Fitzgerald, John - The Great Gatsby

Presentation / Essay (Pre-University), 2002

11 Pages, Grade: 2+ (B)

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During my foreign exchange year in the United States of America, I took a very interesting English class with a great teacher, who could inspire us pupils to read and get into a book very deeply. He did it with such a passion, that I was affected, too. His lessons dealt with the most important American literature, like J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” or Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn. But particularly, “The Great Gatsby”, by Scott Fitzgerald, was something special to me. It is a great story, which takes place in a fantastic “Golden Time”, right in be- tween two times of great misery (World War I and the Great Depression). On the other hand, there are also many critical statements hidden in the novel, mostly between the lines. It con- tains messages that go against a world in America, that is seen to be so perfect, having noth- ing negative about it. It is obvious, that Fitzgerald talks about the American Dream through his characters. He gives us dreamers around the world a wakeup-call, not to forget to be criti- cal about our high standard of living. We still think that we can become millionaires by hon- est, legal, and hard work. Fitzgerald tells us about “our dream” and what had happened to this wonderful world. He shows us, how people become millionaires, or how they lose everything, even their lives, and what motivations force them to act this way. Many parts of his novel are actually taken from Fitzgerald’s own life. He moved East and West through the United States to find his fortune. He travelled and never found his home somewhere else, than in the Mid- west. There, everything seems to be still all right; people live their normal life, which appears to be very quietly and peacefully1.

That is why I picked this novel, to discuss its most obvious themes. Especially in these times right now, they are highly topical and Fitzgerald’s warnings are still valid for us today, not just in the 1920’s: Is the dream, of becoming whatever you want to be in your life by hard work, still possible as it was in the very beginning?


Named after his great, great, great, grandfather’s brother, who wrote the “Star Spangled Ban- ner”, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since the early death of his mother, Mary (Mollie) McQuillan, Scott was raised by his father,

Edward Fitzgerald. Scott attended St. Paul Academy; his first writing to appear in print was a detective story in the school newspaper when he was thirteen. In 1911, Scott moved East to attend Newman School and later Princeton. There, Scott was a member of the “Triangle Club”, a group of students, who write and produce of musical comedy every year. Scott put more effort in this club (he even ran for its presidency), than in his academics, which were very poor. After his malaria in 1917, he fell back a year in college, and while his old class graduated, Scott did not finish his senior year. Instead, he enrolled for the army during World War I. But his dreams of military glory were destroyed, soon. His regiment was just sent off to Europe, when the Armistice had already been signed. Nevertheless, at the army, he met his later wife Zelda Sayre. Before they would get married, Scott had to make some money to im- press her. His first novel “This Side of Paradise” was published by a friend and became a bestseller.

Scott was only 23, but already regarded as the speaker of, what he called “The Jazz Age”, the 1920’s. Zelda, finally, became his wife, and together they lived the wild dream of the 20’s in New York. They rode through town on top of cabs, danced wildly at many parties, and even jumped into the fountain of the Plaza hotel. Many years later in a beautiful letter to his daugh- ter Scottie, who was born in April 1921, Scott talks about the tension of those years: “When I was your age I lived with a great dream. The dream grew and I learned to speak of it and make people listen. Then the dream divided when I decided to marry your mother … I was a man divided - she wanted me to work too much for her love and not enough for my dream.”2

Scott continued to write a lot and tried for another bestseller. This time, his material came right out of his own environment. To achieve another great success, Scott had to change his attitude to life, again. He had to interrupt his wild way of life (with a lot of alcohol) and focus on his talent. After ten months of hard work, “The Great Gatsby” was published in April 1925. Even though, the critics were overwhelming positive, its sells stayed far behind its ex- pectations.

