9a) Wolfsheim says Gatsby’s death is “terrible shock” but can’t get “mixed up” (166)–>he always put his business ventures ahead of Gatsby
KP and GL
In chapter 4, Gatsby offered for Wolfsheim to stay longer at lunch with him and Nick. After finding out that Nick wasn’t the man he was intended to discuss business with, he insisted that he must leave- putting business ahead of Gatsby.
+America had “once flowered” for “Dutch sailor’s eyes” but now has lost steam.
Similar to how Gatsby once thrived in Daisy’s love, now he is desperately trying to get back what he lost
+”Inessential houses melted” in the wake of the moon –> the material world fades away into unimportance
Many characters in The Great Gatsby, especially Gatsby who shows of his “gorgeous,” seem very materialistic. It seems that in the wake of Gatsby’s death, the characters realized how fragile life, and subsequently became enlightened to be less materialistic.
It is as if with death, the material surrounding all of the character blows off to reveal the dust below, since the valley of ashes full of dust represents consuming death.
In Chapter 8, Nick writes that Gatsby must have realized “what a grotesque thing a rose is” before he died; the rose, a conventional symbol of beauty, is only viewed that way because that is how they appear. Here, Nick suggests that had Gatsby not invested so much beauty and value into Daisy based on her material aspects, he would have seen how idle, bored, and void of moral strength or loyalty she is.
REACTION: I find this quote to be really interesting but I also thought that it can be taken another way. If we assume that “inessential houses” = materialism and the moon exposes those “inessential houses,” then the moon, in a sense, acts like reality. Adding on, the moon’s opposite, the sun, seems to visually enhance the physical world. Therefore, does the sun represent the artificial beauty in the book? If it does, then I offer a slightly pessimistic note: What we thought of as hope and happiness (sunlight and day) is actually just a facade… and optimism is just a fragment of our wishful imagination.
9a) Calls Daisy after half an hour, yet “without hesitation” (164)–>debated whether to call, then realized that she isn’t coming or calling so it’s his duty to inform her
+The green light on Daisy’s dock represents Gatsby’s dream –> green represents american dreams and new opportunity throughout the novel
Just as the green represents Gatsby’s dream, the color red “on Gatsby’s crimson carpet” signals his violent death and the end of that dream
Gatsby is shown to be most interested by Daisy’s voice, which he himself says is alluring because of the “money” in it. The green light on Daisy’s dock could also hint at Gatsby real dream, not getting back Daisy, but becoming wealthy like her, since green also represents money.
I very much agree that the green light connects to Daisy’s money-laced voice, but not that Gatsby wishes to become wealthy like Daisy. Gatsby, not only already wealthy, is simply attracted to wealth, which Daisy embodies
although green does symbolize money, prosperity, opportunity, etc. I also feel it represents a disguised downfall as well. The green dock (daisy) brought G with hope that he could reunite with daisy and live out his american dream. But in reality, G would actually never steal daisy away, but instead get turned down by daisy, the very green light he’s been chasing the whole time
+The last time in history when something was “commensurate” to man’s wonder was in the beginning of the founding of the country –> American dream does not carry same sense of wonder
9a) Nick “wants to get somebody” who also cares about Gatsby, and after Daisy gone he goes for Wolfsheim–>Gatsby’s connections are so intangible that the only person Nick thinks to call is a quasi business ‘partner’
KP and JabeL
Gatsby seems to always go out of his way to find a tangible connection, but by doing so he only gets anyone he can, making the friendship less meaningful. He does this in chapter six when he gets company apart from his parties and he urges them incessantly to stay, even following them in his car while they ride away.
+”Man” keeps “running faster” towards “the dream” and until either unknowingly passing it, or dying–> Americans continue working for American dream only because it has been ingrained in our society, living on even though it may amount to nothing
They seem to run so fast towards the dream that, as in road and rail road avoiding the valley of ashes, they avoid death and race towards the dream while avoiding and ignoring the death and misery it has caused
Gatsby has the potential to live an unrestrained/unburdened life if he climbed that ladder “alone” yet he chooses to attach himself to certain characters and misses out on everything/one else.
+In striving for the so-called American dream, man boats against the current, borne ceaselessly back into the past –> Before we know it, the future becomes our past; we don’t know what else to work for, therefore actually working against the initial dream which lies forgotten
Similarly, as autumn creeps into the air, Gatsby insists on swimming in the pool (on the night of his death) as though it were still summer. In the same way, he is unwilling to accept Daisy’s marriage with Tom, clinging to the slim hope of making Daisy, the object of his dream, love him the way she did in the past.
*love him the way she used to.
