. They advertise the local practice of an optician, and add further symbolic significance to the importance of consumer culture during this period. The eyes also come to symbolise Godand indicate how the values of this American society has changed. The Valley of Ashes as a location is perhaps the most powerful symbol of the failed ideals of the American Dream.
While America held a hope that it would become a society of equalsthe great valley of ashes proves that this is not the case and that clear divisions in class and opportunity really do exist. Chapter 2 sees Nick be invited to one of his mysterious neighbours party. Here he meets Jordan Baker once again, and together they describe the grandeur of the parties. Nick listens with interest as the various guests at the party discuss the mysterious origins of their host. Some
suggest that he is a cousin of the German Kaiser, while others suggest that he has killed a man once. Nick finally meets Gatsby and it is clear that he is immediately won over by his charm. His description of their first encounter highlights many of the positive qualities of the character which we will see later in the novel, while also introducing us to some of his more obvious failings.
The evening ends with Jordan explaining that she has just heard something remarkable from Gatsby that she cannot reveal to Nick. Gatsbys party brings the wealth and glamour of the period to the forefront of the novel. Fitzgeralds description highlights the unrivalled decadence of the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald highlights the divide between the new rich and the established order in his description of these riotous parties where the
morals appear far looser than at any time in history. The newly wealthy are seen to lack the refinement expected, while the established classes make the trip across the sound to West Egg with an almost voyeuristic enthusiasm. In this scenario, Gatsby is again an enigma though he lives in a garishly ostentatious West Egg mansion, East Eggers freely attend his parties. Despite the tensions between the two groups, the
blend of East and West Egg creates a distinctly American mood. While the Americans at the party possess a rough vitality, the Englishmen there are set off dramatically, seeming desperate and predatory, hoping to make connections that will make them rich. Fitzgerald has delayed the introduction of the novels most important figureGatsby himselfuntil the beginning of Chapter 3. The reader has seen Gatsby from a distance, heard other characters talk about him, and listened to Nicks thoughts about him, but has not actually met him (nor has Nick).
. Fitzgerald gives Gatsby a suitably grand entrance as the aloof host of a spectacularly decadent party. Despite this introduction, this chapter continues to heighten the sense of mystery and enigma that surrounds Gatsby, as the low profile he maintains seems curiously out of place with his lavish expenditures. In his first direct contact with Gatsby, Nick notices his extraordinary smileone of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it. Nicks impression of Gatsby emphasizes
his optimism and vitalitysomething about him seems remarkably hopeful, and this belief in the brilliance of the future impresses Nick, even before he knows what future Gatsby envisions. He hold vast parties yet appears to know none of his guests. His accent appears to be somewhat affected. He calls people old sport, which is an oddly antiquitated form of speech. There are other examples of this apparent falseness in the conduct of Gatsby. Owl Eyes,
the man bizarely occupying the library is astonished to discover that the books are real. From this chapter forward, the mystery of Jay Gatsby becomes the motivating question of the book, and the unraveling of Gatsbys character becomes one of its central mechanisms Gatsby visits Nicks house for the first time, and talks of his wartime experience. They travel into the city, where Gatsby introduces Nick to Meyer
Wolfsheim. Later, Jordan tells Nick about Daisys past, her brief love affair with Gatsby, and her subsequent marriage to Tom. Some of the animals are horned and masculine in nature the Hornbeams, Blackbucks (note reference to dirty money), Hammerheads and Cecil Roebuck. Some are animals characterised by their wily, industrious natures the Leeches, Rot-gut Ferret and
Edgar Beaver. Another distinct group are characterised by their association to fish and pungent smells the Fishguards, Ripley Snells, Mrs Ulysses Swett, S.B. Whitebait. Faustina OBrien also reminds us of the legend of Faust, the character who sold himself to the devil. All of these characters, with their weirdly negative world associations are shown, by their lack of interest in Gatsby, who sold out to the world of glamour and wealth. Look over the conversation Nick and Gatsby