The golden years ended in 1929 with the stock market crash and no one was interested in sto- ries of rich people celebrating life (just like in Fitzgerald’s novels), anymore. Fitzgerald’s third novel “Tender is the Night” totally failed and he had to write for some newspapers. Zelda’s mental illness caused a number of breakdowns. Later she had to be hospitalised for good because of her schizophrenia. Scott also experienced several blackouts himself, caused by his severe drinking problems. The last two years of his life, Scott wrote scripts in Holly- wood. He never finished his fourth novel “The Last Tycoon” because he died as the result of a heart attack on December 21, 1940 in Hollywood. He only became 44 years old.


Nick Carraway is the narrator of this story in a time of his life, when he lived in New York, in the beginning of summer in 1922. He is a Midwesterner from Minnesota who went East after World War I to learn the bond business. Nick rents a ramshackle house in West Egg, next to the popular James Gatsby, who hosts many parties at his gigantic house. At first, Nick gets to know his neighbour only through other people, like his relative, Daisy, her millionaire hus- band Tom Buchanan, and their friend, a famous golf player, Jordan Baker (to whom Nick gets very close to during the story). Soon, Nick finds out that Daisy and Gatsby met already five years ago, during the war. Back then, Gatsby was not wealthy enough to impress Daisy, and while he was a soldier overseas, Tom became her husband due to his immense richness and distinguished family background. After the war, Gatsby works hard (most likely with shady businesses in New York’s underground) to regain Daisy’s heart by earning enough money to buy his mansion, which is located on the other side of Long Island, just across Buchanan’s house. Gatsby hopes, that Daisy will be so impressed, that she would leave Tom and marry her old love.

Gatsby needs a matchmaker, someone who is close to her, just like her second cousin, Nick Carraway. The two neighbours get really close to each other and become friends. Finally, Daisy comes to Nick’s house at his invitation and meets Gatsby, for the first time in five years. She is delighted by Gatsby’s little empire and the two start to spend much time together. That, of course, makes her husband, Tom, very suspicious, who also has a mistress himself. She is George Wilson’s wife, the poor owner of a gas station in the Valley of Ashes, which lies between the two Eggs and New York.

Shortly, Gatsby and Tom meet each other to fight for Daisy. Gatsby wants her to leave Tom and come with him, but Daisy cannot stand the pressure of her husband and her own feelings. Tom is the winner and lets Gatsby and Daisy drive home together. As they come to the gas station, Myrtle Wilson (Tom’s mistress) runs in front of their car, thinking it is Tom, after her jealous husband had locked her up. Daisy hits and kills Myrtle, but in the state of her shock, she keeps speeding Gatsby’s car home. Back in East Egg, Tom refocuses on his wife again, after his mistress has been killed, assuming Gatsby to have been the car’s driver that night. That is what he even tells George, who, in his pain of his wife’s loss, cries for revenge.

The next day, Nick finds Gatsby’s dead body in his mansion’s pool, right next to George Wil- son lying dead in the grass, his revolver still in his hand. At Gatsby’ funeral, there are only three people: It is Nick and some crazy man who admired Gatsby’s wealth, especially his books3. In addition, Henry C. Gatz appears, James’ father who lives in Minnesota, where James is originally from, too. He read about his son’s death in a Chicago newspaper. He is very proud of his son and Nick learns a lot about James’ real life. He dedicated his whole life to become rich, one day.

Disgusted by the sick East with its cold, inhuman, and materialistic people, Nick moves back to the Midwest, where everything is calmly and peacefully. The only memory, he keeps of his life out in New York, is James Gatsby, the man he admires the most in his life4 and that is why this story is told5,6.


