Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Questions for Fitzgerald

PROMPT 1:
Fitzgerald weaves many thematic elements together throughout the story. The idea of position, however, ties many of them together. The word encompasses themes like class, wealth, social standing, and others. Discuss how Fitzgerald uses the idea of position and its effect on our impression of the text, its characters, and the culture in which it is rooted.

RESPONSE THESES:

1. The idea of position as a thematic element in The Great Gatsby is one of the major and most important elements presented in the story.

2. In The Great Gatsby, having a high status is something everyone wants to achieve. Who wouldn’t want to be rich and popular?

3. Fitzgerald uses the idea of position as a key tool in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Position shapes nearly all aspects of the characters, conflicts, and culture of the story.


PROMPT 2:
Nick refers to Jordan, Tom, and Daisy as careless in one form or another. Discuss the theme of carelessness and its effect on our impression of the text, its characters, and the culture in which it is rooted.

RESPONSE THESES:

1. The root of all carelessness in the text is money. Although we first see Daisy as an innocent breathtaking “nice” girl as events take place and the narrator’s Nick’s opinion of her changes.

2. Carelessness is a root factor in the novel, The Great Gatsby. Friendships turn awry, funerals are forgotten, and affairs arise. The main character, Nick, tells us about his girlfriend, Jordan, and his friends, Tom and Daisy, who are together. Between the four of them, feelings are not only hurt, but simply forgotten.

3. Carelessness in The Great Gatsby is pervasive in all facets of the story. Any tale about the Roaring Twenties must embrace this theme, as it is integral to the entire era. Specifically, in this story, carelessness is pinpointed upon three particular characters: Jordan, Tom, and Daisy. Although they are the focal point of heedless life, other characters also play a role in the theme.

4. Nick describes Daisy and Tom as being careless, stating that they smash things up only to retreat into their wealth. At the end, when Nick meets Tom Buchanan in New York he expresses a feeling that Tom is no more than a child because of his uncaring, selfish ways. Throughout the novel, Daisy and Tom both make decisions that would be in their best interest. Not giving much thought to what extent their lives affect others.

5. Culture during the 1920s was reckless, jubilant, wasteful, and everyone loved it. This story embodies the “roaring twenties” in its entirety from the flagrant affairs to the wild parties. Everyone in the story is portrayed as careless at some point in the story except Nick. The irony of this is that even though he is quiet, reserved, and thoughtful he fits in better than anyone else.

6. Nick feels upset because of how careless Tom and Daisy are. Its like nothing has any consequences to it and they can do whatever they like. I think he is slightly jealous. He is to uptight to just let go and do whatever he wants, even if it would be fun. I don’t think that Tom and daisy are careless in a bad way. if they are really happy then whats the big deal?

7. Carelessness is a key factor in The Great Gatsby, It’s more obvious in the ending of the novel then in the beginning. Many characters in the book show obvious carelessness and traces of egotistical qualities. Nick seems to be the only main character not showing this feature but that could also very well be misleading due to the fact that he is the author and you will only get his point of view. Which is the reason Gatsby is glorified the way he is in the book, Nick in a sense idolizes Gatsby, even though Gatsby is a criminal.

8. This theme of carelessness and failure to comprehend consequence is rife throughout the The Great Gatsby. Each character has his/her own moments where they do not seem to realize what the outcome of the current situation could be, and especially is shown through Tom and Daisy. Almost every major event in this novel has some trace of carelessness buried inside.

9. The reference to the carelessness of Jordan, Tom, and Daisy throughout the Story The Great Gatsby refers and effects our impression of the text, its characters, and the culture in many ways. The theme of superficiality comes up a great deal as a result of this. It’s the idea that even though all the people in this story had money and excitement, it didn’t make them happy or caring. In fact it seemed to do the exact opposite.

10. A the quote above suggests, money allows for decisions of whim, some of which are not discussed. For the wealthy, the 1920’s were a time of lavish extravagence and covered affairs. Fitzgerald uses Daisy, Tom, and Jordan in his portrayal of the carelessness of the time.



PROMPT 3:
Nick is the hardest character to understand in the book because he is the narrator and will therefore only give us an impression of himself that he would like to give. He tells the reader that "I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” Discuss the self-evaluation of our narrator, Nick, and his place and purpose in the text.

RESPONSE THESES:

1. Nick is possibly the sleaziest, most dishonest, and unlikeable character in the entire book yet dares to call himself honest. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Nick prides himself in being the most honest person in the book. Honestly, by definition Nick is a “great person” and an honest one at that, meaning he doesn’t lie or cheat or steal. He simply has a nack for self applied muteness.

2. For most people when they talk about themselves it is god. Also when a person talks about himself/her it tends to be exadurated in a better since. That makes it very difficult to understand what a character is thinking.

