The Great Gatsby End of Book Questions Flashcard Example #91580

Nick believes that he is an honest, non judgemental narrator. Discuss the reliability of Nick Carraway as the narrator of The Great Gatsby.
He stays sober and honest in all cases (except twice). He is taught from a young age not to be judgemental of others, and he is highly educated. He seems trustworthy and loyal. He is a reliable narrator because he does not show bias or favor to anyone.
The novel’s action occurs in the 1922 between June and September. How does Nick’s non-chronological narration shape your response to the events surrounding the mystery of Jay Gatsby?
He tells the readers what he knows about Gatsby as he learns it. He doesn’t know everything about him at the beginning (such as who he is, where he came from, how he got his money, etc.), but as Nick builds a friendship with him, he begins to learn more about him. You learn more as the story progresses.
What is Nick Carraway’s role in the novel? Consider Nick’s father advice in chapter one: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all of the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” Does telling the story from Nick’s point of view make it more believable?
Nick is the narrator of the novel. He moves in next to Gatsby and is a good friend to Daisy/Tom. When Nick’s father told him that, I would say that he had Nick’s best interests in mind. Because Nick grew up not judging others, this has made him a more reliable narrator because he is unbiased in his opinions. If the story was told from another character’s point of view it would not be as nearly as believable because Nick is a trustworthy, honorable, honest guy.
Why did Nick become involved with Jordan, and why did he break off the relationship?
Nick became involved with Jordan because of his relationship with Daisy and Tom. He broke the relationship off because he was sick of her immaturity and how she lied all of the time. He said she was on of the most dishonest and careless people he has ever known.
Whom do you think the characters in The Great Gatsby represent? Do they seem like real people? Which characters seem the most real to you? Who, if any, do you find most sympathetic? Most important, in what way do the events of the novel affect Nick Carraway? How, or to what degree, does he change?
It could represent the different types of people in the 1920’s. It also shows the different types of cultures and problems going on at the time. They seem like they could be real to me, except maybe the situation with George and Myrtle. The ones that seem the most real to me is Nick and Gatsby. It is true that you don’t know a lot about Gatsby, but there was a lot of new wealth going on at the time. The character I find most sympathetic would be Nick. I think this because he seems to be used a lot and he’s a good man . . nothing seems to work out for him. As the novel goes on, NIck becomes more aware of the situation that is going on and the true sides of people and his so called ‘friends.’ He becomes more realistic almost, and almost loses the ability to see the best in people.
How is the character of Jay Gatsby presented to the reader?
He is presented as somewhat mysterious and drawn back. He is a wealthy man who throws elaborate parties to draw people in, yet he seems that he isn’t very sociable. There are a lot of rumors going on about how he does illegal things.
What part of his past is Gatsby trying to recapture? Is he successful? Is there a person, feeling, or event in your past that you’d want to revisit? Gatsby, believes that the past can be repeated. Is he right?
He is trying to recapture his life with Daisy. He wants her back, but in the end it doesn’t matter. He is not right.
What do you think the sad thing that happened to Gatsby might be?
I think that his parents truly did die and he was left an orphan but with a lot of money. I think he went into the army because he was guilty over something that happened to them . . . he wanted to die.
Is Jay Gatsby great? What is the meaning of the title? In what way is Gatsby great? In other words is Fitzgerald title sincere… or ironic?
I don’t think that Jay Gatsby is great. Some may have thought of him like that when they were at his parties, but any other time, Gatsby is just a lonely man. I think the only way that Gatsby is “great” is because of his money. I think Fitzgerald was being ironic when he gave title to Gatsby. It might give you this idea of some awesome man in the beginning, as we read through the book though we find he isn’t as great as we first thought in the beginning. He only appears great.
Do you agree with Nick’s final assertion that Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”? Why or why not?
Nick said this quote after his many encounters with Gatsby, once he finally realized that Gatsby was pure of heart. Nick was initially (and justifiably) doubtful and suspicious of Gatsby–a shady ‘entrepreneur’ made rich by unspoken criminal means whose life goal was to win over the wife of another man. However, over time Nick’s doubts would become replaced by an aggrandizement of Gatsby and the steadfastness with which he held onto his dreams. By the end of the novel, Nick concluded that Gatsby had gone through all this trouble and became who he was just so that he could hopefully one day win back the love of his life…
What are the implications of Gatsby’s observation that Daisy’s voice is “full of money”?