have in the car on the way to New York. As a group, discuss what we learn about Gatsbys character and how Nick feels about him. Think about: Gatsby's restlessness His attitude towards all his objects The information (lies?) he tells Nick about his life Quotes which describe the way he says those facts Whether Nick believes him or not You must refer closely to the text and provide
quotations and analysis. Gatsbys possessions do not make him happy. He seems to get no intrinsic pleasure from the collected artefacts around him and seems self-consciously aware of the pretence upon which he has built his public persona. As such he chokes on his lie to Nick that he was educated at Oxford and seems burdened by an intense energy: he was never quite still; there was always a tapping
foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand. He seems to be aware that he could be exposed at any time unlike the complacent Tom, who revels luxuriously in the splendour of his castle, Gatsby seems never to be at rest with himself. He props up his history with handy objects of authenticity such as war medal and photographs of his time at Oxford, almost like a man on the run from the law. His
stores are overblown, unrealistic and tinged with equal measure of fantasy and self-pity (note the way he keeps referring cryptically to the sad thing that happened to me and, how, when the war came, he tried very hard to die in order to forget it!) These unwittingly comical reflections stretch his credibility to the limit and Nick is left feeling more annoyed than interested in the favour that Gatsby has asked him.
At this point, Nick re-tells the story of Gatsby and Daisys love affair from Jordans point of view. He relates her words as if they were exactly as he remembers them of the October in 1917. Does this effect the reliability of Nicks narrative style? Can Jordan be trusted to tell the truth? She has already been shown as a liar do we feel comfortable hearing the story from her perspective? Jordan tells how Daisy had been the most
popular girl in their Louisville hometown when they were growing up. The colour white is mentioned in connection to her three times, thus establishing her as the archetypal fairyvirgin whose parents dont approve of the relationship she has formed with a young soldier (Gatsby) and force her to finish with him. She is shown to get over this disappointment quickly by becoming engaged to Tom Buchanan the next February, Jordan, her bridesmaid, tells of how she discovered Daisy drunk on her bed on the day of her wedding
breakfast, clutching a letter in her hand (from Gatsby) and crying uncontrollably. Daisy, through choice, has become an emblem of Toms old money. She abandons her romantic urges, casts off her emotional coat and embarks on a marriage which will offer stability of status. Note the effort of the others to ice her into submission, cooling her truer passion for the man she loved, and they way they hook her into her dress. For she has, indeed, become a piece of meat in this transaction. This is borne
out in Jordans recollection of how Tom began cheating on her almost immediately after the wedding was over, as well as his love of alcohol. Jordan then informs Nick that Gatsby's favour is to ask him to invite Daisy round to his house for tea, in an attempt to rekindle an affair that had been extinguished by ice and snow years earlier. Nick organises a meeting at his house between Gatsby and Daisy
Alone with Nick, Gatsby discloses that the money which bought his mansion was made in just three years Gatsby gives them a guided tour of his house, displaying his possessions, especially his expensive, imported clothes Nick muses on the nature of Gatsby's desire for this woman, and remarks on the intensity of their relationship, eventually he leaves them alone
Aims for today To watch the events of Chapter 5 in the film. To recap the key moments and discuss their significance. To chart the development of Gatsbys relationship with Daisy in the chapter. To read on to Chapter 6. Perhaps he wishes his house to be a beacon of light to Daisy, in the same way that her green dock light is a source of spiritual
satisfaction to him. He seems like a man who is afraid of the dark or of the ghostliness that comes from an empty house. For Gatsby, the show of his home must go on to face off the darkness troubling him. His life is essentially empty notice how he talks about glancing into some of the rooms in his house, as if checking to see that everything is perfect. His home is a showpiece, an emblem of spiritual death.
