Fitzgerald has a very poetic way of presenting language. He uses the same devices consistently throughout his writing.
- Select three passages from the book (about a paragraph or two in length) that we have NOT annotated as a class. Annotate these passages and identify the language features that Fitzgerald uses. Explain the effect of these features and why he may have chosen to use them.
- Fitzgerald uses many allusions throughout the novel. Select one of these allusions and explain the connection between it and the book.
Bonus: how can you link it to our theme of “illusion”.
“He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy, he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an over-wound clock.”
– Most people do not react the way Gatsby did, it was over the top and unnessary. – Gatsby can not actually believe that Daisy is with him again, he has hoped and dreamed for them to be together for so long. Just from being in the same room as her he is so caught up in her presence he can not think about anything else. – Gatsby’s dream is to be with Daisy for the rest of their lives, it is all he strives for and is why he completly recreated himself. – He has worked so hard and ruthlessly to change himself to be the perfect man for Daisy, nothing about him is real anymore, it is all an illusion built to appeal to her lifestyles standards.
“As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
– His happiness isn’t real happiness it is purely
– He has completely got ride of anything that actually is true about himself, everything is relant on his illusion. It has consumed him, nothing can ever fully satisfie him there will always be something else just out of reach.
– He is already dead.
The idea of illusion presented in the novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald can be reflected into society today. In the story, each main character put up their own type of illusion to deflect anyone seeing their true personality or intentions. Their individual illusions are present throughout the duration of the text, which shows how hard people will work and strive to keep up their outward appearance just to please others. Society was, and still is, a tough thing to please it will always find new ways to ridicule you and stop you from succeeding in life. A direct reflection of this can be seen in teenagers in today’s society, they use their own variations of illusions to disguises who they really are because they are afraid of being judged by others. Magazines and social media are warping their minds into believing that they must be ‘perfect’ and keep up to date with the latest trends. Every day teenagers are being constantly judged for their actions whether it be something as simple as dying their hair or having a different sexual orientation, which is why it’s understandable that they create illusions. It is a system of defence, to avoid criticism from people that do not accept their personal decisions or understand their way of life. Those who refuse to hide who they really are few and far between, society wants to think that it is welcoming to everyone but in reality, it still has a long way to go.
The green light symbolises Gatsby’s relentless hope for Daisy. “He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of the dock.” In the beginning, when Gatsby’s illusion was still intact the light was visible from his house but as Daisy and Gatsby began to see each other again and his illusion started to crack, mist and fog clouded his view of the green light, the hope was getting harder to see, harder to find. The light was being “minute and far away” represents that the even before they met again, the likely hood of their relationship being a success was small. “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever… Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.” As the story progressed Gatsby realised that no matter how much he tried, he could not force history to repeat itself, and the hope slowly began to fade away. In Gatsby’s final moments he gave up on the green light and began to see everything without the filter of Daisy, “He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky…” It had been so long since Gatsby had ever lived for something other than a future with Daisy that he is seeing the world for the first time again, and would have come to the conclusion in his last few seconds that there is so much he has missed out on, so much he’ll never see. He wasted his life, the green light was an instigator of false hope within Gatsby that enticed him towards his own demise.
Water is an important aspect of this novel and is used throughout the whole story. It represents Gatsby and Daisy’s past and the time they spent apart. “Across the courtesy bay, the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water.” The bay symbolises the 5 years that Gatsby and Daisy spent apart and although neither of them will acknowledge this, the water will always be there, between them. “East Egg condescending to West Egg”, The water also is a representation of the different classes they are in, Daisy lives in East Egg as she has ‘old money’ but Gatsby lives in West Egg with his ‘new money’. Even though both areas are considered part of the upper-class society, there is a divide between the old money and the new money. “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” once again the water has come between Gatsby and Daisy, the mist is blocking their view of the green light on Daisy’s dock. As the green light represents Gatsby’s hope for being with Daisy, by them not being able to see it means that for a moment the past is catching up to Gatsby smothering his hope.
Throughout the novel, different colours have been associated with certain characters, alluding to their true personalities. Daisy has been related to the colour white on numerous occasions due to her similarity to the elegant but boring and blank colour. She lives in a “white palace” which, similar to her personality is a void of emotion or anything that holds any real value to a person. All Daisy has is materialistic objects, and is often associated with the colour gold as she is extremely wealthy, “here’s my little gold pencil.” Gatsby, on the other hand, has lied and cheated his way to wealth through illegal business so he can not be associated with gold, instead he is related to yellow, a cheap knockoff version of the real thing. Everything surrounding Gatsby right the way up till his death was yellow, except for a short period of time when he truly believed that all his hope had finally paid off and Daisy was going to be his again did he possess gold objects, “Pale gold odour of kiss-me-at-the-gate.” When Daisy couldn’t admit that she never loved Tom and would be leaving him, Gatsby’s final chance at living a gold life disappeared, symbolising the fact that he never successfully transitioned to the highest social platform possible, so he returned to his fake, yellow level to die “in a moment disappeared among the yellowing trees.”
