Please complete reading “The Great Gatsby” this week (and please do watch the film version of it, which will add to your appreciation of the work).
I recommend watching the 2013 film adaptation of the novel, which is on Amazon Prime.
Here is another excellent version from 1974 starring the legendary actors Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. This is a free version.
IN YOUR FINAL POST, I WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE ON WHAT CAPTURED YOUR ATTENTION IN THE NOVEL AND/OR FILM. BE SPECIFIC (cite particular scenes/lines/examples) ABOUT THE MANNER IN WHICH THE WORK RESONATES IN 2023, 100 YEARS AFTER ITS PUBLICATION. SO MUCH IS WRITTEN ON THIS WORK; PLEASE OFFER YOUR OWN PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE.
We have two weeks remaining for our course. Be sure to check the gradebook link (on the right) to see that you are caught up with your assignments. Be especially sure to have uploaded (and revised) your Modernism/Harlem Renaissance assignment. This assignment counts as your final formal essay.
For this week, I ask that you keep reading The Great Gatsby. It’s also a great time to watch the film version of it.
The first half of the film captures the first two chapters that you have read for this week. Please read chapters 3-6 this week.
In chapter 3, Nick Carraway (our narrator) finally meets his wealthy elusive neighbor (Jay Gatsby). In Chapter 4, we learn about the rumors of who the Great Gatsby might really be. But when Jay takes Nick for a ride in his beautiful yellow Rolls Royce for a trip into the city, he learns the truth. But, of course, the truth about one’s identity is multifaceted, as this novel explores. Chapter 5 is the moment when Daisy and Gatsby come face to face again (they were sweet-hearts before he went to Europe to fight in WWI – and took way too much time coming back!).
When you complete the novel (and hopefully watch the film), I ask that you post a final comment, reflecting on the work as it relates to a theme that persists today in 2023 (morality, identity, class issues, gender issues, the frailty of “fame” in the age of social media, finding authentic meaning, etc.). Final Post Due: Monday, May 22
So far, you have done an outstanding job exploring some emerging themes and commenting on key lines.
The Illusion of the American Dream
Tasneim, for example, writes how the novel critiques “the concept of the “American Dream” — the basic American idea that anybody can succeed through drive and dedication, no matter their background or status. But this book proves that this dream is only a dream and not reality.”
Collisions of Class
Jamil notes the important class distinctions in the novel, writing “I was impressed at how conscious Nick was about the differing class structure and his position within it. He seems super aware of it and its effect on the world around him. This is most apparent in chapter one when he is having lunch with Daisy and Tom. Everything about them and their home seems so posh and bourgeois. There’s something about their nonchalant, entitled attitude that unsettles Nick. I think this sort brings into question the point and the meaning in all of this. What is the meaning of wealth and how does this relate to what life is really all about at the end of the day?”
Wilson adds to this topic, writing “Things were difficult for those in lower social standing. No matter how high they climb, ones in upper social standing set the bar higher. And even if they reach upper class, there will be no difference in attitude because of their birthright.” When we get to the final chapters, we’ll see how Jay Gatsby, rich as he is, doesn’t finally have the same standing at Tom and Daisy Buchanan.
Nim writes that “The Great Gatsby” is a great novel because of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s way of presenting the difficulties in a romantic relationship. For example, Myrtle married Wilson because he was an [alleged} gentleman, but the passion she had for him dissipated as he could not provide her with a materialistic type of lifestyle. … While Myrtle really likes Tom, Tom does not have the same mutual attraction. Although being a unbelievably rude person, he is still committed to Daisy and doesn’t believe in divorce.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is particularly well known for his fine writing and remarkable, telling quotes abound
Anthony picked up on a key quote from the start of the novel. “Nick recalls how his father once told him: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” This quote is significant because it sets the tone for the rest of the novel and highlights the theme of privilege that runs throughout.”
Michael focuses on another fascinating line.
When describing her recently conceived daughter, Daisy states, “I hope she’ll be a fool. That’s the best thing she can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” The story line depicts a time when women weren’t traditionally put in places of business and / or power. Intelligence within women wasn’t looked at admirably and the average women would have a better life by simply attracting the best man they could within those powers.” With Michael, I agree that Daisy deserves greater empathy owing to the restrictions of women (even wealthy debutantes like her) during that time. She also seems to be one of the sharpest characters in the novel, certainly brainier then her blow-hard, racist husband, Tom.
Argelia too discusses this quote, writing that “Daisy is not a fool but is the product of a social environment that, to a great extent, does not value intelligence in women.” Given these restrictions, a “girl can only have fun if she is beautiful and simplistic.”
And, of course, let’s not forget the grand symbolism in the novel. There are the “blind eyes” of Dr. Eckleburg (a billboard for glasses) that hover over an immoral cityscape, and, as Rebecca notes, the recurring green light. In one sense, it represents “a beacon, a star that points to his great love, Daisy.” When Nick sees Gatsby look at the light in chapter one, stretching out his arms, it seems to be “a gesture full of longing and desire… It is the color of money as well.” Look for this green light at the end of the novel as well. The film too does a great job playing on the multivarious meanings of the green light.