The Great Gatsby - Chapter 1


Chapter 1 - pages 3-16 

key quotations: 

Gatsby's downfall/expolsion is foreshadowed = "as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes." (p.3) seismic languaged used, shows the idea of new, modern machines during the Jazz Age. "earthquakes" speculate this foreshadows Gatsby's explosion 

Gatsby's optimism = Nick says he is drawn to Gatsby because of his "extraordinary gift for hope" Nick may be reflecting in a sense os pessimism, in the aftermath of the First World War, which had shown how easily civilisation & human progress could collapase into savage violence. Gatsby's hopeful nature certainly sets him apart from the cynicism and world-weariness of other characters. It also identifies him with the American Dream, in which anything seems to be possible. But the object of Gatsby's hope seems to be to recapture the past - is that his tragic flaw? 

Relationships are rare in the Jazz Age = "I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all." (p.6) Oxymoron perhaps used to show the difference between him and his "friends" or to show that Nick is lonely as he doesn't really know these people, yet still thinks they are his "friends" suggests friendships in the 1920s were not about knowing each other well, perhaps just about having a good time. 

Reveal of Tom's affair = "Tom's got some woman in New York." (p.12) Everyone is open about the fact that Tom is cheating on Daisy, as the reader this adds to our dislike of Tom.

Daisy's unhappiness = "I've had a bad time...I'm pretty cynical about everything." (p.13) perhaps the most honest thing Daisy says, clear that she has suffered, Tom's attitude & affairs?  



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