Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby reflects the lifestyle of 1920s Post WWI era known as “The Jazz Age.” Prohibition is law: drinking is illegal. Fitzgerald presents characters of middle and upper-class America He shows how social groups do not interact with each other The novel shows social upheaval and uncertainty He depicts danger of shaky values and immoral leadership He challenges the “American Dream” The Great Gatsby Characters: Jay Gatsby: protagonist; newly wealthy Midwesterner turned Easterner. Nick Carraway: story’s narrator; Yale graduate; 29; well-off but not Gatsby-rich; served in WW I.; bond salesman who rents small house next to Gatsby’s mansion. The Great Gatsby Characters: Tom Buchanan: ex-football star from Yale; 30; wealthy and physically strong; primitive; cheating on his wife. Daisy Buchanan: from wealthy Louisville family; Nick’s distant cousin; 23; apparently knows Gatsby somehow. Pammy Buchanan: Tom and Daisy’s daughter; a child of the Jazz Age (little parental contact). Daisy says of Pammy: “I suppose she talks, and – eats, and everything.” The Great Gatsby Characters: Jordan Baker: professional golfer; young, single, and wealthy; admired; shallow. Myrtle Wilson: Tom’s married lover; represents lower class; enters world of upper class through her affair with Tom. George Wilson: Myrtle’s husband; runs gas station/garage in “valley of ashes”; represents despair of economically trapped lowermiddle class. Catherine: Myrtle’s sister; aware of Myrtle’s secret life and enjoys its benefits. The Great Gatsby: Chapters 1-2 Characterization We learn something happens during this summer to change Nick’s sense of tolerance; we just don’t know what, yet. Daisy pretends discontent with Tom, her daughter and the world to elicit Nick’s sympathy. But she is really just complacent about life: no real feeling or commitment about anything. Chapters 1-2 Myrtle’s emotions seem as changeable as her clothing. She does a laughable job of trying to escape her lowerclass life and ways with gestures and laughter that do not quite fit the high society to which she aspires. Chapters 1-2 Themes Hope/paradox: Nick says Gatsby “represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn,” yet it is Gatsby’s capacity for hope that makes Nick’s paradoxical admiration possible. Chapters 1-2 Illusion By attaching herself to Tom, Myrtle thinks that makes her upper class. Corruption of the American Dream Myrtle is under the same illusion that we’ll later see in Gatsby: the dream that material wealth lets one rise above one’s origins and ultimately buy happiness. Chapters 1-2 Symbolism/Imagery Nick tries to get some fresh air at the party but keeps getting sucked back in. This becomes symbolic of the entire summer. T.J. Eckleburg, an oculist, watches over the “Valley of Ashes.” His huge eyes, on an old billboard, “look out of no face.” Chapters 1-2 Structure Tom’s affair is the exciting force that sets off the conflict between the desire to know the truth about life and the attraction toward what is illusory. Tips for vocabulary quizzes Determine what part of speech is needed. Once you know that, you can eliminate the choices that don’t match. For example, if the girls were “putting their head on men’s shoulders in a puppyish, convivial way…” convivial is an adjective describing “way.” So in your list of choices, narrow it down to adjectives. Vocabulary tips Search out the root of the word. For example, what is the root of the highlighted word: A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her and there is burst of chatter as the erroneous news go around that she is Gilda Gray’s understudy from the “Follies.” The root is “error.” We all know that an error is a mistake. Is there a definition on the list pertaining to mistake? If so, that’s likely the definition you seek. Vocabulary Let’s try one from an upcoming list Gatsby took an arm of each of us and moved forward into the restaurant whereupon Mr. Wolfshiem swallowed a new sentence he was starting and lapsed into a somnambulatory abstraction. Somnambulatory describes abstraction (which is a noun), so it is an adjective. Our root is somna, joined with ambulatory. What word do we know that relates to somna? Insomnia: pertaining to sleep. How about ambulatory? Amble: to saunter, or walk. Ambulance. What does an ambulance do? It moves or transports from one place to another. So we put those two together: sleep and walking or movement. If we move in our sleep from place to another, what are we doing? Sleepwalking. Is that close to one of our choices? How about the one that states “to walk in a sleep-like condition”?