Jay Gatsby is the main character in this novel. He is a young businessman living in West Egg, Long Island. Gatsby resides in an enormous mansion in which extravagant parties are hosted every night, attracting every sort of person possible. Very few people have ever actually met Gatsby, some even question his existence, this leads to the spreading numerous rumours.“Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.” … “I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille sceptically; “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.” In the beginning of the novel, we perceive Gatsby to be this well put together, sophisticated gentlemen, however, as the novel progresses the real Gatsby starts to come through. One by one his walls drops allowing the reader to see that in reality, Gatsby is just a young, juvenile boy chasing after the dream of being with Daisy. “He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of the dock.” Even up till Gatsby final moments he kept reaching out for hope, for the green light, that Daisy would come running back to him and they could live happily ever after.
In the beginning of the novel, Daisy Buchanan is painted as a perfect upper-class lady, who lives in East Egg with her husband, Tom and young daughter, Pammy. Daisy was born into the upper-class life, a life that Gatsby has always strived to be included in. Their infatuation with each other started 5 years ago at a party, whilst Gatsby was in the army. During Gatsby’s time away, Daisy met and married Tom Buchanan. Together they portrayed the image of a happy family but inside the grand walls of their mansion boredom and misery wafted down the empty, lifeless halls. “Their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire”, Daisy and Tom are lying to one another and to themselves, pretending to care and that they truly love each other. When really Tom disappears into the city to be with his mistress, Myrtle, whom Daisy refuses to acknowledge the existence of. Further into the novel, Daisy is reunited with Gatsby through the help of Nick. This causes a rush of emotions, overwhelming her, “Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.’They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.’ ” Daisy does not know how she is supposed to react to her reemerging feelings, so instead of facing her emotions, she hides beneath the materialistic objects. That is all Daisy can do, she would rather live a boring, emotionless life than risk her place in the social circles, so when she is asked to choose between Tom and Gatsby, she chooses Tom because of his power to give her any materialistic object she desires. Once again hiding what she truly wants, “Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage, she had had, were definitely gone.” In the end, Daisy is just a pathetic shell of a person who refuses to fight for what she really want.
Nick Carraway is the narrator of the novel, “The Great Gatsby”. He is an aspiring businessman who recently moved into a small cottage located in West Egg, New York. Nick lives next door to Gatsby and is Daisy’s cousin which initially is the reason why they begin to communicate again. Although Nick is part of the storyline he often describes scenes like he isn’t there at all, with details that aren’t revealed until later on. In the line, “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” We understand that Nick believes himself to be a non-judgemental person who only holds opinions on people that he has interacted. From this, we also release that Nick thinks that the people surrounding him lie and deceive each other, as the lifestyles that they live do not allow for flaws. As the story progresses Nick becomes a confidant of Gatsby’s, and he begins to undoubtedly believe everything Gatsby says. Tom says, “He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s.” This line is relating to the fact that Daisy was blind to the truth of Gatsby identity, that he was all an illusion, nothing about him was real. Gatsby did the same thing to Nick, using his charm to hide the reality of his true nature, and even when Gatsby died Nick still held the image that he portrayed above everyone else. In the end, the whole ordeal with Gatsby, Daisy, Tom and Jordan is what caused Nick to leave New York and return to home because the truth is he didn’t belong there, he wasn’t one of them.
Jay Gatsby lives a completely false life, his whole persona is an illusion. Gatsby recreated himself into the person he always wanted to be, but never could because of his place in the social classes. “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.” Jay Gatsby kept his story short and vague with enough slivers of truth so that he would never be caught out. Gatsby did go to Oxford, but only for a few short months and certainly did not attend school whilst there, also neither of his parents are dead as revealed at the end of the novel when his father arrives for the funeral. In the end, everything Gatsby did up till his final moments was for nothing, the wealth, the fame, the social class died along with him, leaving him to die as James Gatz should have alone and worthless. “he lay in his house and didn’t move or breathe or speak”, James Gatz never was truly alive it was all his illusion, Jay Gatsby. This tragic ending shows the reader that by lying to yourself and those around you, you will end up alone and unloved, like James. Daisy wasn’t in love with him, the real him, she was in love with his illusion.
