ENG2201 Spring 2023

Finish “The Great Gatsby”; Final Post Due: Monday, May 22

Hi Students,

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.

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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.

Entangled Relationships

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.

35 Comments

  1. Eleonora Inoyatova

    One of the central themes of the novel is the pursuit of the American Dream and the emptiness and disillusionment that can result from it. This theme still resonates in 2023, as many people continue to chase material success and fame, often at the expense of their relationships and personal well-being.

    Another theme that is relevant today is the idea of social class and the corrupting influence of wealth and privilege. The characters in the novel are obsessed with their social status and use their wealth as a means of gaining power and influence. This theme is still prevalent in modern society, where the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen.

    Additionally, the novel touches on themes of identity and the search for meaning and purpose in life. The characters struggle with their own sense of self and their place in the world, and these struggles are still common today as people grapple with questions of who they are and what they want to achieve in life.

    Finally, the novel raises important questions about morality and the nature of good and evil. The characters are often morally ambiguous, and their actions have consequences that ripple through the story. This theme remains relevant today, as individuals and society as a whole continue to grapple with questions of ethics and morality.

    Overall, “The Great Gatsby” is a timeless work of literature that continues to resonate with readers today. Its themes of the pursuit of the American Dream, social class, identity, and morality are all still relevant in 2023 and beyond.

    • Eleonora Inoyatova

      In the novel, characters like Jay Gatsby and the Buchanans present themselves as wealthy and glamorous, but their lives are often marked by superficiality and moral corruption. As an example, in todays world we can draw a parallel with the pervasive influence of social media. Many people carefully curate their online personas, showcasing only the highlights of their lives and emphasizing material possessions, luxurious experiences, and social connections. This image crafting often leads to a distorted perception of reality, where people may feel pressured to live up to an idealized version of success and happiness. However, behind these carefully constructed facades, there can be a profound sense of disconnection and emptiness. People may find themselves striving for validation through likes, followers, and virtual admiration, yet still feeling unfulfilled or lacking authentic relationships. Moreover, the social media landscape can also be rife with instances of moral corruption, as individuals may engage in unethical practices to maintain or enhance their online image. This can involve purchasing fake followers, engaging in deceptive marketing strategies, or engaging in cyberbullying and online harassment. By examining the illusions of social status in “The Great Gatsby” alongside the phenomenon of social media, we can see how the novel’s exploration of superficiality, disconnection, and moral compromise resonates now a days. It serves as a reminder that true fulfillment and authentic relationships cannot be found solely through the pursuit of external validation, but rather through genuine connections, personal values, and a deeper understanding of oneself.

      • Mark Noonan

        Nicely done Eleonora.

  2. Raynel fabre

    To start off, “The Great Gatsby” remains a captivating and thought-provoking novel that continues to resonate in 2023, particularly in its exploration of the frailty of “fame” in the age of social media. Gatsby’s lavish parties and extravagant lifestyle parallel the carefully curated online personas we witness today, emphasizing the transient and superficial nature of fame and validation.

    Moreover, the novel’s examination of identity remains relevant. In an era where individuals can shape their online personas, blurring the lines between reality and fabrication, Gatsby’s reinvention as James Gatz speaks to the age-old desire to construct and project idealized versions of ourselves. The novel prompts us to reflect on the consequences of living inauthentically and the importance of finding genuine meaning and purpose beyond the facades we create.

    In addition, “The Great Gatsby” prompts us to question the quest for authentic meaning in a world saturated with distractions and instant gratification. In our pursuit of happiness and fulfillment, the novel reminds us that superficial achievements and external validations may offer fleeting satisfaction but often fail to provide lasting meaning. It encourages us to seek genuine connections, meaningful relationships, and a deeper understanding of ourselves, challenging the notion that material possessions or social status alone can bring true fulfillment.