a) There are three social groups in the novel I want to deal with. Surely, there are some other society strata (just like Nick Carraway), but those are not as important as the ones I picked. First, there is the figure, which gives this novel its title: James Gatsby. He lives in Long Is- land's West Egg as a next-door neighbour to Nick Carraway. Throughout the novel, Gatsby gives us a few hints about his early life, but we have to be careful. He grew up in an under- privileged family in the Midwest. Very early in his life, he made friends with a millionaire yachtsman called Dan Cody, who taught James all about life of the rich. James was a poor man himself until he had to earn a lot of money to impress his great love, Daisy Fay. Unfortu- nately, she went off to marry Tom Buchanan while he fought the Germans in World War I. Coming back home, James did not give her up, though. Instead, he started to build up his em- pire. No one really knows how he earned all his money. Some people think, he was a German spy during the war, some say, he killed a man, and some others call him a bootlegger7,8. In the end, some of Gatsby’s stories turn out to be half-true or even totally lied. He tells Nick, that both his parents died very young9. Surprisingly, at the end of the novel, Gatsby’s father ap- pears to his son’s funeral. In West Egg, James owns a huge mansion10. He gives big parties in hope to meet Daisy at one of them. Although, there are many people, no one really knows James and he does not have any real friends11. This is especially shown, when Nick tries to call some of Gatsby’s closest “friends” to his funeral; in the end it is just and James’ father at the cemetery. There is nothing reliable said, how he earns his money at the time, the story takes place. He just gets strange phone calls from all over the United States12 and meets with dubious dark persons, as an influential gangster boss called Meyer Wolfsheim13.

Just across Gatsby’s house, at the other side of the sea, is East Egg, where Daisy and Tom Buchanan live. Daisy was born in Kentucky and is Nick’s second cousin. Throughout the whole book, she is described almost in fairytale language14. (Just her name already tells us that: Fay means “fairy” or sprite, and Daisy suggests the flower.) Yet, Daisy is very money- orientated. When she meets Gatsby for the first time during the war, she does not want to marry him, even though she is in love with him15, because he is not wealthy enough. She ends up marrying Tom, after he gave her a three hundred thousand dollar necklace.16 Daisy does not have a strong determination and cannot stand too much pressure17. She has a daughter, Pammy, although she seems to spend little time with her18. Her husband, Tom, is a tall, strong,19 and very rich man. He grew up in a wealthy family and went to college with Nick, where he was a very good football player. Tom is very brutal20 and an enormous racist21. Al- though, he pretends to love his wife dearly, he has a mistress and does not make a big secret out of it22. While he is doing some car deals with her husband, Tom meets with Myrtle in New York in a little apartment, that they have only bought for their affair23. Actually, Tom does not really value Myrtle any more than his own wife. Daisy gets a lot of expensive gifts, but Myrtle only gets some dresses and a cheap dog leach for a little puppy in the apartment24. The third group is the Wilsons. George Wilson owns a gas station25 in the Valley of Ashes, which is the dirtiest neighbourhood in New York26. George is very poor, in two different categories. He seems sick, but still, he is a very nice and handsome man27. For his wedding, he had to borrow someone’s best suit because he could not afford a tuxedo28. His wife, Myr- tle, is Tom’s mistress. He is a natural beauty and seems very appealing29. Just like Daisy, she is very materialistic. She loves Tom more than her husband and hopes, Tom would leave Daisy and take her as his wife, one day (but, of course, this would just stay a dream). She pre- fers someone who gives her presents and little love, to someone poor who loves her dearly and cares only for her30. Myrtle even likes to be mistreated by Tom, which is shown on her reactions to Tom’s cruel treatment - none. Her husband gets suspicious after a while, and he tries to save his wife by earning enough money to move to the Midwest31. However, it all turns out in a huge tragedy. Thinking it is her “loving dear”, Myrtle runs in front of a car (Gatsby’s), after being locked up in her room by her jealous husband, she gets hit and killed by the car’s driver, Daisy32. George is desperate for revenge because he realizes that there has to be a connection between the car’s driver and Myrtle’s affair some where in town33. He asks Tom for the car’s owner and eventually kills the wrong man, Gatsby, and finally himself34.

That makes him poor, too. He had never harmed anyone and just loves his wife so much (maybe, he thinks, she is everything, he really owns). Just, his wife did not love him anymore because a rich man and his fantastic world have tempted her. She was trapped in a world of wealthy, where she does not belong.

b) As already shown in their introductions, those three groups are heavily connected with each other. In fact, every group meets with the others, at least one time.

