The Great Gatsby chapter 1 notes


What happens?

  • Nick Carraway describes where he is living and how he got there. He is invited to see his first cousin once removed (Daisy Buchanan), there he meets Jordan Baker. He discovers that Daisy's husband (Tom) is having an affair with a woman (later known as Myrtle). Jordan mentions the name of Nick's neighbor and when he gets home, Nick sees Gatsby staring at the green light at the end of his dock.
  • There is tension between the admiration of wealth and the importance of morality

Nick is an observer- both narrator and participant

  • "reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope"
  • "The world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever"
  • "privilidged glimpses into the human heart"
  • Nick could be projecting his insecurites/jelousy onto Tom
  • Nick admires Tom's confidence and wealth- "rather took your breath away"
  • He is ambiguous about everyone

Setting- page 7 describing Daisy and Tom's house

  • Daisy is ironic/never quite sincere
  • "white palaces of a fashionable East Egg"
  • "frosted wedding cake of the ceiling"
  • "wine coloured rug"
  • "boom as Tom Buchanan"- violent physicality
  • "they were both in white"
  • flowers surround them/roses- florid, aesthetic, fragile, temporary
  • Italian garden- exoticisim, richness, upperclass, borgeois sensibility
  • airyness/floating/weightlesness (later transitions to heavyness)- women are detatched/incubated by wealth
  • bright and light- beginning of wealth being associated with light and brightness
  • "frosted wedding cake"- wealth is a celebration/grand
  • rose and wedding cake- romantic
  • aristocratic wealth/merrytricious/flamboyant/extrravagant

Tom Buchanan

  • "two shining arrogant eyes"
  • "hard mouth"
  • "agressively"
  • "great pack of muscle"
  • "gruff husky tennor"
  • He is a confident, self absorbed kind of man. He is muscly and looks powerful and strong. He seems almost intimidating.
  • People who like him, really like him and people who don't, loathe him.
  • He doesn't get intimate with others?
  • "paternal contempt"
  • "men at new haven hated his guts"
  • "we were never intimate"
  • "harsh, defiaant wistfulness of his own"
  • seemingly insulting, even to people he is on good terms with?
  • Nick is an inlaw and seems to be insulting to him
  • Nick imagines…


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