9a) Two years after Gatsby’s death, Nick remembers the days as an “endless drill” of media–>seems to disparage the media, but he wouldn’t have stuck around if he didn’t like the attention
KP and Jabe
REACTION: I also noticed that there is an emotional disconnect between the media and Gatsby. Because it is Gatsby’s wealth that causes the “endless drill” and not him as a person, its shows how the mass public views those of the upper class as just another new story, not as actual people.
“His eyes, seeing nothing, moved ceaselessly about the room.” (167) –> Mr. Gatz doesn’t notice the wealth his son has acquired
Gatsby, like many characters in the book, believes that materialistic possessions will impress people. It’s ironic that Mr. Gatz, unlike his son, doesn’t consider money and wealth to define what kind of person someone is.
Mr. Gatz knew that Jay never could commit to something, changing is goals of saving 5 dollars to 3 dollars, so forth, since he was young. It surprises him that he acquired so much but does he know that he did it all dishonestly?
REACTION: I also noticed that Mr. Gatz seemed a little oblivious in the beginning, but later, after he had seen the full extent of his son’s wealth, he began to see for the first time just how wealthy his son had become and was awed by it, perhaps even surprised. He didn’t see it right away, perhaps because he couldn’t believe it, as Gatsby had always been idealistic without necessarily following through (the resolves)
If Gatsby had lived, “he’d of been a great man. A man like James J. Hill. He’d of helped build up the country.” (167) –> Mr. Gatz is blind to Gatsby’s illegal businesses; doesn’t consider his son successful yet
REACTION: I disagree with the first part of the tell. Rather than Mr. Gatz being blind(any intelligent man could come to the conclusion that Gatsby was in an illegal business by recognizing that no one knows what he did other than he has an enormous amount of wealth), I feel Gatz recognized(and believed) that his son, with the money that he made(regardless of how the possession of it occurred), would end up putting that money into making America a better place.
*Seems as though Gatsby got too caught up in the “American Dream.”
INSERTION …better place, that Gatsby had good intentions that were not able to be followed through with.
Reaction: On the contrary, his father does seem to consider his son rather successful (as he later gazes around the house in complete awe and pride. However, (in response to the reaction) he may actually be “blind to Gatsby’s illegal business” since he apparently does expect that Gatsby would be successful (though this may just be because he had just died)
Klipspringer calls for his pair of “tennis shoes” and avoids talking about Gatsby’s death (169) –> nobody cares about Gatsby
When he was alive, although that is true, Gatsby was oblivious to it, thinking his wealth and materialistic values would impress people.
Gatsby surrounded himself with the wealthy who were too lazy to look into his suspicious fiasco, but still grazed the surface of his odd behavior for the sake of gossip. Like the lemons and oranges who were being squeezed every morning, Gatsby was being squeezed dry by the ungrateful people he surrounded himself with up until the day he died.
REACTION: I also thought that Klipspringer avoided the funeral because he didn’t care about Gatsby at all, however I also thought that perhaps he was scared of Gatsby. People flocked to his parties when they knew that they would be filled with people, but when it came to facing him possibly alone (even though he was dead) the idea was too terrifying for some, like Klipspringer.
Reaction: Gatsby’s death is nothing more than one less host for social gatherings to the society that he surrounded himself with, which so void of moral values. He’d spent so long chasing what he thought to be the ‘American Dream’, trying to tie connections between him and as many people as he could, which only weakened the strength of each relationship.
Calling Gatsby, Slagle rambles about “wires,” “bonds,” and “Young Parke’s in trouble” and gives “a quick squawk” from hearing of Gatsby’s death (167) –> Gatsby’s business is going down; his partners care about Jay Gatsby, their partner, not Jimmy Gatz, the person.
James Gatz, not Jimmy Gatz
Gatsby’s grass/lawn has grown as long as Nick’s –> after Gatsby’s death, he and Nick are equals/Gatsby is just like everyone else
Without man to upkeep his material world, the Earth (“the fresh green breast”) returns and the artificiality of the American dream is “borne back ceaselessly into the past”.
(RELATES TO CHAPTER 9, Section D)
I feel that while the grass could signify Nick and Gatsby’s equality after death, it also has more meaning: Gatsby offered to cut Nick’s grass to show appreciation to Nick for inviting Daisy to tea. After Gatsby dies, Nick attempts to repay Gatsby’s kindness by hosting the funeral, but few people attend, and Nick fails in giving back. Gatsby’s long grass here represents people’s refusal to appreciate Gatsby.