First, there is the relationship between Buchanans and Wilsons. Tom Buchanan has an affair with Myrtle Wilson. At the same time, Tom wants to sell one of his cars to George Wilson, who would restore and then sell it for more money35. George really needs that money36, so he has to be very friendly and a little bit subservient to Tom37. However, George knows, or feels, that his wife has an affair with someone; he does not suspect Tom to be this man. He even talks to Tom, to find out the yellow car’s driver, who killed his wife on the street38.

In fact, Gatsby does not meet anyone of the Wilsons, until George eventually kills him. Though, George owns the gas station39, they never meet each other. Actually, there is no need for them to meet (in their role as two characters in the novel) because they do not have any similar interests that could overlap with each other to a conflict. Their social status is the exact opposite, so they do not have any places, they could possibly meet.

However, Gatsby meets both Buchanans. During World War I, he first met Daisy40 and fell in love with her. Five years later, he, now rich, tries to regain her love, but has to fight against her husband, Tom. Daisy and Gatsby spend a lot of time together; they even meet at their homes. Of course, after a while, Gatsby gets in contact with her very suspicious mate. Daisy invites Nick, Jordan41 and Gatsby for lunch at her house. Gatsby and Tom do not like each other42,43 at all from the very first moment. They are two rivals for the same woman and both think, each of them is the best match for her.

There are also some conflicts within the groups themselves. Both married couples do not seem to be very happy with their marriage. That is even obvious to some people, who have a certain distance to them44. One partner of a group even has an affair with a person of another one. They are Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson. Both the other partners know that their mates are not faithful, but they do not know, whom they are actually dating. That would have changed this story, totally. If George Wilson would have know, that one of his best costumers (he does not just selling petrol to Tom, but he is also doing some deals on cars with him) is his wife’s secret lover, it would have never come to his fatal mistake in the end.

c) In fact, you cannot find “The American Dream” clearly defined in any formal encyclopae- dia. It is based on decades of history of the United States of America and exists in people’s mind, only. The USA is a nation of immigrants and truly, all its citizens (even the Indians45 ), are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from around the world. The motives for immi- gration were and still are religious, political oppression in their homeland or economic ones. Every one of the travellers (some of them did not even survive the long distance on the boats) travelling to the “New World” had the big dream of a new society, a better life than they had at home. Thomas Jefferson wrote those dreams down in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He transformed those dreams into the basic rights of every US-American citizen and called them “inalienable rights.”46 These rights can be mainly understood as the equality of opportunity, but it also contains political, racial, and social equality, the individual freedom in terms of religion, politics, and economy. Finally, yet importantly, it encloses the pursuit of happiness. The dream says that you can work yourself up “from rags to riches”47 by hard work. These are the older ideals of the American Dream, but today, the American Dream has changed extremely. The new society developed dreams of blind pursuit of material, wealth, and economic success. Fitzgerald realizes this big change in society. He probably is a fighter for the old values and tries to warn us, not to continue this wrong way.

In the 1920’s, life in America was beautiful. It was the only country taking part in World War I, without having a single house destroyed. Europe was not only totally ruined by years of terror, but it was also extremely weakened in economical terms. The USA could make a big profit out of that circumstance. Many people had a lot of money, mostly from the stock mar- ket, which boomed in that time. People could afford their biggest dreams because they did not have to worry about their money. They could take very cheap credits and did not have to care for their future. At the same time, the government decided on a “Prohibition”, which made the purchase and consume of any alcoholic drinks illegal. Though, some people made their own liquors, there still was a huge demand for alcoholic beverages, which opened the door for the organized crime. Criminals made a fortune by smuggling and selling liquor across the coun- try. They were called bootleggers48.