As a group you are going to look through the chapter and analyse the way that the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy changes. Consider first his feelings as he prepares for her arrival and how these change as he shows her around his grand home. If you canlook out for the significance of the weather Describe the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy and how it develops
in this chapter. The episode in which Gatsby and Daisy are reunited in his mansion is clearly a highly significant one. It is an encounter that carries an enormous amount of weight in the novel and, discloses to us that Daisy falls terribly short of the ideal version lodged in Gatsby's heart and imagination. It might seem obvious that Gatsby and Daisy have a lot of catching up to do,
and would feel the need to talk at length, yet dialogue is kept to a minimum. Their feelings for one and other are communicated through their actions and through what remains unsaid. At 4pm, when Daisy arrives, the rain has cooled to a damp mist. The connections of cool and damp to Daisys character are clear from the previous chapter, where we learned that her feelings for Gatsby faded as his letter became a damp pulp.
At the height of Gatsbys discomfort when Nick finds the tensions too unbearable to remain indoors it is again pouring. When Nick returns, Daisy and Gatsby have happily reacquainted. Significantly, the sun shone again, there are twinkle bells of sunshine in the room and Gatsby is again an ecstatic patron of recurring light. As Gatsby falls into an anticlimax, Daisy begins to cry.
The introduction of the symbol of Gatsbys shirts is very important here. Daisy breaks down at the sight of Gatsby throwing almost obsessively his shirts onto his bed. He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell
and covered the table in a many-coloured disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. Daisys moment of release when the soft rich heap dumbfounds her occurs at a
moment of simultaneous wonder and disappointment. Gatsby is, by now, running down like an over wound clock, a result of having spent so many years obsessing over Daisy at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. His rather bewildered sense of sadness and anti-climax combines with Daisys sense of wonder and awe at the spectacle of social status laid out before her. Like the time she was dog-chained by Tom's status symbol (the pearls) she reacts to Gatsby's shirts with tears. The curious mixture
of happiness and tears (sunshine and rain) provides a rainbow depicted by the multicoloured array of shirts on the bed. Daisys moment of release when the soft rich heap dumbfounds her occurs at a moment of simultaneous wonder and disappointment. Gatsby is, by now, running down like an over wound clock, a result of having spent so many years obsessing over Daisy at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. His rather bewildered sense of sadness and anti-climax combines with
Daisys sense of wonder and awe at the spectacle of social status laid out before her. Like the time she was dog-chained by Tom's status symbol (the pearls) she reacts to Gatsby's shirts with tears. The curious mixture of happiness and tears (sunshine and rain) provides a rainbow depicted by the multicoloured array of shirts on the bed. You should now all be able to chart the change and development of Gatsbys feelings towards Daisy but now we will
focus on his anti-climatic feelings for Daisy at the end of the chapter. In groups, write a detailed description of how Gatsby feels about Daisy at the end of this chapter. Refer to key quotations and remember to give your own opinions. We get the feeling in this chapter that, despite Gatsbys sense of wonder and awe at Daisy's presence, he nonetheless experiences an unusual sense of
emptiness and disappointment. Nick makes particular reference to the light at the end of Daisy's dock, the colossal significance, of which, has now vanished forever. For Gatsby, that light had been a tantalising, spiritual beacon to light his way to Daisy, now that he is within his grasp, it has reverted back to the ordinary. Gatsby seems to revel in the electric intensity of reaching for an object more than grasping it:
I saw that the faint expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby's face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Five years! There just have been moments even on that afternoon when Daisy stumbled short of his dreams not through her fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heart. The trajectory of Gatsby's dream is such that the object of that dream Daisy falls short. This is part of Gatsby's tragedy pursuing a dream that he, himself, has made unattainable.
Nick reveals more about Gatsbys past , his humble origins and his time with Dan Cody. The Buchanans attend one of Gatsby's parties and the tensions between Tom and the host grow more obvious. Read Chapter 6 carefully and outline the transformation in Gatsbys character as he moves
from being James Gatz into the Jay Gatsby that we become familiar with in the novel. Gatsby finally achieves his goal of getting Daisy to one of his party only to see that she is not impressed, but disgusted at the lavishness and vulgarity of it. In pairs, find as many quotes as you can which build up a picture of Daisys feelings towards the
party and how Gatsby reacts to this. Daisy does not enjoy the spectacle of the party. The orchestra, the mounds of food, the champagne, the dancing, the drunkenness all disgust her: She was appalled by West Egg, the unprecedented place appalled by its raw vigour that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.
