THE GREAT GATSBY chapter 9 revised

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THE GREAT GATSBY
CHAPTER 9
• SETTING – MID-WEST
• SYMBOLISM
• CHARACTERISATION – DAISY, NICK,
GATSBY, GATSBY’S FATHER
• THEMES – AMERICAN UPPER CLASSES,
AMERICAN DREAM
CHARACTERISATION - DAISY
• “I called up Daisy half an hour after we
found him, called her instinctively and
without hesitation. But she and Tom
had gone away early that afternoon,
and taken baggage with them.”
• The novel ends with a negative
impression of Daisy.
• She has simply dealt with everything
by forgetting it and moving away.
Characterisation - Daisy
• This is even more shocking when we
understand that Gatsby was killed because
of her
• She has no loyalty to Gatsby again
displaying her shallowness.
• The fact that she doesn’t even send a
‘message or a flower’ suggests she wants to
forget her involvement with Gatsby and
move on with her life. This emphasises that
she is shallow, weak and careless.
CHARACTERISATION - NICK
• Nick picks up the pieces after Gatsby’s
death.
• “I found myself on Gatsby’s side, and alone.”
• Nick has entered into isolation here. He
empathises with Gatsby and further isolates
himself from East Coast society.
• This is a further reflection of his
identification with Gatsby.
Characterisation: Nick
• By the end of the novel the reader
should understand why Nick thinks
Gatsby “turned out all right at the
end”.
• In his eyes, Gatsby embodied an ability
to dream and escape his past
• This dream was possibly (ultimately)
impossible
• But Nick cherishes and values it
nonetheless.
Characterisation: Nick
• “On the white steps an obscene word,
scrawled by some boy ... And I erased
it.”
• Nick is the writer and he wants his
words to define Gatsby.
• Discuss: Do you think Nick has
succeeded in telling Gatsby’s story?
Nick – a reliable narrator?
• By the end of the novel he is much more
outspoken with his criticisms.
• He may be tolerant of people in public, but
on paper he is harsh and critical.
• The ending of the novel therefore inverts the
very beginning of the text as Nick clearly
judges people. He describes Tom and Daisy
as ‘careless people’ because of the way they
‘smashed up things and creatures and
retreated back into their money’.
CHARACTERISATION - GATSBY
• “Look here, old sport, you’ve got to get
somebody for me. You’ve got to try
hard. I can’t go through this alone.”
• Gatsby is isolated, not only in death,
but even at his own parties where he
was a lost and detached onlooker.
• Discuss: Why was Gatsby never
accepted? What does this reveal about
the other characters in the novel?
Characterisation: Gatsby
• “He took off his glasses and wiped
them again, outside and in. ‘The poor
son-of-a-bitch,’ he said”
• We feel sympathy for Gatsby too,
deserted by acquaintances and (more
importantly) Daisy.
Characterisation: Gatsby
• Gatsby built himself up from nothing to
a position of relative wealth and
power. He could therefore be seen to
have achieved the American Dream,
but the poor attendance at his funeral
highlights the hollowness and the
emotional cost of his version of the
American Dream.
CHARACTERISATION – GATSBY’S
FATHER
• Henry C Gatz is a figure of sympathy
rather than admiration
• “His eyes leaked continuously”
• “He was on the point of collapse”
• Nick does not shatter the old man’s
illusion of his son
• “That’s true”
CHARACTERISATION – GATSBY’S
FATHER
• Gatsby’s father keeps talking about the
picture of Gatsby’s house
• In a parallel with his son the picture
“was more real to him than the house
itself”
• He is infatuated by an illusion. He is so
taken in by the grand display of
Gatsby’s wealth that he doesn’t realise
his son didn’t achieve his dream.
SETTING – THE MID-WEST
• “That’s my Middle West ...”
• The Mid-West has been seen to be
boring compared to the excitement of
the East
• But the East is just glittering on the
surface
• It lacks the moral centre of the MidWest
• This moral depravity dooms the
characters in the novel to failure
Setting
• In the final chapter Nick concludes that
this has been ‘the story of the West’
because all the main characters are
from the West and ‘possessed some
deficiency’.
• Nick’s view of East and West changes
throughout the novel. After Gatsby’s
death the East coast becomes
‘haunted’ and ‘distorted’ for him.