Nick Carraway claims to be a very moral and trustworthy character who holds no judgements of others. “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” This line could not possibly be any more false, however, this is Nick’s illusion talking. The part of him that truly believes what he is doing isn’t wrong and that he has not changed. In reality, Nick’s morals left him the moment he didn’t tell Daisy about Tom’s affair. It is true though that Nick is a trustworthy character, as he kept all the secrets that he was told even if he probably shouldn’t have. As the reader, we think that although Nick tries to be the same moral person he was before moving to New York, the city and its people corrupted him, transforming him to be the same as the rest of the characters, harsh and judgmental.
Daisy Buchanan life is an illusion, the outside appears perfect, flawless but under close inspection, cracks begin forming. We can relate Daisy to the pure, innocent white flowers she is named after. However, as the story continues we come to realise what “a grotesque thing a rose is.” Daisy’s illusion crumbles, transforming her into an ugly rose, that’s thorns will prick anyone who gets too close, like Gatsby. All Daisy is really is a boring, shallow person who does not care for much, just materialistic objects, there is no substance to her life. Unlike originally thought Daisy is not as innocent as she seems. Her husband, Tom, is having an affair, but she knows she will never leave him for the man she is supposedly in love with because she refuses to risk her reputation. Daisy is just white; blank and boring. As the reader from this, we learn that the outwards appearance of people’s lives is not an accurate representation of the what is really going on.
Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan’s poisonous relationship was destined to fail from the start, and as the lies delved deeper it became apparent that they would not make it out unscathed. In the beginning, before Gatsby even met Daisy, he had already developed his new persona “Jay Gatsby”, he was no longer James Gatz and meeting Daisy just solidified his desire to become part of her upper-class world. The Jay Gatsby that Daisy fell in love with was all an illusion, therefore their whole relationship was all one big, elaborate illusion that Daisy was unable to escape even after she married another man and had a child. After spending a single summer together Gatsby began to obsess over Daisy and the life she lived, doing everything in his power to be close to her, “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay.” However, Daisy did not necessarily want this but she kept the facade that she was in love with Gatsby because she in a sense wanted her own revenge on Tom for him having an affair with Myrtle.
Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson’s relationship with each other was founded solely on Tom’s want for excitement and Myrtle’s desperate need to climb the social classes. Both Tom and Myrtle put on an act that they could have a happy relationship and that everything would work out perfectly for them. Tom knew what he was doing, by creating an illusion that he would leave his wife for this lower class women he could play games, toy with her emotions. All Tom wanted was to make his life interesting again, by adding a mistress it created a sense of risk and danger for him. However, Myrtle too formed a new image for herself, she over exaggerated her feelings to entice Tom in. Everything she did was to get herself out of the Valley of Ashes and into a respected lifestyle. Their whole relationship was an attempt at escape for both of them. Unfortunately, Myrtle was too desperate to flee her current lifestyle and in her final steps towards a future that was slowly slipping away through her fingers, she was killed, ironically, by Daisy.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s monotonous relationship once seemed like the best decision they could possibly make but as time moved on, so did their feelings for each other. After Gatsby left for war, Daisy met Tom and together they fell in love, married and moved to East Egg. For a while they were happy, but soon the illusion of there happily ever after fell away in pieces. Daisy tried to keep their image intact and in the process lost all of her emotions. She shielded herself from all the pain that the truth of Tom’s ‘secret’ affair brought her. “Distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belong.” Everything is a secret, Tom and Myrtle, Daisy and Gatsby, but neither relationships could every work as both Gatsby and Myrtle could never be part of their “society.” Although Daisy isn’t innocent in the demise of Tom and her’s relationship, Tom is a hypocrite, he refuses to let Daisy go. When Tom, Daisy and Gatsby are in the hotel arguing, Daisy can’t tell Gatsby that she never loved Tom because she would be lying. This leads the reader to question if Tom ever really loved Daisy because he could so easily cheat on her, but as soon as Daisy considers leaving him, he forces her to remember that she once loved him. Which also teaches the reader that Tom is just as scared of being with someone not in the same social circles as Daisy is. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . .” In the end, Tom and Daisy moved on with their lives like nothing had happened, their illusion was repaired and the two people who had managed to break through its wall were both dead, so together they just moved on.
Fitzgerald portrays the image that Nick is a well-educated man that does not hold judgements of other people, and has an open mind to the world around him. These qualities can make Nick vulnerable in some situations, but wiser in others. His patience and ability to ignore any preconceived ideas about a person allow him to gain a deeper understanding of people.
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” – James Truslow, Historian
- If you put in enough effort, you will be rewarded with wealth.