Gatsby detects her disapproval and has difficulty concealing his own disappointment. The theatre of spectacle and indulgence has been for nothing. The show will soon be over. Daisy does not enjoy the spectacle of the party. The orchestra, the mounds of food, the champagne, the dancing, the drunkenness all disgust her: She was appalled by West Egg, the unprecedented place appalled by its raw vigour that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed
to understand. Gatsby detects her disapproval and has difficulty concealing his own disappointment. The theatre of spectacle and indulgence has been for nothing. The show will soon be over. Nick and Gatsby visit the Buchanans, where Jordan is also a guest, and meet Daisys daughter. En route to the city, the group stops at George Wilsons garage, and Wilson discloses that he and his wife are planning to go West. The group takes a room at the Plaza Hotel, where Tom and Gatsby argue about which of them Daisy
loves. Myrtle Wilson is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Gatsby reveals to Nick that Daisy was driving the vehicle, but announces his intention to take the blame. The events in this chapter lead us inexorably to the tragic ending. The party is well and truly over. As Gatsby becomes firmly embroiled in his affair with Daisy proper, he rejects the materialism and conspicuous consumption that defines the era. Everything now is invested and dedicated to the
fulfilment of his dream Daisy. Gatsby is no longer throwing theatrical parties on his lawn. The whole caravansary has fallen in like a card house at the disapproval in [Daisys] eyes. In addition, he has sacked significant numbers of his huge staff in order to prevent gossip about him. He is more cautious about his image now that he and Daisy are back together. This indicates how for Gatsby money
in itself means nothing, he doesnt enjoy the trappings of wealth (remember how he behaves at his parties). Everything is dedicated to the quest beyond money Daisy, his dream. The broiling weather sets the scene for this pivotal chapter, establishing a mood of suppressed anger and spiralling passions: As my train emerged from the tunnel into sunlight, only the hot whistles of the
National Biscuit Company broke the shimmering hush at noon. The straw seats of the car hovered delicately on the edge of combustion; the woman next to me perspired delicately This stifling humidity sets a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere. We are literally and metaphorically waiting for the thunderstorm to break and Fitzgerald creates an overwhelming sense of climax and impending doom.
The broiling weather sets the scene for this pivotal chapter, establishing a mood of suppressed anger and spiralling passions: As my train emerged from the tunnel into sunlight, only the hot whistles of the National Biscuit Company broke the shimmering hush at noon. The straw seats of the car hovered delicately on the edge of combustion; the woman next to me perspired delicately This stifling humidity sets a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere. We are
literally and metaphorically waiting for the thunderstorm to break and Fitzgerald creates an overwhelming sense of climax and impending doom. The reader is given a direct link to the beginning of the novel when Fitzgerald describes Daisy and Jordans inability to literally and metaphorically move in this chapter. This inertia emphasises their
inability to progress as humans. In pairs, discuss why both characters find this difficult and explain the different ways they are stuck in their lives. Jordan She cheats, therefore taking the short cut to success, which is a false interpretation of the dream. Cheating is a short-cut to success. It neednt be earned its taken. Daisy
Cannot progress as a mother because she is too self obsessed. She is unable to make decisions in her own life, never mind help raise a child and be a good role model. Essentially, they are both aimless and whimsical without any real direction or purpose to their lives. Both women are lazy and turn each decision about their lives into a whim. The decision, therefore to head to the city is itself a tragic one, since it is borne out of sheer boredom.