He is implying that she has the tonal quality of never knowing want, of having always been well provided for, of being elatedly educated.
Why does Daisy sob into the “thick folds” of Gatsby’s beautiful shirts?
She says she has never seen such beautiful shirts, but that’s not the real reason why she is crying. She’s crying because she realizes all that she could have had with Gatsby and the life she has missed.
When Nick tells us that Daisy speaks’ with an expression unthoughtful sadness’ it is by no means clear what response we should make. What exactly is “unthoughtful sadness”? Is it good or bad?
Nick’s harsh way of describing Daisy makes it seem as though she cannot think or truly be empathetic. Likewise, when Nick depicts Daisy as shouting with “tense gayety” it reinforces the reader’s impression of Daisy as a shallow person, obsessed with outward appearances. Daisy is so phony that she would hide her unhappiness in front of her cousin, husband, and closest friend. Daisy’s reputation as the happy, beautiful girl that Gatsby is so in love with is more important to her than her own happiness.
Perhaps the novel’s climax occurs when Gatsby confronts Tom in New York. Did Daisy’s ultimate choice surprise you? Is it consistent with her character?
Her ultimate choice did surprise me. I did not realize that she was in love with Tom, as she appeared to not want to be with him anymore. This is not consistent with her character because before she appeared ti be more shallow, always going with what others wanted, and she finally spoke honestly about what she was feeling.
What is the symbolism of the green light that appears throughout the novel (at the end of Daisy’s pier, at intersections throughout the book)?
The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a significant symbol within the book. To Gatsby, the green light represents his dream, which is Daisy. To attain her would be completing Gatsby’s American Dream. The first time the green light is seen in the novel is also the first time Nick sees Gatsby. Fitzgerald writes, “…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…” The green light is described as ‘minute and far away’ which makes it appear impossible to reach. This will prove to be true for Gatsby. The green light also represents society’s desire and the seeming impossibility of achieving the materialistic American Dream. Further into the novel, it is revealed that Gatsby desire for Daisy is also his desire for the past. However now when he desires Daisy, he also desires the past that he shared with Daisy. At the end of the novel Nick concludes the book with these words, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” This describes Gatsby’s inability to move on from the past. Everything he does in the novel is to try and recreate the past. In this metaphor, Gatsby tries to goes against the currents—or time—to reach the green light or his dream. And as in the quote, the green light which represents his dream, ‘recedes’ like waves year by year.
Fitzgerald returns several times to describe a decrepit optical products sign – the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleberg – that hovers over “the valley of ashes.” What does that sign represent? What do the faded eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleberg symbolize? Is there a connection between this billboard and the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock?
They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point outright. Instead, throughout the novel, Fitzgerald suggests that symbols only have meaning because characters make them have meaning. The connection between the eyes of Doctor T. J.
Eckleburg and God exists only in George Wilson’s grief-stricken mind. This lack
of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Therefor, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning. Nick explores these ideas in Chapter 8, when he imagines Gatsby’s final thoughts as a depressed consideration of the emptiness of symbols and dreams. I would say that there is a connection because the light and the eyes are both symbols of something. The light is the symbol of the American Dream, and the eyes are a representation of God.
How does Fitzgerald foreshadow the tragedies at the end?
The last sentence as Tom, Jordan, and Nick are in the car before they happen upon Myrtle is, “So we drove on toward death…”. This foreshadows the next pages where Tom learns that Myrtle died, and eventually, Gatsby dies as well. I think the mysterious telephone call Gatsby receives from Chicago and Philadelphia (in chapter 9) about Gatsby foreshadowing not only his demise but Gatsby’s secrets coming out and hence the end of the story. Jordan and Nick discuss bad drivers both in Chapter 3 and Chapter 9. This directs directly to Daisy hitting and killing Myrtle in Gatsby’s car.
Does the novel critique or uphold the values of the Jazz Age and the fears of the Lost Generation?