Gatsby is supposed to be one of those people. Within five years, a poor soldier becomes a millionaire with immense power49. He owns a huge mansion, with many servants and hosts a lot of expensive parties for people he hardly knows. He worked his way up; he lived the prov- erb of the American Dream. Although, he can be seen as the personified dream in Fitzgerald’s novel on the one hand, on the other hand he does not represent the dream of millions of peo- ple because he gained his wealth by illegal means. In addition, his motivation is a little bit off50. Many people try to become wealthy to have no more trouble in life. Gatsby has to be- come rich in order to take someone’s wife away. He has to impress Daisy with his money, not with his love. He puts materialistic means far behind human feelings. Nevertheless, Gatsby can be counted to the group of the “new rich”. In the end, a desperate man who lost his only real „property“, love of his wife, shoots him. He is making a fatal mistake by killing Gatsby, but it is not his fault. Tom takes advantage of his rage to save himself and misleads him fa- tally. Tom uses this poor man to get rid of his rival, Gatsby.

There are also other kinds of richness, as represented by Tom Buchanan. He was born into a wealthy family already. He just had to maintain his money by continuing his family’s work51.

While Gatsby ha at least a little bit of human charming, Tom can impress Daisy and his mis- tress only with his money. He lives a comfortable life because his ancestors built up their em- pire, already. Tom never had to work hard for his privilege. He can be called an “established rich”. He does not really represent the American Dream (probably his grandparents did), but he is part of it because he lives that life, which so many people try to reach with their hard work.

Not to forget, there is George Wilson who is married to a materialistic orientated woman. He cannot give her anything else, but his deepest love. Now, he has not lived a life like it is meant to be in the big dream, but he could have started it, if he had a chance to earn enough money to move to the Midwest to build a new existence. George never had a lot of money, but he lived for a long time (he did not die a natural death), that means, he always had enough money for food, clothes and a place to live. In contrast to the other two groups, he has to be called “poor”, though. He had his own dream, of going West to live in peace, they he could not escape. Increasingly, he was stuck in this cruel world and failed to rescue his wife and himself, both die in the end.


Fitzgerald says a lot about the American Dream with his characters, settings, and the whole plot. First, he uses three society strata that all live in different areas of one town52. You can even set those different groups equal to three different financial groups. Buchanans are “es- tablished rich”, Gatsby is “new rich” and Wilsons are “poor”. All of them have dreams in their lives, but they distinguish a lot. While Gatsby wants to impress Daisy, George just wants to move away from New York to live more peacefully in the Midwest. In terms of the Ameri- can dream, only Gatsby can be counted to a group of people, who worked their way up to their fortune. Within five years, he became a millionaire, while he started as a poor soldier. Tom always was rich and did not have to work for his wealth. Only George never got rich at all, he probably did not even want to be.

Therefore, there is only one personification of the American Dream in this novel, James Gatsby. If you look at the end of the story, and see what happens to this dream, you might find out very quickly, what Fitzgerald tries to tell us about it. A poor, who was sent by an es- tablished rich man, kills Gatsby. The poor man already lost his wife, and even kills himself in the end. Now, there are three deaths and only two people survived (from those three groups mentioned). They belong to the established rich, people who always were rich and will stay it for many long years. The poor are dead. They never made a big fortune in life, and probably would have never found it in a world full of richness. There was no room for them to live their simple way of life. Sometimes, they even take a look at another life53, but they do not belong there. There is no room for poverty in the American Dream (which is located in a huge metropolis like New York) and that is why they had to die. People want to get out of poverty to become something important in life. George was too honest and to loveable to have a chance to survive in this cruel world of a dream, which can be only reached with a lot of luck and most likely no conscience of real, hard work. Maybe, George “wasted” his energy with something human like “love” to his wife, so that he could never o from gas station to man- sion. Back to the American dream, Gatsby lived his dream with illegal help. He did some businesses with a lot of criminals. Even though, he experienced the wonder of the American Dream, he did not go the right way. That was not the method people thought of, when they came up with their new hope in America (like the first settlers). Our dream has become cor- rupt. It is not possible anymore, to reach the big goal of wealth by honest, hard work. You can only earn so much money with illegal deals and jobs.