This relationship is especially revealing since it highlights just how artificial and insincere Daisy is as a mother. She is merely playing the part but is utterly unconvincing and false. Pammy is no more than a toy, paraded out in front of guests to be looked at and admired. Oddly she has old yellow hair, the colour of decay and is prematurely aged. Daisys inability to love her own child
is a crucial flaw in her character is she really capable of experiencing real love for anyone other than herself? You should now take time to update your notes for your main characters based on the knowledge gained from the first half of Chapter 7. The focus should be on Daisy and the development of her relationship with
Gatsby. The Confession Crucially, it is Gatsbys incriminating admission about the source of his fortune that really spells the end of his relationship with Daisy. In her skewed morality, infidelity, betrayal and cheating are all acceptable to the established elite as long as the rules are followed. However, the fact that Gatsbys wealth comes from
bootlegging and other illegal means is a step too far for Daisy. The hypocrisy of this is not lost on the reader yet there is no sense of irony from Daisy herself. Mr Nobody from nowhere This is in many ways Toms most devastating line. Here he reminds Gatsby of his place in the social hierarchy. He may well have the house and the
wealth but he will always lack the social status required to truly be a match for Tom Buchanan. Interestingly, it is the recognition and admittance of both their infidelities which provokes a renewed sense of intimacy between the couple perhaps evidence of just how dysfunctional and destructive their relationship is at its core.
In groups, find three quotations which highlight this sense of intimacy and explain WHY you think Daisy chose Tom. Nevertheless, for the first time we glimpse a real and genuine sense of affection between the two in the hotel room, when Daisy admits even alone I cant say I never loved Tom. The listing of significant shared events over the last 5 years together emphasises
this intimacy which is again witnessed after the accident when they are seen conspiring together about the accident. In the end, when events spiral out of control, she retreats to the comfort and security of the oldmoney life. It is of course deeply ironic, that as she and Tom plot against him, Gatsby is protectively watching over her. Nevertheless, for the first time we glimpse a real and genuine sense of
affection between the two in the hotel room, when Daisy admits even alone I cant say I never loved Tom. The listing of significant shared events over the last 5 years together emphasises this intimacy which is again witnessed after the accident when they are seen conspiring together about the accident. In the end, when events spiral out of control, she retreats to the comfort and security of the oldmoney life. It is of course deeply ironic, that as she and Tom plot
against him, Gatsby is protectively watching over her. That she dies reaching out for the very thing she feared the most , Daisy, is especially revealing, as is the description of the accident. She is left kneeling, in an almost reverent pose while her thick, dark blood is reminiscent of her robust sexuality, vitality and passion. Even in her
death her sexuality is exposed and made public: her left breastswinging loose like a flap is an almost grotesque and gratuitous image, emphasising that she has been consumed and used up. Both Tom and Daisy have been instrumental in her death (she believed Tom was in the car and daisy killed her). Daisy doesnt even stop to mop up the mess she has made. When Nick leaves the
Buchanans house, he notices Gatsby standing there in his pink suit. He is determined to keep watch over Daisy, in the improbable hope that he can protect her from Toms anger. Right to the end, he casts himself as her hero prince, and she as the trapped princess in her castle fortress, Gatsby informs Nick that he intends to take the blame for Daisys mistake, thus casting
himself in a martyred role that will be more fully developed in the next chapter. As Nick leaves the scene, he comes across a lighted window. Inside, Tom and Daisy are nodding in agreement with one another: They weren't happy and yet they werent unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said they that they were conspiring together.