    Lastly, “The Great Gatsby” endures as a powerful work of literature precisely because it touches on themes that persist in 2023. It reminds us to critically examine the fragile nature of fame, the complexities of identity, the significance of class issues, and the search for authentic meaning in a world that can easily deceive us. By grappling with these themes, the novel encourages us to reflect on our own values, aspirations, and the ways in which we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of our contemporary society.

    • Mark Noonan

      Raynel,

      Please be sure to pick out specific scenes and/or lines to make your point (from the film or novel). I don’t hear your voice in this post.

      “the age-old desire to construct and project idealized versions of ourselves” ?! Lines like this are way too generic. 

      • Raynel fabre

        To begin with, “The Great Gatsby” remains a captivating and thought-provoking novel that continues to resonate in 2023, particularly in its exploration of the frailty of “fame” in the age of social media. Gatsby’s lavish parties and extravagant lifestyle parallel the carefully curated online personas we witness today, emphasizing the transient and superficial nature of fame and validation.

        Moreover, Jay Gatsby the protagonist pursues identity. He accumulates wealth and hosts lavish parties to impress others to win back the love of Daisy Buchanan. The form of identity is further amplified through the contrasting characters of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who represent the established elite. They appear to possess the ideal identity—wealth, privilege, and social standing.

        In today’s society, identity is defined by a fact or what someone is. The central theme pursuit of the American Dream which is something that many people still believe in because a lot of foreign countries come to the United States to accomplish the American Dream of becoming successful. Most people are influenced by social class nowadays because that’s a way of connecting with one another since people want to pretend that they are all “equal.” The story showed how they are so interested in their social class to their own benefits of power and wealth. The rich and poor is still a thing during this time period and it has always been a thing since the past.

        In addition, the pursuit of the American Dream, which Gatsby embodies, continues to captivate individuals in contemporary society. People aspire to achieve success, wealth, and recognition, often at the cost of their authentic identity and personal well-being. The longing for social mobility and the constant comparison to others can lead to an identity crisis as individuals struggle to reconcile their true selves with the facades they construct to fit societal expectations.

        Finally, “The Great Gatsby” serves as a timeless cautionary tale, reminding us that the relentless pursuit of identity and the American Dream can have profound consequences. It urges us to reflect on the importance of authenticity, the dangers of materialism, and the significance of genuine human connections in shaping our identities in a world that often encourages superficiality.

  3. Jamil

    As I make my way through the final chapters of The Great Gatsby, I take a breath in pause for a second to reflect on meaning and let sink in what I’ve let fly over me. There are several central themes in this novel. However, I’ve been unsuccessful in going about identifying exactly how many lol. If I had to guess, I’d say there are about 4 or 5. Of those few, I cannot seem to turn my head away from this theme of class formation. So, I thought to expand on this one a little further for my final thoughts. I get a sense that much of what I’m reading is about an American Dream deferred if you will, materialism in some of its most grotesque forms, and class antagonisms to an extent that one would consider morally repugnant. I really focused in on chapter 7 at the point of Myrtle’s death and came to recognize this as a climactic or very critical piece of the novel. I feel like the Buchanan’s were ultimately responsible for Myrtle’s death being that Daisy was behind the wheel, for starters. The Buchanans seem to have the social status and material resources that enable them to avoid culpability and accountability for the pain inflicted in the wake of the destruction they had caused. The overall nonchalant disposition and blatant disregard for Myrtle’s death underlines how their self-centered entitlement can lead to real-life consequences. And It’s because of this that Nick packed up his things and went back home to where he came from. Can you blame him? The Buchanan’s attitude is still thriving to this day. Although not exactly the same circumstances, the general attitude in this scene of chapter 7 makes me think of 2020 during the height of the pandemic and all of the lockdowns. Society was falling apart and people were dying from a disease we really didn’t know much about. What it highlighted for us in the US, at least, were the race and class antagonisms at play. COVID affected poor people (Black and Brown folks more specifically) much more disproportionately than it affected any other demographic. The situation was dire and precarious, yet you had these self-centered, entitled, conservatives who didn’t have vulnerable populations in mind whatsoever. These folks felt that the rules set up to protect all of us didn’t apply to them and so they blatantly disregarded those rules and those people. We’ll never actually know how many lives were lost because of this. We’ll never really know how many wealthy people profited from the pandemic and hoarded immense resources, were responsible for the deaths of so many during that time—and in 2023. Some of them were even lawmakers. So we see how this recurring theme has affected mankind for centuries. Chapter 8, I believe, ends in Gatsby’s death. I think the symbology around Gatsby’s death is ultimately the failure of this American Dream that he seems to be characterized by. I get the sense that he’s supposed to be the embodiment of it.