Gatsby’s death also symbolizes that the old dream of wealth by hard work, known as the “American Dream” is dead. It is actually killed by the established rich, who use poor people to destroy it. Established rich probably do not tolerate new rich people, call them “snobs” because their won wealth is in danger. That is why, they do not like the idea of sharing their social status with some people, who were poor, once. They want to keep to themselves. Human feelings, like love and affection, do not matter anymore in a cruel world that is ruled by materialistic means. A person is just worth his financial fortune.


1 F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The Great Gatsby”, Penguin Popular Classics, London 1996, p.183, ll.7-15 [Nick about his life in the Midwest]: “I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name.”

2 Scott Fitzgerald, „Letter to His Daughter,“ July 7, 1938 from Letters To His Daughter, 1965

3 The Great Gatsby, pp.51f, ll.33+1-3 [“Owl eyes at Gatsby’s party in his library]: “Absolutely real - have pages and everything. I thought they a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real”

4 The Great Gatsby, p.160.ll.18-20 [Nick to Gatsby, talking about Gatsby’s value as a human, compared to all those people, who come to his parties]: “’They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’”

5 The Great Gatsby, p.8, ll.17-20 [Nick about Gatsby]: “He has an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.”

6 Cf.

7 Someone who smuggles and sells liquor in times of Prohibition.

8 The Great Gatsby, p.67, ll.4-8: "He's a bootlegger ... One time he killed a man who found out that he was nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil."

9 The Great Gatsby, p.71, ll.11-13.

10 The Great Gatsby, p.11, ll.18-22: “It was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.”

11 The Great Gatsby, p. 48, ll.9-13 [Nick]: „As soon as I arrived [at Gatsby’s party] I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements …”

12 The Great Gatsby, p.59, l.31 [Butler]: “Philadelphia wants you on the ‚phone, sir.”

13 Cf. The Great Gatsby, ch.4.

14 E.g.: The Great Gatsby, p.15, ll.35: “It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangements of notes that will never be played again”

15 The Great Gatsby, p.156, ll.3-11 [Gatsby to Nick, in a beautiful way, he describes his love to Daisy, five years ago]: “I can’t describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she’d throw me over, but she didn’t because she was in love with me, too. She thought I knew a lot because I knew different things from her … Well, there I was, ‘way off my ambitions, getting deeper in love every minute, and all of a sudden I didn’t care. What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?”

16 All mentioned in little sections throughout the novel, mostly by Jordan Baker, a close friend of Daisy and Nick.

17 The Great Gatsby, p.140, ll.6f: “’I Won’t stand this!’ cried Daisy [to Tom]. ‘Oh, please let’s get out.’”

18 The little girl is only mentioned twice in the whole story in a very strange way, just by the way (chs. 1+5).

19 The Great Gatsby, p. 13, ll.6-11 [Nick about Tom]: “He had changed [since school]. Now he was a sturdy

straw-haired man of thirty, with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively foreword.”

20 He brakes his mistress’ nose, just because she is making fun of his wife (p.43, ll.21f)

21 He suggests Nick to read a “great book” that talks about the fight of the white race to remain in control of the earth (p.19, ll.14ff).

22 The Great Gatsby, p.30, ll.15f [Tom to Nick]: “I want you to meet my girl!”

23 Cf. The Great Gatsby, p.41ff.

24 Cf. The Great Gatsby, ch.2.

25 The Great Gatsby, p.30, l.30 [Nick reads out Wilson’s sign]: „Repairs. George B. Wilson. Cars bought and sold”

26 The Great Gatsby, p.29, ll.4-10: „This was the valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smo- ke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.”

27 The Great Gatsby, p.31, ll.6f [Nick about George]: „ He was a blond, spiritless man, anaemic, and faintly handsome.“

28 The Great Gatsby, p.41, ll.15-21.

29 The Great Gatsby, p.31, ll.30ff: “Her face contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering.”

30 The Great Gatsby, p.41, ll.15f [Myrtle about George]: „The only crazy I was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake.”

