Buy Study Guide While The Great Gatsby is a highly specific portrait of American society during the Roaring Twenties, its story is also one that has been told hundreds of times, and is perhaps as old as America itself: a man claws his way from rags to riches, only to find that his wealth cannot afford him the privileges enjoyed by those born into the upper class. The central character is Jay Gatsby, a wealthy New Yorker of indeterminate occupation. Gatsby is primarily known for the lavish parties he throws each weekend at his ostentatious Gothic mansion in West Egg. He is suspected of being involved in illegal bootlegging and other underworld activities. Nick is a young man from a prominent Midwestern family.
|Published (Last):||27 January 2010|
|PDF File Size:||19.91 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||19.39 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Buy Study Guide While The Great Gatsby is a highly specific portrait of American society during the Roaring Twenties, its story is also one that has been told hundreds of times, and is perhaps as old as America itself: a man claws his way from rags to riches, only to find that his wealth cannot afford him the privileges enjoyed by those born into the upper class.
The central character is Jay Gatsby, a wealthy New Yorker of indeterminate occupation. Gatsby is primarily known for the lavish parties he throws each weekend at his ostentatious Gothic mansion in West Egg.
He is suspected of being involved in illegal bootlegging and other underworld activities. Nick is a young man from a prominent Midwestern family. Educated at Yale, he has come to New York to enter the bond business. For the most part, he plays only a peripheral role in the events of the novel; he prefers to remain a passive observer. West Egg is home to the nouveau riche, people who lack established social connections, and who tend to vulgarly flaunt their wealth.
Tom is a former football player, a brutal bully obsessed with the preservation of class boundaries. Daisy, by contrast, is an almost ghostlike young woman who affects an air of sophisticated boredom. The two later become romantically involved. After visiting Tom and Daisy, Nick goes home to West Egg; there, he sees Gatsby gazing at a mysterious green light across the bay. Gatsby stretches his arms out toward the light, as though to catch and hold it.
Wilson is the husband of Myrtle, with whom Tom has been having an affair. Tom tells Myrtle to join them later in the city. Nearby, on an enormous billboard, a pair of bespectacled blue eyes stares down at the barren landscape.
These eyes once served as an advertisement; now, they brood over all that occurs in the valley of ashes. In the city, Tom takes Nick and Myrtle to the apartment in Morningside Heights at which he maintains his affair. The more she drinks, the more aggressive Myrtle becomes; she begins taunting Tom about Daisy, and he reacts by breaking her nose. The party, unsurprisingly, comes to an abrupt end.
At the party, few of the attendees know Gatsby; even fewer were formally invited. Before the party, Nick himself had never met Gatsby: he is a strikingly handsome, slightly dandified young man who affects an English accent. Gatsby asks to speak to Jordan Baker alone; after talking with Gatsby for quite a long time, she tells Nick that she has learned some remarkable news. She cannot yet share it with him, however. He claims to come from a wealthy San Francisco family, and says that he was educated at Oxford after serving in the Great War during which he received a number of decorations.
At lunch, Gatsby introduces Nick to his business associate, Meyer Wolfsheim. Wolfhsheim is a notorious criminal; many believe that he is responsible for fixing the World Series. Gatsby mysteriously avoids the Buchanans. Jordan subtly intimates that he is still in love with her, and she with him. Gatsby asks Nick to arrange a meeting between himself and Daisy.
Gatsby has meticulously planned their meeting: he gives Daisy a carefully rehearsed tour of his mansion, and is desperate to exhibit his wealth and possessions. Gatsby is wooden and mannered during this initial meeting; his dearest dreams have been of this moment, and so the actual reunion is bound to disappoint. Despite this, the love between Gatsby and Daisy is revived, and the two begin an affair. He was born James Gatz in North Dakota, but had his name legally changed at the age of seventeen.
There he meets both Nick and Gatsby, to whom he takes an immediate dislike. To Tom, Gatsby is part of the "new rich," and thus poses a danger to the old order that Tom holds dear.
Nick realizes that Gatsby wants Daisy to renounce her husband and her marriage; in this way, they can recover the years they have lost since they first parted. After his reunion with Daisy, Gatsby ceases to throw his elaborate parties. The only reason he threw such parties was the chance that Daisy or someone who knew her might attend.
Daisy invites Gatsby, Nick and Jordan to lunch at her house. In an attempt to make Tom jealous, and to exact revenge for his affair, Daisy is highly indiscreet about her relationship with Gatsby. She even tells Gatsby that she loves him while Tom is in earshot. Although Tom is himself having an affair, he is furious at the thought that his wife could be unfaithful to him. He forces the group to drive into the city: there, in a suite at the Plaza Hotel, Tom and Gatsby have a bitter confrontation.
On the trip back to East Egg, Gatsby allows Daisy to drive in order to calm her ragged nerves. Nick advises Gatsby to leave town until the situation calms. Gatsby, however, refuses to leave: he remains in order to ensure that Daisy is safe.
George Wilson, driven nearly mad by the death of his wife, is desperate to find her killer. Tom Buchanan tells him that Gatsby was the driver of the fatal car. After the murder, the Buchanans leave town to distance themselves from the violence for which they are responsible. Only Meyer Wolfsheim shows a modicum of grief, and few people attend the funeral. Thoroughly disgusted with life in New York, Nick decides to return to the Midwest. Before his departure, Nick sees Tom Buchanan once more.
Nick muses that Gatsby, alone among the people of his acquaintance, strove to transform his dreams into reality; it is this that makes him "great.
The Great Gatsby Quotes
As the story opens, Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island, seeking his fortune as a bond salesman. Shortly after his arrival, Nick travels across the Sound to the more fashionable East Egg to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom, a hulking, imposing man whom Nick had known in college. There he meets professional golfer Jordan Baker. When Nick returns home that evening, he notices his neighbor, Gatsby, mysteriously standing in the dark and stretching his arms toward the water, and a solitary green light across the Sound.
The Great Gatsby
Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. And that poor little girl, born alone into a lonely world. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. Chapter 2 Nick Carraway About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land.