3. In the book The Great Gatsby Nick describes himself as a a person of honesty and high morals. His purpose in this text is to act as an observer and a moral compass, but only informs the reader of his observation, making him not as moral as he thinks he is.

4. Nick’s character in the novel The Great Gatsby plays one of the smallest irrelevant but biggest important roles in the book. Looking at the story itself alone Nick is clearly not important and could basically be cut out of the story without much notice taken. But in all reality Nick is the author and though he plays the bystander who’s not a part of the story but the story is a big part of his life and the story, since he is the author, is written the way he would see it and want you to perceive it.

5. Nick thinks of himself as an honest man. He thinks he is the kind of man slow to judgement and not a very confident person. Nick seems to have an okay self evaluation because he doesn’t lie and he doesn’t really judge people.

6. Nick is an ideal narrator because he mostly observes and listens to people as they’re speaking. His problems aren’t out for everyone to see and so he in turn sees himself as a better, more honest person.

7. Nick, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, sees himself as an insightful man, better than everyone else. His purpose in the story is to show the bad side of the characters, and show the hypocracy of the 1920’s. He just makes fun of various types of people throughout the novel. To understand his pupose in the novel, you first have to understand his character.

8. Nick Carraway, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, seems to be a very mistrusting person. In the story he mingles with what he describes as a careless group. He describes their whereabouts throughout the book, not really including himself in the plot much. His purpose in the story seems to be that of storyteller, recounting the dishonesty he sees in his supposedly unbiased way.



PROMPT 4:
In what sense is The Great Gatsby an autobiographical novel? Does Fitzgerald write more of himself into the character of Nick or the character of Gatsby, or are the author’s qualities found in both characters?

RESPONSE THESES:

1. There are many instances in The Great Gatsby that reference the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In both Gatsby and Nick, Fitzgerald exposes elements of himself in both their personas and actions.

2. In the novel Fitzgerald writes himself into both characters. Gatsby being the portion of Fitzgerald’s personality that was a flashy celebrity who worked hard to become rich to impress and win over the woman he loved for Gatsby this woman was Daisy for Fitzgerald the woman was Zelda. Nick would be the introverted side of Fitzgerald, the westerner caught up in Easts way of life. Although there are similarities in both characters Fitzgerald’s life is much more of a parallel to Gatsby’s.

3. The Great Gatsby is a partial autobiography because Fitzgerald not only wrights himself into Nick, but also Gatsby. Fitzgerald can make the charactores more lifelike and convincing because they are real to him. He can put his actual feelings into his characters, instead of just making a personality up and trying to make them seem believable.


PROMPT 5: 
How does Gatsby represent the American dream? What does the novel have to say about the condition of the American dream in the 1920s? In what ways do the themes of dreams, wealth, and time relate to each other in the novel’s exploration of the idea of America?

RESPONSE THESES:

1. Gatsby is a wealthy man. His quote of life is “rags to riches” for he was once poor but now he’s not. The American dream is to work your way into the high society life, with money to spare. Everyone gets a job and works to get money, money is the American dream. Gatsby represents the American dream because he, by himself, went from nothing to something.

2. The American dream has always involved the idea of a “rags-to-riches” life. It has also paced high value on the idea of serving America. Jay Gatsby, in The Great Gatsby, did both of these things. He was raised poor, went to war, became a decorated military man and returned home to make vast sums of money through sketchy business with his associate Mr. Wolfsheim.

3. Jay Gatsby, the focus of this novel, represents the self-made man and the American dream in a way that was equivocal with the 1920’s. This American Dream of going from essentially nothing to working your way into success was the exact dream that Gatsby pursued and eventually attained. He went from serving his country, coming back with little money, and losing the girl to becoming an extremely wealthy man and able to attain a large estate and home.

4. Gatsby represents the American Dream in that he is a classic rags to riches case. He is, more specifically, an example of the themes of dreams, wealth, and time of America throughout the nineteen twenties. Gatsby became an icon for the American dream by, of course, dreaming of one day becoming such.

5. Mr. Gatsby represented the American dream of the 1920’s. He had everything you could need or want, especially since the book is set right in the middle of the Great Depression, and most had nothing. Another thing he had was popularity.

6. Gatsby represents the American dream because his hard work has led him to a life of relaxation. Gatsby fits right in his place as a wealthy man in the American 1920s. Because he has his wealth, he has time to ponder and get caught up in his concepts of time and dreams.

7. Gatsby represents the American Dream. He is rich. He has nearly everything he could possible ask for. He throws big parties. He has lots of friends. He has everything he wants and that is the American dream.

