Great Gatsby Revision

I have not used full sentences completely in this pack, as it is a basis of the necessary information that is easily accesible rather than heavy with complexity. 

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Key Issues

  • Key Issues:
  • Character and fate of Gatsby as a reflection of the character and fate of America
  • Past v present
  • Loss of innocence - capacity to feel wonder
  • Reliability of Nick as a narrator
  • Relationship between point of view and truth - belief and understanding
  • Nature of memory
  • Worth of Daisy to Gatsby - object of love?
  • Value of hope and dreams in an age of cynicism and materialism
  • Value of writing
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Themes

  • Individualism 
  • Equality of opportunity 
  • Peace-loving Nation? 
  • American Dream (cliche) 
  • Self-improvement 
  • Fresh starts
  • THE WEST
  • Desire vs Love 
  • Lack of purpose 
  • Vision - point of view, Dr. T. J. Eckleburg 
  • Code of conduct - parties vs society 
  • Nick as both an intradiegetic and extradiegetic narrator - complexity of the narrative structure 
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General Comments

  • NEW BEGINNINGS - New beginnings for Nick as a character entering this world, similarly was for Gatsby trying to be someone he isn't 
  • NICK - Starts the novel as quite conceited in his reflection of himself before the introduction of Gatsby, praises his own attributes, then praises Gatsby 
  • Nick possesses a strange, if not obsessive, fascination with Gatsby 
  • Nick does not appear like a passionate man - his relationship with Jordan is rather passive and dismissed, his writing style is imaginative, yet does not match the events of the novel. 
  • Daisy - white, innocent, beautiful flower. Myrtle - type of shrub (significance of nomenclature) 
  • RACIAL ISSUES - "Civilisation's going to pieces" - Tom. Cultural context of the novel, race relations in 1920s - sharp contrast drawn between personalities - Tom's violent pessimism and Gatsby's vibrant optimism 
  • "This has been a story of the West, after all" - larger context of Nick's aim in writing 
  • Gatsby goes to great lengths to APPEAR like he is of a higher class - ILLUSIONS - "What realism!" a man remarks while in his library - it's an act, a show
  • As a theme - "unreality of reality" - vivid lies and imaginings of Gatsby became real for him, but it was all a short lived dream 
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General Comments (cont.)

  • Unexpected occasional brutality of Nick - "her left breast was swinging loose like a flap" - contrasts all the glamour of previous chapters 
  • OPPOSING SOCIAL MOBILITY - only shortlived in the time of the bootleggers 
  • CLASS - Gatsby's past brought into a question - "Oxford man " is questioned by Tom 
  • IDENTITY - James Gatz's identity that he worked so hard on as Jay Gatsby has been shattered in Chapter 8 - now almost pathetic in his all-consuming love for Daisy 
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Chapter 1 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • West Egg < East Egg
  • Self-analysis of Nick - former soldier
  • Tom's affair and Daisy's beauty
  • Glimpse of Gatsby capitvated by a green light
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Chapter 2 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Valley of Ashes described
  • Myrtle introduced
  • Tom shows violence
  • Gatsby and Myrtle both violently killed - both dreams unrealistic - what the Buchanans represent
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Chapter 3 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Gatsby's lifestyle mentioned
  • Rumours about Gatsby become known
  • WWI references
  • Secret about Gatsby revealed to Jordan Baker
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Chapter 4 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Gatsby visits Nick
  • Gatsby tells Nick about his 'past'
  • Gatsby introduces Meyer Wolfshiem - Fixed World Series
  • Nick introduces Gatsby to Tom
  • Jordan tells Nick about when she seen Gatsby and Daisy together in 1917
  • And that she found Daisy drunk on the day before wedding clutching a letter
  • Gatsby wants to be at Nick's house at a time when Daisy is there also
  • Nick kisses Jordan
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Chapter 5 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Gatsby's house is still lit even when Nick gets home early in the morning 
  • Gatsby is still awake and speaks with him - plan to meet Daisy 
  • Rain on the day of meetings - Nick walks into garden and stares at Gatsby's home
  • Nick returns to find Daisy had been crying 
  • Go to Gatsby's house
  • Gatsby's 'beautiful shirts' 
  • Intensity of relationship between Gatsby and Daisy shocks Nick - he leaves them alone 
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Chapter 6 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Nick tells about inquisitive newspaper journalist visits Gatsby - rumours about him
  • Nick then tells Gatsby's real life story - James Gatz - North Dakota 
  • James Gatz at 17 changes to Jay Gatsby 
  • Dan Cody - Gatsby's idol, wealth prospecting for precious metals - Gatsby's mentor for becoming rich
  • Tom visits Gatsby's mansion - Gatsby tells Tom that he knows Daisy 
  • Tom and Daisy go to one of Gatsby's parties 
  • Gatsby and Daisy spend some time together sitting on steps of Nick's house
  • Tom suggests to Nick that Gatsby is a criminal bootlegger (not rare at the time) 
  • Gatsby is upset Daisy did not enjoy the party - he wants her to leave Tom and marry him 
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Chapter 7 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Daisy regularly been visiting Gatsby's house, he dismissed servants to deal with gossip problem 
  • Hottest day of the summer Nick + Gatsby have lunch w/ Buchanans. Meet Daisy's daughter Pammy 
  • Tom recognises Gatsby and Daisy are in love
  • Drive to NY - Tom takes Nick and Jordan, Gatsby travels w/ Daisy 
  • Tom stops for petrol and finds out Wilson's plan to go West with Myrtle 
  • Gatsby asserts that he is the only man Daisy has ever loved - Tom alludes Gatsby is a criminal 
  • Narrative cuts to an inquest where Michaelis Wilson's neighbour is a witness 
  • Myrtle killed - hit and run - bystander "death car" was a big yellow car (Gatsby's) 
  • Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy was driving, but he intends to take the blame 
  • Nick leaves Gatsby in Daisy's garden watching, forever on the outside 
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Chapter 8 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Nick cannot sleep, goes and visits Gatsby in the morning - Gatsby talks of his past + love for Daisy - "following of a grail" 
  • Gatsby's gardener postpones draining the swimming pool - Gatsby wants to use it 
  • Noon - Nick receives a call from Jordan 
  • George Wilson, v. upset mistakes eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg as the eyes of an all-seeing God 
  • Wilson searches for owner of yellow car, directed to Gatsby - finds him in his swimming pool, kills him, then kills himself 
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Chapter 9 - Summary

  • Summary:
  • Nick makes Gatsby's funeral arrangements 
  • Buchanans leave NY - no contact address left 
  • Nick visits Meyer Wolfshiem - he refuses to attend funeral 
  • One of the few mourners is Henry C. Gatz - travelled from the Midwest, read of Gatsby's death in a Chicago Newspaper - speaks with pride of his son's achievements 
  • Later in the year Nick bumps into Tom who admits telling George Wilson it was Gatsby's car that killed Myrtle 
  • Ends with Nick contemplating empty mansion - questioning the importance of Gatsby's story 
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