    • Mark Noonan

      Great post Jamil. It think it’s particularly interesting to connect the theme of immorality to the disproportionate effect of Covid on the poor (and black and brown) populations. The “self-centered, entitled, conservative” upper-class world that the Buchanans represent (back in the 1920s and today) clearly made this situation worse and reinforced already fraught class divisions, as you insightfully point out.

      Per our conversation, here are three literature classes by great professors that I recommend for you (one in African American Studies Dept./ two from English Dept).

      22381 AFR Contemporary Black Writers (Online Asynchronous) Prof. Ferrell

      22942 ENG 2300 Great Works of Literature Prof. Hanley (in-person M/W 8:30-9:45)

      22306 ENG 2001 Introduction to Fiction Prof. Kwong (Online Asynchronous)

  4. Linnette

    The Great Gatsby highlights the issue of inequality between men and women, which exists to this day in multiple parts of the world. Daisy Buchanan is stuck in a toxic marriage with Tom Buchanan, forced to put up with Tom’s mistress and his constant cheating. Daisy acknowledges that in terms of her role in this toxic marriage, she cannot do anything to speak out about it, or get out of it, considering social norms expected women to be submissive to their husbands and essentially act as “beautiful little fools.” While Daisy is a part of the upper class of society, all the money and power she has essentially comes from her husband. Daisy does not have her own income because she is expected to be a housewife. While women’s rights have improved across the world, there are still inequalities across different parts of the world where women are considered as inferior to men and expected to take on a housewife role. Tom Buchanan also gets away with a lot of his wrongdoings because he is a man who holds a considerable amount of wealth and position of power, which is again relatable to this day because white women who have a good amount of wealth and position of power are more likely to have their wrongdoings overlooked due to their higher position in society. 

    • Mark Noonan

      Excellent connection of GG to women’s limited rights today, Linnette.

  5. rebecca shvarts

    Although F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby to describe his own times, I believe it still holds relevance for readers today. This story delves into universal human themes of unrequited love, resistance to fate, absurd societal constructs, false nostalgia, and those truly timeless elements of human life.

    One idea that is central to this novel is the false promise of the American Dream. Despite his wealth, Gatsby is looked down on by those like Tom Buchanan as nouveau riche. No matter what Gatsby can achieve, he will always be less than in Tom’s eyes. Tom views Gatsby’s yellow Rolls Royce quite negatively, referring to it as a ”circus wagon” and implying that it demonstrates the tackiness of Gatsby’s ”new money” ways. As is still the case in modern times, it is quite common for ”old money” families to feel as if they are superior to ”new money” ones and the rivalry between Tom and Gatsby clearly shows this. Daisy prefers “old money”, which is clean and honorable, and would never accept Jay’s wealth. She made that decision by marrying Tom, marrying into ‘old money’, while understanding that it will give her a higher status in society. Today, it is still questionable, if it’s possible to rise to any height in society or if the establishment classes will continue to resist your acceptance. Fitzgerald wrote his novel to show the false promise of the American Dream back in his time, and if someone’s American Dream is still all about money, your dream might destroy you in the end.