31 The Great Gatsby, p.129, ll.25f [George to Tom, after being asked, why he needs so much money]: “I’ve been here too long. I want to get away. My wife and I want to go West.”

32 Cf. The Great Gatsby, end of ch.7

33 The Great Gatsby, p.163, ll15-19 [George after his wife’s deadly accident]: “He announced that he had a way of finding out whom the yellow car belonged to, and hen blurted out that a couple of months ago his wife had come from the city with her face bruised and her nose swollen.“

34 The Great Gatsby, p.168, ll.6-8: „It was after we started with Gatsby[‘s dead body] toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.“

35 Cf. The Great Gatsby, p.31

36 The Great Gatsby p.129, l.14 [George to Tom]: “I need money pretty bad” [to move West with his wife]

37 The Great Gatsby, p.31, ll18f [George, after Tom threatens him to make the sell fall through]: “’I don’t mean that,’ explained Wilson quickly. ‘I just meant - ‘”

38 The Great Gatsby, pp. 185f, ll.28ff [Tom to Nick, after Nick asked him, what he had told Wilson, the night before he killed Gatsby]: “He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave, and when I sent down word that we weren’t in he tried to force his way upstairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn’t told him who owned the car.” [He told Wilson, Gatsby had driven the car, that is why Wilson went off to Gatsby’s house, assuming, he killed Myrtle]

39 It is located between East, West Egg and New York, many people stop there on their way to town.

40 Back then, Daisy’s last name still was Fairy

41 A friend of Daisy, who is a famous golf player, she gets really close to Nick, too

42 The Great Gatsby, p.136, ll.11-13 [Tom]: “I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody [Gatsby] from Nowhere make love to your wife.”

43 The Great Gatsby, p.112, ll.12f [Gatsby introduces Tom to some people, only by referring to him as]: Mr. Buchanan, […] the polo player.” Gatsby leaves out any title or what else Tom might do and where he could be important. A great way to disgrace someone in front of other people.

44 The Great Gatsby, p.39, ll.21f [Catherine, Myrtle’s sister, to Nick]: “Neither of them can stand the person they’re married to.” Later, after being asked, why they would not get divorced, she says, pp.39f, ll.33, 1f: “It’s really his wife [Daisy] that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.” Nevertheless, in the next line, Nick tells us that Daisy is not a Catholic and is „a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.” In this little coincidence, it is revealed again, what kind of a brute Tom really is. He talks about leaving Daisy and marrying Myrtle, but excuses himself with a big lie. While Myrtle believes in the great love between them, Tom actually just wants Myrtle to be his mistress, an affair besides his marriage.

45 It is said that the Native Americans came from Northern America or even Europe long times ago.

46 A set of Historic Documents by the American Document Company, purchased in Washington, D.C.

47 American proverb

48 They are called that way because the hid their bottles mostly in their shoes or in big belts around their body.

49 He even has a ticket, which allows him to speed on the road without being stopped by the police, The Great Gatsby, p.74.

50 There is a big symbol for his motivation. Daisy lives right across the sea, so her house has a dock at the beach, where a green light is shining all day. Gatsby always comes out at night to look at this light. It is the fulfilment of his dream, his goal of life; The Great Gatsby, p.30, l.2f: “And distinguished nothing except a single green light that might have been the end of a dock.”

51 It is not mentioned, how Tom actually earns his money, but it is obvious that he does not have to worry about it. He has more than enough.

52 Buchanans live in East Egg, Gatsby lives in West Egg, and Wilsons live in the “Valley Of Ashes”.

53 Myrtle has an affair with a rich man.

11 of 11 pages


Fitzgerald, John - The Great Gatsby
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ISBN (eBook)
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Comparison of the three society stratums in the novel as introduced in the first two chapters, and their relations to the American Dream.
Fitzgerald, John, Great, Gatsby
Quote paper
Sebastian Peiler (Author), 2002, Fitzgerald, John - The Great Gatsby, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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