Characterisation of Gatsby:
View from Nick:
- "heightened sensitivity to the promises of life"
- "gift for hope"
- "romantic readiness"
- "exempt from my reaction"
- "something gorgeous about him"
- All these quotes appear sycophantic, suggesting Gatsby is above everyone else. It is a hopeful, positive description
Him seen at the end of the chapter:
- "what share was his of our local heavens"-suggests that he has a right to our heavens, he's worthy of it, angel-like, possibly arrogant?
- "stretched out his arms toward the dark water"-unconscious gesture? yearning subconcsiously for Daisy
- "trembling"- suggests desperationg, been waiting a long time, desire
Characterisation of Nick:
We learn about Nick in the beginning of the novel however it is from his perspective therefore what we learn is fallible
- middle-class, wanted the excitement of war again
- inherited morals from his father-"fundamental decencies are parcelled out unequally at birth"
- considers himself as tolerant and unjudgemental which is contradicted throughout the novel
Effect of his narration:
- It is first person narration which could be viewed as positive as you can almost guarantee genuine emotions
- However, it also limits what you can learn about the other characters
- And also there is an edge of bias that permeates description and recall of events
- We have to consider whether it is fact or Nick's opinion and then try and determine what Fitzgerald's tone is, adding a new dynamic to the novel
Characterisation of Daisy:
- "sad and lovely", "bright", "passionate", "charming little laugh"-positive, hopeful
- "fluttering"-butterfly, delicate
- "white" connotes purity and innocence
- "do they miss me"-supercilious, arrogant? or longing to go back?
- "pretty cynical about everything"- contrast first impressions
- "i hope she'll be a fool" because that's "the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool"-pessimistic, cynical- illustrates what women were expected to be like at the time
- "I've been everywhere and seen everything"-supercilious, pompous? intimating that she has done everything in life already
- "I'm sophisticated"-self-assurance, arrogant?
- Our initial impressions are of hope and joy which are juxtaposed by her pessimistic views on the society she lives in
Characterisation of Jordan:
Similarities to Daisy:
- "fluttered"-delicate, innocent
- Is seen as feminine, innocent, pure (references to "white")
- "erect carriage"-sign of haughtiness or arrogance?
- "chin raised a little"-pomposity
- "nice girl"-Nick's narrative voice permeating through the description
- "self-sufficiency"-strong, powerful (atypical for women at that time)
- "hardy scepticism"
- She is a golfer which was not a job typically associated with women
Charaterisation of Tom:
Inital description by Nick:
- "brute", "aggresively"
- "supercilious", "arrogant"
- "unrestfully"-suggests he's not content, reinforced by his background of moving around and not settling down
- "power of that body", "a cruel body"
- reached an "acute limited excellence" therefore everything after that was an "anti-climax"-critical? jealous because Nick became the most "limited of all specialists" the "well-rounded man"?
- met in "college" where he was a "powerful ends" that "played football"
- "pathetic in his concentration"
What he says:
- "everyone ought to read it"-supercilious, believes his view to be top
- "dominant race"-fascist
- Where Nick and Gatsby live
- "sunshine", "great bursts of leaves"-hopeful, joyous
- "not perfect ovals", "less fashionable of the two"-critical, pessimistic? creates an air of humility over it
- Represents the ostentation of the new rich
- Where Tom and Daisy live
- "fashionable", "glittered along the water"-source of hope? or reflects the hope of G?
- Represents breeding, taste and aristocracy
Seperation by river:
- represents Gatsby and Daisy and the unworkable intersection between them
Tom and Daisy's house:
- "sunset", "candles", "glowing", "gold", "bright vines", "burning gardens", "sun-dials"-all connote hope and vitality
- "cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion"-aristocratic, illustrates wealth
- "rosy-coloured porch"-symbolise life and love
- windows "white"-purity, innocence
- "last sunshine fell with romantic affection"-context=era of Romanticism, could reflect Gatsby and his Romantic affection for Daisy
- "overlooking the bay"- the bay symbolising the seperation between Daisy and Gatsby
- "pools of light", "loud, bright night"
- "wings beating in the trees", "frogs full of life"
- all connote life, hope, love, vitality-atypical as the novel is based around Gatsby, perhaps his hope has emanated or overshadowed Nicks house
The themes illustrated in the first chapter of The Great Gatsby are:
- Love? between Gatsby and Daisy or lack of love between Daisy and Tom
- Femininity and masculinity
- use of setting
- symbolism: the "green light" could symbolise money (link to context of era), or could symbolise Gatsby's love for Daisy, could be his hope, envy or jealousy. The fact it is a "single" light suggests all his energy is focused on that yet it is "far away"-distance or time?