    Fitzgerald also shows the elite class to be full of snobs and selfish hypocrites. Nick calls them “careless.” Throughout the story, people like Tom, Daisy, and Jordan go through life with little concern for how their actions affect other people. Modern readers can see that this gap between elites and the lower classes still exists. F. Scott Fitzgerald often uses the color grey to represent lifelessness and the distinction between the upper and lower classes of society. The novel’s reference to the lower-class area is nicknamed the ”Valley of Ashes.” This area is full of trains referred to as a ”line of grey cars” manned by ”ash-grey men.” It is described as ”grey land” with ”spasms of bleak dust” arising from it, and Nick sees various people living there, including a ”grey, scrawny Italian child” and a ”grey old man.” While the upper class is described with the bright and vivid colors there seems to be a huge difference for those living in the grey, lifeless ”Valley of Ashes,” and this distinction between classes is a very important theme within the novel.

    Other themes of this story are things that nearly anyone could identify with. Gatsby keeps trying to live in the past, something that many people continue to do. Fitzgerald seems to say with this story that it is impossible to return to the past. Throughout human history, people have been caught in the trap of trying to recreate something that is gone forever, making this message of the book something that continues to be relevant.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very thoughtful final thoughs on this novel Rebecca. I particularly like your provocation close.

  6. Lubna Mojumder

    I take a breath, pause for a moment, think about the significance, and allow what I’ve allowed sail over me to soak in as I read The Great Gatsby’s closing chapters. This book has a number of major themes. I haven’t been able to figure out how many though with any success. I would venture an estimate that there are around five or six. Of those select few, the topic of class formation is one that I find difficult to ignore. I thus decided to elaborate a bit more on this one for my concluding remarks. I have the impression that most of what I’m reading is about a postponed version of the American Dream, hideous types of materialism, and extreme class rivalries that are morally unpleasant. When Myrtle passed away, I really zeroed in on chapter 7, and I eventually realized that this was the novel’s climax or pivotal chapter. I believe that the Buchanans were ultimately to blame for Myrtle’s passing since, for one thing, Daisy was the driver. The Buchanans appear to have the social standing and the means to escape responsibility and accountability for the suffering caused by the havoc they had wrought. The general air of indifference and apparent contempt for Myrtle’s passing highlight how their egotistical entitlement may have negative real-world repercussions. And as a result, Nick gathered his belongings and returned to his place of origin. Is it fair to blame him? The Buchanan’s way of thinking is still going strong today. Although the circumstances are not precisely the same, the general mindset in this chapter 7 scenario reminds me of 2020 at the height of the epidemic with all the lockdowns. People were dying from an illness we knew little about as society was disintegrating. It brought to light the class and racial tensions that were present, at least for those of us in the US.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very powerful assessment of the novel, Lubna, and connection to 2020. These lines are particularly potent:

      People were dying from an illness we knew little about as society was disintegrating. It brought to light the class and racial tensions that were present, at least for those of us in the US.

  7. Olga Almanzar

    Although The Great Gatsby was published decades ago, many of the character’s actions and the situations they find themselves in are still relevant today. The rich and renowned rule the globe and its less fortunate subjects. We still employ the same tangible objects used to represent individuals and their circumstances in the book as we do now. People have always, and will always, be more attracted to those in higher socioeconomic brackets. There are striking similarities between Gatsby’s society and our own in the novel’s depiction of consumerism, shallow relationships, and the illusions of fame and stardom. 

    In the novel, the West Egg, the East Egg, and the Valley of Ashes all have different levels of riches. We live in a world where, just as in the book, individuals are treated differently based on their socioeconomic status. We see this now as individuals attempt to exploit their riches to take advantage of others and blend in, just as Gatsby does. We still witness examples of how money governs the world and the individuals described in the book.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very interesting commentary, Olga, on how “money” still dictates peoples’ thoughts and actions, today.