In pairs, discuss what you think Daisy and Tom are planning to do and justify your opinions using your knowledge of the novel as a whole. Daisy and Tom are obviously discussing how to frame Gatsby. It is therefore poignant and ironic that Gatsby keeps watch over Daisy until dawn watching over nothing. Far from being a romantic, like George, or an idealist like Gatsby. Daisy is a pragmatist like her husband. They are actually very well suited to each other. She
abandons all notions of Gatsby when details of his business practises are aired, and retreats into the solid, comfortable world of old money in the wake of the accident. Gatsbys refusal to accept Daisy's betrayal and the fact that he sticks with her to the bitter end is an indication of his idealism, his dedication to the dream. Even when faced with the certainty that she is lost to him, Gatsby refuses to relinquish the dream. He is a purist
and idealist. He will never settle. It is this which is both his most admirable quality and his downfall. This is a common theme in American literature the anti hero someone, who despite his flaws is ultimately elevated to heroic status. Gatsby is in constant turmoil yet paradoxically the turmoil inspires him. He is only content when aspiring for something. Once he has it within his grasp it is rendered worthless so he
changes the dream to suit. For example, at first he craved Daisy, when he couldnt have her he amended his dream to include financial success as a means to attract her. When finally he has Daisy in his reach he changes it again, trying to hold onto the voice which is of course unattainable. The logical conclusion to Gatsbys dream therefore will always be failure BUT although the dream is an illusion, it is nevertheless worth aspiring to In this way, Gatsbys life and death represents the American Dream itself. It is a dream devoted to spiritual
values, but once it is realised, it becomes corrupt. Gatsbys funeral takes place, with his father one of the very few mourners present. Henry Gatz speaks with pride of his sons attainment. Later, Nick contemplates the empty mansion and ponders the significance of
Gatsbys story. It is fitting that barely anyone attends the funeral. In death, as in life, Gatsby is isolated. This serves to highlight his unique capacity for hope, which sets him apart from the other characters. It is not until this chapter that the reader truly feels the profound loss of Gatsby, a character who is simultaneously both noble and corrupt. Fitzgerald makes us questions our own perceptions of a hero: Gatsby should not be a hero, yet he is. Despite his desperate attempts to be accepted into this repugnant social clique, he is abandoned by all who knew him and
supposedly cared for him most notably Daisy and Wolfsheim. Also, Gatsbys is ultimately sacrificed, just like Jesus, to reveal an important truth that the dream is corrupt but the aspiration of it is noble and worthwhile. The irony of Nick organising the funeral is that he has only known Gatsby for three months. The people who supposedly knew and loved him Daisy, Meyer Wolfsheim and Klipspringer all disappear. Nick says I wanted to get someone for him. He feels like we do that Gatsby was a man terrified of being alone.
He imagines Gatsby's corpse speaking to him: Look here, old sport, youve got to get someone for me. You've got to try hard. I cant go through this alone. A further irony is that Owl Eyes is the only person from the partygoers who attend his funeral a man of no vision and no capacity for understanding. Only the blindest partygoers saw Gatsby's truth. This episode reinforces the idea of Nicks solidity and lack of judgement. Despite Gatsby's obvious faults, he admires and respects his capacity for hope. A solemn old man, very helpless and dismayed,
bundled up in a long cheap Ulster his eyes leaked continuously the glass of milk spilled from his trembling hand his eyes, seeing nothing, moved ceaselessly about the room they leaked isolated and unpunctual tears. There is a chaotic sense of disorder in his movement and appearance. Unlike Gatsby, who can remain cool on a blisteringly hot day, he continually reacts to his environment. He sees nothing and so is contrasted with his son's ability to dream visions.
He holds out a picture of Gatsby's house for Nick to see. Nick comments: He had shown it so often that I think it was more real to him now than the house itself. In this way, the house is reminiscent of the green light at the end of Daisys dock, which was more truly representative of Gatsby's love for Daisy than Daisy
herself. The arrival of Gatsbys father only serves to remind us of the enormous scope and scale of Gatsbys journey and transformation. He could not be more different, both physically and in his character for his father and we can empathise a little more perhaps with Gatsbys
assertion that his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. Nicks decision to return to "my middle west the mid-west of small town America - the pulsating heartland of the new world a place of picket fences, apple pie and wholesomeness only serves to
contrast with the cruel, cold, calculating heartlessness of the East coast. Nick is repulsed by his experiences and it is only from returning home that he can hope to make sense of the events of the summer. The rubbing away of the profanity at Gatsbys house is a literal attempt to clear Gatsbys name, while the book fulfils the same function on a larger, metaphorical scale. The entire novel, in fact, is a reflective tribute to his threemonth friend, a man he admired despite his faults, and despite the vicious gossip of his contemporaries.