- The home of the free + the land of the brave
- Gatsby worked hard but illegally. He shows the corruption of The American Dream.
- Dream – illusion due to corruption
- Valley Of Ashes (VOA) and Wilson. These people work hard every day. They remain poor and their lives are a struggle. These people and this setting represent the illusion of the dream. They believe in it, they strive for it but it never comes.
- Poor get poorer and rich get richer
- Tom + Daisy. Have not worked at all. Born into “the dream”. They don’t live “the dream” lifestyle because their lives are centred around “things” and “events”.
The American Dream was that everyone would be equal, there would be no upper or lower class. It wouldn’t matter where you were born or to whom, everyone could achieve the same thing through hard work.
Murky brown water filling the potholes littering the top yard, remnants from the morning’s showers, splashes up Ben and I’s wellies as we run towards the top barn. Dogs cry out from their kennels as we get closer, begging to be set free and nip at the heels of the last season’s fat lambs. Down in the yard below the cows can be heard bellowing out as they amble their way into the shippen, Grandad following close behind hurrying the stragglers in. Ben and I race through the open barn doors and across the wooden planks to the doorway on the other side, weaving in between the hay bales that have been left abandoned in a system of tunnels from last night’s game of hide and seek with Uncle Adam. We bound down the moss-covered stone steps, skidding to a halt at the familiar black and white animals blocking our path, placid, doe eyes stare peacefully on as they queue patiently at the entrance to the little shippen waiting to return to their stalls. Confidently, I push my way past my brother down onto the concrete and weave my way through the muscular mass of girls into the big shippen. Ben, not wanting to be left alone, follows close behind. Together we stand watching in awe as Grandad slaps the rumps of the cows, slipping skillfully in between to fix collars around their heads. After tieing all of the cows up and throwing them some feed, Grandad then gets started on cleaning the udders and attaching the milking cups. He moves around the cows effortlessly with no hesitation, these girls are his life and he is theirs.
After milking, the warmth of the house and hot tea beckons Grandad in. Ben and I don’t have time to waste. Our wellies squelch in the mud threatening to rip them off. Light blue silage bales perch precariously, piled high, taller than the faded red tractor abandoned in the centre of the yard. Tumbling and rolling, hissing and spitting like the wild farm cats we play! Ben and I could spend hours here, racing along the tops of the bales, pushing each other off and into the cracks or down to the thistles below. Unfortunately, we can’t as there are other, more exciting, things to be done. A beep of the horn tears us from our games and we head out in the back of Grandad’s land rover amongst the buckets of grain and bales of hay.
Fat droplets pound down onto the slick, muddy layer coating the top yard, deep tracks cut through the surface, evidence of Grandad’s busy schedule. Trudging towards the shelter of the hay barn, frigid fingers of water chill my back as they evade the grasps of my coat’s collar. The dogs lay, sulking, in the small opening between the barn doors, anxious to run amongst the tangle of cow’s legs. Safe in the warmth of the barn, the sweet smell of dry hay and damp wood lingers in the air, tickling my nose. The faint murmuring of cows moving below, previously muffled by the thundering of the rain, becomes evident as I grow closer. Strands of hay latch on to the fleece of my pants as my legs brush past the neat stacks of hay filling the barn to its aching rafters. I stride through the doorway but falter in my steps as a powerful set of hind legs stick out of the entrance to the little shippen, blocking the bottom of the stairs. My heart thumps in my chest as my blood heats up and I clench my hands willing the shaking to stop. Closing my eyes all I can picture is their inky hollows staring into me, a void of emotion, I let out a ragged breath and when I open them again, the cow has fully moved inside out of my path. In her place now stands Grandad and together we walk around to the big shippen, our wellies slipping on the fresh mud brought in by the cows. A wave of familiarity crashes over me as we enter the room, everything is the same. The milk chugs along inside the pipes lining the ceiling like nothing has changed, and I suppose for it nothing has, it’s me that’s different.
Grandad nods his head as he stumbles past Dad in the doorway, his small frame hunched and weary. Together Dad and I make our way to the Land Rover and as the engine croaks and the mud churns under the tyres, my eyes unintentionally wander to the light blue silage bales down in the yard below. Memories flood my head, the dam holding them back finally bursting, crumbling the walls so carefully had built around me. Images of our favourite times and our worst times: climbing trees, chasing cows – being chased by cows, punching each other, arguing, the funeral. A tear escapes my eye as I see him lying there, my beautiful brother Ben cold to the world around him. Hastily I push it away, there are things to be done. Grandad can’t do it all alone forever and right now he needs us.