I completely agree with your comment that the long grass shows how people don’t appreciate G after his death, but does that mean that people appreciated G before his death?(since the grass was cut then) I’m convinced that this isn’t the case. Maybe the grass represents something else. Perhaps the grass represents his relationship with D. Before his relationship collapse, his house was presentable in every way. But after the collapse, the house became dusty, dirty, long grass. etc.
(in response to ‘dutins’) Reaction: I completely agree that the implication that people appreciated Gatsby before is irrelevant, but I also feel that the relationship with D wouldn’t exactly be appropriate since, although it makes sense, it does not show anything about how Nick’s grass is also longer (and this seems like an important factor)
Nick erases the “obscene word” that someone had scrawled on Gatsby’s house –> Nick still admires/respects the Gatsby and his world
Nick also rudely hangs up on Klipspringer when he realizes that all K wants is his shoes, not to grieve for Gatsby. Although Nick isn’t usually rude, he is to K.
REACTION: I agree (Mia and Madeline), but I think that Nick’s respect or admiration is being faked at this point. Nick did not want to believe that Gatsby was not invincible; his image of Gatsby must be shattered at this point somewhere deep in his sub-conscious and these acts of respect are just him trying to keep hold of what he so believed Gatsby was.
Nick imagines the Dutch sailors as they saw the “fresh green breast of the new world” for the first time –> just as Gatsby saw Daisy’s green light at the end of her dock
“Where have they got Jimmy?” ->Gatsby’s father still sees him as a little boy
Daisy exhibits maternal feelings towards Gatsby when she wants to “push [him] around” in a “pink cloud”.
“His grief began to be mixed with an awed pride” -> Mr. Gatz wasn’t aware of how successful his son had become, and the grand scale he lived his life on.
REACTION: Although the fact that he becomes aware is true, the success and “splendor” that he realizes is based on lies and exaggeration. I agree that Mr. Gatz learns of his son’s “grand scale” lifestyle when he asserts that Gatsby “rose up to his position” in the East, but doesn’t know that he was really a phony.
Nick “hung up the receiver” when Klipspringer asks for his “tennis shoes” instead of expressing concern over Gatsby’s death -> Nick genuinely cares for Gatsby and despite his usual easy going manner, he is offended at how little people care.
Nick “mentioned Gatsby” and “she vanished:” “In a moment, Meyer Wolfshiem stood…in the doorway” -> Even after his death, Gatsby’s name still opens doors (literally) 🙂
Wolfshiem says in response to Nick’s request that he come to Gatsby’s funeral “I can’t do it–I can’t get mixed up in it” -> Even Gatsby’s closest friends don’t care enough about him to risk involvement.
This worry about getting “mixed up” (risks) and avoiding a close friends funeral suggests that Nick’s decision to stay out of Gatsby’s business, after Gatsby tried to convince him to make a “little extra” multiple times, was a wise choice.
As a young man, Gatsby created a “schedule” and a list of “general resolves” -> at a young age Gatsby was already determined to get ahead in the world, even if it was in a childish way.
Gatsby seems to feel like he can get accomplish he wants and he’ll work for it too ( even if it’s unreasonable ); “of course” you can “repeat” the past, “I’m going to fix everything”
Gatsby’s father says, “he knew he had a big future ahead of him,” as if Gatsby could already foresee his future, when in fact, it all amounted to futile efforts/his death
Nick “tried to think about Gatsby…but he was already too far away.” ->Despite his professed love of Gatsby, he has already moved on with his life.
Isolation theme, the characters from the book feel disconnected from each other at times even though they frequently interact with each other. G says he “feels so far away” from Daisy toooo
Another place showing Nick moving on from what happened with G / wanting to move on is in Ch 9-D when Nick says he “doesn’t want to hear” a “made-up story” about G and D from a taxi driver, and that he “avoided him when he got off the train”.
This could also imply that Gatsby is “already too far away”/Nick can’t keep up with him/Gatsby has isolated himself in tirelessly trying to regain his “lost dream”
9c) When “blue smoke” leaves him, Nick decides he is no longer fit to live in the East and must return “home”‡ once blue ‡ denial and doubts are gone Nick is finally capable of returning home
9c) According to Nick T, D, G, J and N are all westerners thus incapable of adapting to the East –> firmly believes that the past determines who we are
Also suggests how desperate they are to attain the American Dream/wealth/prosperity, but in the end, their efforts are futile/they’re all “bored”
Characters who are unwilling to adapt, like G and his thinking that he can “fix” the present to make it more like his past
9c)after Gatsby’s death “the East was haunted” Nick and “distorted beyond [his] eyes’ power of correction.” ‡ Nick finally sees the corruption of the East and is fully capable of leaving it
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