As he leaves, Nick reflects on the huge incoherent failure of Gatsby's house, a description which could be equally applied to Gatsby himself. The incoherence and failures of Gatsby, however, do not undermine his positive qualities his idealism, his capacity to hope and dream, his gift for self-invention and his instinctive sense of nobility. His assertion that this is a story of the West after all shows a level of self awareness and honestly not displayed by any other character. Indeed, Nick is the only character in the novel who is able to reflect and change because of his experiences. This is the part of the novel
where most readers shed a wee tear! We are left shocked and saddened by Gatsbys death, and feel anger at the ironic misconceptions and manipulations behind the scenes that led to his violent and unjustified murder. But it is perhaps true to say that, until the end, we dont exactly feel the loss of
Gatsby himself. This is the part of the novel where most readers shed a wee tear! We are left shocked and saddened by Gatsbys death, and feel anger at the ironic misconceptions and manipulations behind the scenes that led to his violent and unjustified murder. But
it is perhaps true to say that, until the end, we dont exactly feel the loss of Gatsby himself. Its only when we see Gatsby's place in the context of our world that we can see his life and death as having tragic consequences. Gatsby may be dead but in the final paragraphs, the climax of the novel sums up poetically and profoundly the impact of his life. Gatsbys struggle, is the struggle of all humanity and Nick again alludes
to the original pioneers on first glimpse of the New World. At the end of the novel, Nick subtly summarises Gatsby's place in the failure of the American Dream: as the moon rose higher, the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island that flowered once for Dutch sailors eyes a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of
all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity to wonder. Here, Nick reflects on the beauty and wonder of America at the dawn of modern civilisation. When the first Dutch settles arrived, they would have been awestruck by the rich natural beauty and promise of the continent.
Nick compares this old, untainted natural world with the waste of the modern world note how he refers to the houses on the Eggs as inessential and melting away. Yet again a parallel is drawn between Gatsby and the original pioneers. Just like them Gatsby hoped for something better, something to live up to his capacity for wonder. Nick further compares the early Dutch settlers with Gatsby, who must have felt the same overwhelming wonder at the sight of Daisys green light:
As I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I though of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the light at the end of Daisys dock. He had come along way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.
In groups, prepare to report back on why you think Gatsbys dream has ended in failure. Think about: Identify what Gatsbys dream was The value and worth of his dream Was his dream ever possible? Was Gatsby dream about the future? Why did Gatsby fail to grasp his dream? There are several reasons: His dream wasnt worth grasping Daisy did not love him in the real sense of the word. Her pragmatism at key moments
undermined Gatsby's truer love. It was clear from the start that she would make a solid connection with old money, and do anything to ensure the stability of her marriage. His dream was impossible it was not there for the taking. Like the Dutch settlers view of the old New York, it was a vision of promise that could never be realised. Just as Gatsby looks to Daisy as a symbol of the repeated past and cannot accept the consequences of her present life, the early settlers in America would not have been able to predict the catastrophic changes to American values in further centuries.
The American Dream became corrupt the moment it was realised. The pure, untouched beauty of that original vision disappeared and made way for consumerism, industrial development, power struggles and class systems. The original dream was destroyed by its future. Gatsbys dream only exists as a figment of the past he craves the idea of re-living the events of his first summer with Daisy, over and over again, constantly denying to himself and others the inevitability and
consequences of Time. He and Daisy only exist in the past. As such, Nick observes: He did not know that [the dream] was already behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity of the city. Gatsby's dream has been left behind in time, in the midwest. This is why he realised that he had lost the old warm world just as he died. So Gatsby is the man we should admire and cheer for. In a world with no dreams left to dream, he carries on believing in the future. He may be a deluded fool, but at least he risks everything for the promise of fulfilment.
The reader is left with a poignant picture of Gatsby battling against the current of Time, searching out his hopeless dream in the last famous lines of the novel. We feel a tremendous sense for empathy for Gatsby, as Nick describes how we all run along with him. We instinctively feel that the world needs a man like this, those who are unafraid to reach for dreams that are essentially beyond them: Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but thats 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.