  8. lindseyaranda

    Social class is a theme in Great Gatsby’s novel and is persistent in contemporary society. The social class of a person impacts their truth and morality. In the novel, Fitzgerald illustrates how social class impacts a person’s moral identity. The characters of Jordan, Tom and Daisy in the novel belong to new money inherited with wealth and authority. Characters in the story believe that money and power can bring eternal happiness. This is similar to the current era in 2023, where social class persists, and with the inflation in the economy, those who are considered poor continue to suffer while rich and powerful people continue to accumulate wealth. The novel has an unequal social class and authority, which individuals struggle with at a younger age. In the current year, 2023, youth are struggling to amass wealth and be rich at a young age, leading them to engage in dangerous behaviors such as drug dealing. Although wealth and social class bring happiness to characters, this is only temporary.

    • Mark Noonan

      Lindsey, I like how you connect to false allure of easy money and fame to today’s younger generation.

  9. Nim Tse

    In The Great Gatsby, I was sad to read on Gatsby’s unexpected death from Wilson’s gun. I consider this as a significant scene as it portrays an end to Gatsby’s American Dream. Gatsby has been a person who has dedicated his life to working into becoming part of a wealthy class. To achieve something in that society requires the ingredient of hard work. Although Gatsby was able to achieve that, he couldn’t achieve in winning Daisy over Tom Buchanan. The scene that displeases me before Gatsby’s death was the interaction he and Nick had regarding Myrtle’s death. Gatsby knew of Myrtle’s death by saying “I thought so.” Although it was his automobile, Daisy was the one driving the car. Gatsby’s way of showing his love for Daisy by saying he drove the car was not worth his death. The reason I say this is that it doesn’t serve justice regarding who killed Myrtle. It resonates in 2023 because as an American, we have the responsibility in serving justice for those that did wrong. When Tom Buchanan’s words influenced Wilson to find Gatsby and kill him, it still presents unfair social issues that we face in current society. Although Tom is an affluent figure, it does not mean that he cannot be a good citizen and follow the law in telling the truth. While Gatsby’s actions were understandable, it was unwise to the point he paid the price.

    What Gatsby was not aware, however, was that Daisy did not attend his funeral, which could also mean not only Gatsby’s dream was over, but the memories of him were practically disappearing. The 1974 film version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was my favorite because it implemented many of the parts originally mentioned in the novel. The visual components of Gatsby’s isolation, followed by the tough encounter between him and Daisy addresses complexities of love and that it could lead to a negative outcome if not properly resolved. Towards the end of chapter 9, the sentence “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” goes to show that these people” do not know how their actions affect others, giving off the trait of ignorance.

    • Mark Noonan

      I’m so glad you got a chance to watch the 1974 film version of this book. You picked my favorite line of the novel and discuss its implications well.

      “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made”

  10. John Michael Vestal

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is often regarded as a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today. Despite being set in the extravagant Roaring 20’s, the novel explores themes and conveys lessons that are still relevant in our modern society.

    “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

    This critique of Tom and Daisy Buchanan exposes the hollowness of materialism and how the rich are able to neglect their responsibilities just because they’re rich. In our current society, where wealth and privilege can sometimes lead to indifference and detachment, this quote serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy, social responsibility, and the ethical use of resources. This quote reminds me of Elon Musk and how he is able to destroy huge companies and spread dangerous misinformation because he has the money to do it. It truly does not matter to him, and it never will.

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

    The closing line of the novel references the relentless human pursuit of progress and the constant struggle to escape the shackles of the past. In today’s fast-paced world, where we often find ourselves grappling with personal histories and societal expectations, this quote urges us to persevere, to keep striving for a better future, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. I also like how this quote can be juxtaposed with Gatsby’s need to repeat the past. The past will always be with us, but as long as we keep reaching forward, we can continue to live.

    • Mark Noonan

      Very cool connections of the novel to the present John. Your point about Elon Musk is spot on — the wealthy unfortunately still try to run things, ruining the world for the rest of us (!)

  11. TASNEIM

    The theme that really stood out to me in this book was the American dream. The American dream is “the basic American idea that anybody can succeed through drive and dedication, no matter their background or status.” It sounds so easy to get that American dream, but it is so much more than that. “Gatsby thinks if he becomes successful, he would win Daisy’s love and live happily after.”