Nick’s view of the East
• A place that lacks morals.
• Host to a series of ‘gleaming, dazzling
parties’ that suggest a glittering
surface, but very little underneath.
THEME – SHALLOWNESS OF THE
AMERICAN UPPER CLASSES
• “What I called up about was a pair of
shoes I left there.”
• Shows lack of morals and the
shallowness of the upper classes.
• Klipspringer was Gatsby’s lodger but
would rather attend a picnic.
• He is not even phoning up to offer
commiserations but to enquire about a
pair of shoes.
Theme: Shallowness of the American
Upper Classes
• “Nobody came”
• This illustrates the upper class
shallowness.
• They attended his parties and abused
his hospitality but have deserted him
when he is no longer of any use.
THEME – THE AMERICAN DREAM
• Gatsby fails to achieve the American
Dream – Why?
• Some suggestions may be:
1. He is a criminal
2. He can never gain acceptance into
the American aristocracy.
3. His new identity is an act
4. His dream was unattainable (why?)
• All of these question the idea of
America as a place where all things
are possible if one tries enough.
• The American dream is the potential
for unlimited advancement, regardless
of where they come from or how poor
their background is
• Gatsby’s failure suggests it is
impossible to disown one’s past so
completely
SYMBOLISM
• “He knew he had a big future in front
of him. And ever since he made a
success he was very generous with
me.”
• Ironic – in his father’s mind Gatsby
had achieved the American dream
• His father has no understanding of the
intricacies of American society and the
fact that his son would never be
accepted.
• “That’s my Middle West”
• Nick thinks of America as a place with
distinct regions with different values
• Each area has come to symbolise
different values
• Discuss: What values are symbolised
by the Mid-West, East, West within the
novel?
Symbolism - Setting
• “I see now that this has been a story of
the West, after all – Tom and Gatsby,
Daisy and Jordan and I, were all
Westerners …”
• Throughout history the West has been
seen as a land of promise, possibility, a
symbol of American ideals
• But Tom and Daisy, like other
members of the upper classes have
betrayed American ideals by having a
rigid class structure that excludes
newcomers from its upper classes.
Symbolism – Gatsby’s House
• “Gatsby’s house was still and empty
when I left”
• The party is over in both the literal and
metaphorical sense.
Symbolism – Gatsby’s lawn
• “…grass on his lawn had grown as long
as mine.”
• Gatsby has gone but time has moved
on
• This contrasts with Gatsby’s lawn when
he was alive
• Discuss – how does this link to
Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy?
Consider how it changed and when
grass cutting was significant in the
past.
Symbolism - Gatsby
• “…and perhaps he made a story about
it all of his own.”
• Even in death Gatsby remains the
focus of gossip and speculation.
• Discuss – do you think that Gatsby
deserved to be the centre of such
gossip?
Symbolism – Gatsby’s House
• “…I went over and looked at that huge
incoherent failure of a house once
more.”
• It is like a sign of material success, but
like its owner it is flawed.
• “…word, scrawled by some boy”
• In the corrupt America of the 1920s
childhood is not even a time of
innocence.
Setting
• “…I became aware of the old island
here that flowered once for Dutch
sailors’ eyes…”
• Nick imagines what it must have
looked like to the first explorers
• Seeing that America was once a goal
for dreamers just as Daisy was for
Gatsby.
• “Gatsby believed in the green light…”
• Nick pictures the green land of America as the green
light shining from Daisy’s dock. When America was
founded it tried to distance itself from the traditional
class system, but the novel shows that the class
structure still exists.
• Gatsby can’t escape his PAST as he fails to
overcome the class barrier.
• He believes that Gatsby had failed to realise that his
dreams had already ended and that his dream was
unattainable as it was rooted in the past.
• His goals had become hollow and empty.
• “…tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out
our arms further … And one fine morning –
So we beat on, boats against the current,
borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
• Symbolises that the return to paradise is an
ideal not a reality, but GASTBY represents
humanity’s endless capacity for hope. The
image of the boats in the ‘ceaseless tide’
captures the mix of futility and hope.
• Discuss: is this an optimistic or pessimistic
end to the novel?
CONGRATULATIONS!
YOU ARE NOW AN
EXPERT ON ‘THE
GREAT GATSBY’

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