In New York the Jazz Age was a time where hardly anybody worried about money. “It was in such a profusion around you.”(p.3,3.paragraph) and prodigality belonged to everybody’s life-style. This is also a reason for the hospitality that was indispensable for all the parties that were given. To throw a party is not a cheap affair and so stinginess was very unpopular and supposed to be unfriendly. Gatsby’s parties are typical for this time period. On his extravagant festivities “charm, notoriety and mere good manners weighted more than money as a social asset….The way the people dress during this jazz age period is also very interesting. Their hair is “shorn in strange new ways”(p.36,4) and around the women’s necks are “shawls beyond the dreams of Castile”(p.36,4).They wear “golden and silver slippers”(p.109) and the best example is Gatsby “in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie” (p.65) himself. Moreover, Gatsby’s guests are, of course, entertained by cocktail music played by a typical jazz orchestra consisting of oboes, trombones, saxophones, viols, cornets and piccolos, low and high drums (p.35). They know how to play popular jazz songs, for example the “neat, sad little waltz of that year” (p.82) “Three O’Clock in the Morning” or W.C.Handy’s (1873-1958) “Beale Street Blues”, a famous jazz blues melody. Another song that is played is Vladimir Tostoff’s “Jazz History of the World”. It upholds the Jazz Age and the Fears of the Lost Generation.
At the time The Great Gatsby appeared, the production and sale of alcoholic drinks were prohibited in America. What was the outcome of Prohibition? How did it impact upon the nation’s moral standards?
The Prohibition was disbanded due to the rise of organized crime and gangs. Most Americans greeted the end of the Prohibition era with relief. While the end of the conflict and lawlessness was a relief there was also a clear benefit that Americans could recognize. The legalization of alcohol meant that alcohol could be taxed by government; the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression and state and federal governments needed revenue to create relief programs. Despite the economic relief, it allowed for moral decline.
The 1920s was the decade of the “the flapper”, the young woman who exercised unprecedented freedom. Is Jordan Baker a “flapper”? Why?
Due to the prominence of the flapper image during the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald created the character of Jordan Baker to fit this stereotype. When Nick first encounters her, she is “extended full length at her end of the Buchanans’ divan”. This relaxed position suggests that she has a care-free attitude, which was common for females in this era. The narrator also claims that Jordan’s “complete self sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from him” (13). In this statement, he is not only addressing the pride and self-esteem the character exudes while keeping her chin raised and refusing to acknowledge his presence, but also describing a haughtiness that was unremarkable for a young lady of the Roaring Twenties to possess. Even Jordan Baker’s flapper physique reminds readers of the ideal woman of the era when Nick describes her as a “slender, small breasted girl” . In addition, he notices a vivacity in her movements and how she self-assuredly wears her evening dresses like sportswear. The young man then confirms this tomboyish body type as the most accepted of the time when he lustfully admits, “I enjoyed looking at her”. The narrator also mentions the “erect carriage” she made by thrusting “her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet.” Again, this bold mannerism reinforces the reader’s impression of her as slightly vain, with the stern posture of an athlete.
Do you think Jay Gatsby represents the American dream? What do you think Fitzgerald is saying about the american dream in the 1920s? What statement might Fitzgerald be making about the mores or ethos or american culture.
Jay Gatsby in particular can be seen as a representative of the corruption of the American Dream. As a young man he believed in the commonly held views that “character” was essential for success. We can see this clearly in the notebook that he kept as a young man, filled with self-improvement plans, most of which focus on building “good character”. The irony, of course, is that Gatsby grows up to be a criminal. Gatsby succeeds in attaining great wealth (part of the “Dream”) but he becomes a corrupted figure morally. The element of self-improvement that is integral to the American Dream becomes highly ironic in Gatsby as his character does not improve as his bank account grows. We can see a similar moral way represented in the figures of Jordan, Daisy, and Tom – all people who have the means to be satisfied with their lives yet who cheat in one way or another. Money does not “improve” people but seems to corrupt them instead. Thus the American Dream becomes an aspiration to material wealth and no more, losing the moral aspect of its promise of “the good life”.
In what ways does Fitzgerald present a tension between Modernism and Victorianism in The Great Gatsby?
Modernism was a philosophical and artistic movement of the early 20th century which portrayed the world of men as a harsh, hostile environment in which life had lost its meaning and men and women were isolated from each other, struggling to survive alone. This world is one in which our dreams are unrealistic and futile.
Modernist characters who are: On a quest to either understand themselves or to recreate themselves into something different than who they were born, or those trying to live as meaningfully as possible in a difficult world. They are, in effect, attempting to live in a world that has lost rationality, morality and value. The new world is characterized by loose morality and transitory pleasures. All of Gatsby’s characters are representative of the modern world: wealth, social class, industry, and organized crime. The novel, therefore, becomes a critique of what is wrong with 20th century America. Fitzgerald left the Victorian era behind, creating a Modernist masterwork that still serves as a model for American fiction.