    He thinks that because he can become successful and rich, he can have true love. I think the American Dream is portrayed as if if you get rich, you’re atomically happy and can find love because of that. To me, the American dream would be portrayed as working hard towards your own life goals and happiness. A quote that really stood out to me was  “A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about.” This quote means material without being real.” The world is Gatsby’s material, his American dream in the world. The novel really shoes the reality of the struggles for people wanting the “American dream”.

    • Mark Noonan

      You picked an amazing (and not often cited) quote and discuss it admirably, Tasneim.

  12. Sharnay Campbell-Anekie

    A specific quote that stood out to me was “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her… Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (Fitzgerald, 90). At this moment Gatsby had realized the efforts made for Daisy no longer meant anything and the anticipation was better than the result itself. Though the original concept of the American dream is outdated, there is still a concept in 2023 of people chasing specific lifestyles, especially with the influence of social media. I believe a lot of people are going after things in life without realizing that the endgame will not go as they imagined.

    • Sharnay Campbell-Anekie

      What stands out to be about this novel is the turn of events near the end of the book, and the reality of chasing after the American dream. Jay Gatsby is a perfect example of someone who has achieved great wealth but is ultimately unfulfilled and unhappy. He has become corrupted by his pursuit of wealth and status, and his love for Daisy is ultimately unattainable. The character of Tom Buchanan also represents the corrupting influence of wealth, as he uses his money and power to manipulate those around him. A specific quote that stood out to me was “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her… Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (Fitzgerald, 90). At this moment Gatsby had realized the efforts made for Daisy no longer meant anything and the anticipation was better than the result itself. Though the original concept of the American dream is outdated, there is still a concept in 2023 of people chasing specific lifestyles, especially with the influence of social media. I believe a lot of people are going after things in life without realizing that the endgame will not go as they imagined. Today, people are still chasing wealth and status, often at the expense of their own morals and values. The American Dream of achieving success through hard work and determination is still a popular ideal, but it can be difficult to attain, leading to feelings of disillusionment and disappointment.

    • Mark Noonan

      Well said!

  13. Jazlyn

    I feel that an important theme to speak on for these last few chapters should be Modern and Older Upperclass. There is a huge difference between the people of East Egg and West Egg, and I feel that because of their tendencies and mannerisms. East Egg being the older upperclassmen, were more humble and worked for their money to earn their newly rich . West Egg being the more modern upperclassmen, was more of an inheritance and born into the lifestyle. Daisy and Tom for example are from East Egg and Gatsby lived in West Egg. One difference I noticed was that although West Egg people didn’t work as hard or go through the same that people from East egg did, they have much kinder hearts and regards for others feelings. Tom and Daisy were insensitive and selfish with other people and even with each other. Hence why Tom cheated on Daisy multiple times. Gatsby on the other hand is more thoughtful and kind. For example when he stood outside of Daisy’s window make sure tom didn’t hurt her. Although all of these people were rich, there was a big gap in between East and West Egg and that was the time periods.

    • Mark Noonan

      Nice post Jazlyn. And so we beat on … as the class divide gets greater and greater!

  14. Wilson Wong

    The lines I felt significant are ‘I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’ People always tend to do things unknowingly despite trying not to make the same mistakes they made before. Even today, a man and woman broke up and moments later, the man still refuses to let go. Men think they have the privilege to change things however they want without giving thought of how other’s feel. Women on the other hand do the same as men, except the difference is they develop quicker than men. Gatsby still wants Daisy, but she moved on. Unless Gatsby changes his own way of doing things, maybe she might reconsider.

    • Mark Noonan

      Interesting reading of Gatsby’s bullying masculinity here, Wilson. He really did put a lot of unfair pressure on Daisy, causing enormous stress.