8. Jay Gatsby, in The Great Gatsby, seems to be the epitome of the American dream in the 1920’s. he became wealthy despite his humble beginnings. He also served his country. The American dream in the 1920’s, however, are not exactly based on the same principles it had been.

9. The American dream in the 1920’s, which is still largely pursued today, was spawned by the idea that a person (white male) could rise above his social and economic situation to one of greater wealth and respect. Gatsby is a perfect example of this “rags to riches” theory, but is tragically cursed by the classic clich√© that “money won’t buy you happiness.” Themes of dreams, wealth, and time are all aspects of this American idealism and all have great effect on Gatsby’s dreams and success.

10. Jay Gatsby is the epitome of the American Dream. Through luck, inspiration, motivation, and a liberal splash of corruption he raised himself up from the dregs of society to a respectable position.

11. The image of a self-made man, much the basis for the American dream, is also a good summary for Gatsby’s success. Being from a poor farming family, Gatsby had little else but his ambition for greatness. Not until serving his country did he ever make anything of himself, perhaps some slight pro military service propaganda on Fitzgerald’s part. The American dream in The Great Gatsby seems to come off as being cheap, little effort can produce great wealth without any real accomplishments.


PROMPT 6:
Compare and contrast Gatsby and Tom. Given the extremely negative light in which Tom is portrayed throughout the novel, why might Daisy choose to remain with him instead of leaving him for Gatsby?

RESPONSE THESES:

1. Tom and Gatsby both love Daisy. This is both their greatest similarity and greatest difference. Tom’s affection for Daisy is merely superfluous and becomes more about control than anything else. Gatsby’s infatuation, on the other hand, is so deep that it shaped his entire being. Daisy’s role in the novel is to decide between the two.

2. There are many different types of love. The love Daisy had for Gatsby in her youth vanished when he left for war. The love she had for him then was a love without consequences. Realistic problems did not exist, both of them had yet experienced life on their own terms. Daisy was still a young girl, while Gatsby nothing more than a twitterpated young man, about to leave the relationship during the heat of their passion.

3. The internal conflict that Daisy faces over deciding between Jay and Tom becomes the most controversial issue in the story. Gatsby and Tom represent two very different lives for Daisy, and in that rests her indecision. Gatsby, being from an early time in her life, represents all the hope, romance, and expectations for the future. Tome she met later in life and stands for dependable stability.

4. Gatsby and Tom seem completely different socially and romantically, but they both like Daisy and Daisy likes them. Daisy remains with Tom for reasons of convenience.

5. The characters Tome and Gatsby are alike and different in several ways. One of the ways they are alike is that they are both quite wealthy. Another way they are alike is the way they live their lives. But Tome and Gatsby are different in some ways. Tome is is a strong ex-football star and Gatsby is just a rich guy. Tome is also more of a tough mean guy, but Gatsby is kinder and less tough.

6. Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan had, in The Great Gatsby, a mutual friendship with the narrator of the story, Nick Carraway. In Nick’s perspective these are many similarities as well as differences between Gatsby and Mr. Buchanan. While they have several obvious common traits and goals, Nick seems to prefer and admire Gatsby more than he does Tom.

7. Daisy chooses to stay with Tome as opposed to Gatsby because of her love for Tom, the likeness of character between Daisy and Tom, and the untruthfulness of Tom’s portrayal by Nick in the book. Most persuasive aspect of her decision is in the fact that she still loves Tom.

8. Daisy decides to stay with Tom after all Gatsby has attempted to do for one simple reason~ a sense of security. Although, she loves Gatsby very much, she feels that there is not a concrete future with him. She has an underlying fear that Gatsby will up and leave her like he did previously when he went off to war.

9. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s character is presents as vastly superior to Tom Buchanan. This presentation, though, is from Nick, the narrator’s, point of view. He is biased toward Gatsby who was his friend and neighbor.

10. There are many differences between Tome and Gatsby in the story. The main difference is that Tom is richer, more dull, and lies on a different scale than Gatsby. It’s because of most of their differences that Daisy ends up with Tome in the end, even though Tom is cast is a more negative light.

11. Tom and Gatsby are evil twins. Retrospectively they are what the other considers evil so sense is there made. Gatsby got shipped off as a child though so they didn’t live together. Tom was raised wealthy, lived wealthy, acted wealth and had a masterful control over his lifes stability. Gatsby rose out of the mud much like a bog monster to become a criminal/man of wealth.

12. The main difference between Gatsby and Tom, also the reason why Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby, lies in location of their homes. East Egg and West Egg both have similar attributes and both are homes to the extremely wealthy, but there is a fundamental difference between them. East Egg is the home of the aristocracy of America, the “old money.” West Egg, on the contrary, supports people who have come into their money more recently, the “new money.” West Egg is, as Nick says, “the less fashionable of the two.”

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