Fitzgerald’s protagonist Jay Gatsby is the ultimate modernist hero: He is a man who refuses to accept the life into which he was born, and he undertakes an incredible task: to reinvent himself into something completely different. His faith in himself and his dream is extraordinary, and it sets him apart in his world. It also isolates him, and, in the end, it marks him for destruction.
Compare and contrast the districts of West Egg and East Egg. Discuss.
East Egg is the place where the established wealthy people live. The homes are old and classic, and there are all the accoutrements of the rich–such as stables and polo fields. Tom and Daisy live here. It’s the more sedate and dignified of the two Eggs. West Egg is where the rich Gatsby lives, but right next to his new, European-inspired mansion is Nick’s $80-a-month shack. Gatsby’s money is “new,” and he would have had no option to build in East Egg. Instead, he builds an out-of-place home on West Egg. Interestingly enough, though, there are plenty of East Egg men and women who show up at Gatsby’s parties with people other than their spouses and act like drunken fools once they’re there. Apparently the behavior while on the East Egg must be proper and appropriate to the dignity of “old” money. A visit to the West Egg, however, apparently allows them to be as wild and dissolute as they wish. The East and West Egg appearance and behavior is one of the great hypocrisies found in this novel.
Think about the 2 worlds, the Midwest and the East, as Fitzgerald describes them, and what they represent for Nick and for Gatsby.
As Fitzgerald describes the two worlds, the Midwest and the East, life is better in the East, and people move from the Midwest to the East to fulfill their dreams and live their lives. Gatsby and Nick were both born and raised in the Midwest and then went to the war and ended up on the East Coast. The East seems to represent a place to find love for Gatsby, he knows Daisy lives in New York and moves there in hope of finding her. The East seems to represent a new beginning for Nick. He moves there knowing no one but Daisy and has to start over.
Compare and Contrast Gatsby’s social class with that of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. How does geography contribute to the definition of social class in The Great Gatsby?
Gatsby’s social class and social life is different from the Buchanan’s because Gatsby is always having luxurious parties at his home with tons of people he doesn’t even know while the Buchanan’s stay at home with their child. Geography contributes to the definition of social class in The Great Gatsby because Gatsby is able to travel the world and live different experiences. Gatsby lives in West Egg where people from all over come to party and meet others. East Egg is not as fashionable as West Egg and seems to be more conservative.
Fitzgerald wrote, “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” What did he have to say in Gatsby?
He was trying to get across that it doesn’t matter how much you change to win someone over- they will always stick to what they are used to. Daisy was never willing to leave her husband for Gatsby. When they were younger Daisy was sort of in love with him but felt he was not good enough for her. He changed because he was so deeply in love with her that he would do anything to get her to love him again. Although Daisy kind of loved him still, she was never going to leave her husband because he had always been rich and great, which was the opposite of Gatsby. Don’t get caught up in money . . . and you cannot repeat the past.
Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J Bruccoli claims the Great Gatsby does not proclaim the nobility of the human spirit it is not politically correct, it does not reveal how to solve the problems of life, it delivers no fashionably or comforting messages, it is just a masterpiece.” Do you agree?
I agree. In Gatsby he doesn’t seems to be saying anything other than than this was the behavior of certain individuals in certain classes at that particular time. To be a “masterpiece” it has to have the power to affect you, to bring you in and make you want to stay. Mr Bruccoli was correct in his first statement and I agree that Fitzgerald was a very talented writer but lacking in ideas, the novel as a whole lacked substance and though the characters are perhaps memorable the plot and details are not. I have to say again that I do not really understand the attention given to this novel.The plot failed to engage me. On the other hand, it has been around over 80 years and sells very well every year and I’m sure not all the readers are students being forced to read it on school curriculums so, in that respect, it must at least be “a classic”?
What makes The Great Gatsby a classic novel? What has it maintained its place in American literature?
The Great Gatsby is a classic novel for its portrayal of a man who has everything, but nothing at the same time. He dreams of love and a simple life yet he can’t seem to find it. Many people simplify the American dream to money, power, and senseless social interaction. The American dream, we believe, is open to change; however the person wishes it to change. While this is true many people get stuck in this dreamworld of America as a pure heaven. Many take it for granted and get crushed by its illusions. This novel takes the idea of the American dream and presents that dream as the young adults of the 1920s accepted it. The Great Gatsby has maintained its place in history because of it’s unblinking look into the lives of young Americans living a delusional American dream.

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