  15. Argelia Treadwell

    The Great Gatsby concludes with a chapter in which Nick reflects on the aftermath of Gatsby’s death. This final chapter provides Nick with more information about the mysterious Gatsby and his struggle to climb the social ladder. Nick meets Gatsby’s father, Henry C. Gatz, a “solemn” and “helpless” old man who believed his son had a bright future. In addition to shedding light on Gatsby’s character, the final chapter also demonstrates just how alone Gatsby really was in life. Although Nick contacts many of Gatsby’s acquaintances as he organizes the funeral, almost no one shows up to pay respects. Daisy, who has run away with Tom, doesn’t even bother to send flowers or a note. The only person to appear, aside from Nick and Mr. Gatz, is Owl Eyes, who concludes the funeral with words that sum up Gatsby’s tragic life: “The poor son-of-a-bitch.” In the final pages Nick links the American Dream to Gatsby’s love for Daisy, in that both are unattainable. As Nick explains on the novel’s final page, Gatsby spent years hoping for a happy future with Daisy, but this future always receded into the distance. In the end, then, both Gatsby and America are tragic because they remain trapped in an old dream that has not and may never become a reality.

    • Mark Noonan

      You picked an important chapter to focus on, Argelia. The introduction of Gatsby’s father, in the end, reminds the reader just how far Jay Gatsby went to invent an entirely new persona and identity. Perhaps this is the root of his unhappiness.

  16. anthony pietromonico

    In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the portrayal of the elite class exposes them as snobbish and self-serving hypocrites. Nick, the narrator, aptly labels them as “careless,” as individuals like Tom, Daisy, and Jordan navigate through life with little regard for the consequences of their actions upon others. This depiction resonates with modern readers, as it underscores the enduring divide between the privileged elites and the lower classes. Fitzgerald masterfully employs the color grey as a symbol of lifelessness and as a visual representation of the stark distinction between the upper and lower echelons of society. The novel draws attention to a lower-class area known as the “Valley of Ashes,” characterized by a bleak landscape and described as a desolate expanse from which bleak dust sporadically emanates. Trains, symbolized by a “line of grey cars,” traverse this desolate terrain, manned by individuals with an ashen complexion. Amidst this somber setting, Nick encounters residents such as a “grey, scrawny Italian child” and a “grey old man.” While the upper class is depicted in vibrant and lively colors, the contrast between their opulence and the dreary, lifeless existence in the “Valley of Ashes” serves as a profound thematic exploration of social class distinctions within the novel.

  17. Michael Paige

    As my classes have commenced this semester, I take a breath just to realize how far I have come. My pursuit of a degree in technical teaching has given me an allowance to parktake in several different types of courses as I attempt to become familiar with the different types of students that I will embrace.  The one thing that has kept happening to me in these various classes is one topic in one class will always tie in with a topic in another subject completely from a different aspect but still in a manner which makes you say, wow this must be true. In sociology this year  we discussed a graph based on depression and suicide rate and whether they occur moist in lower class or upper class situations. The learning aspect of it was a graph depicted as a “u” shape in which the poorest of the poor, along with the richest of the rich have equal rates of suicide and depression. At first I couldn’t believe that. I couldnt believe that these upper classes of wealthy people could be so depressed that suicide rates would be remotely close. 

    The great gatsby was a great depiction of this and although suicide itself was not exactly present, the rate of depression and despair was. The Great Gatsby was a great testament to the belief that when looking from the outside, you can almost never see the true story beneath the surface. Depictions of women having to simplify themselves in order to maintain status and security. Stories of prominent men feeling like they have fought to get where they are and everyone else is always simply trying to take that away from them. Birthright based beliefs that the things you have been born into are rightfully yours and any attempt from others to achieve is a threat to your stability.

     Unfortunately for most involved in the story, the conclusion was not one of success. Multiple deaths spurring from the simple desires to have something or someone that “belonged” to someone else across the board. Knowing these feelings are often only based on not having these things, one could only wonder if all these desires had been achieved would the story have ended differently. Or would having conquered those battles and achieved those acquisitions would then new battles for new desires arise?

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