Summary be a classmate of his at university,

Summary

The Great Gatsby presents the story
of a young adult male from Minnesota, named Nick Carraway who decides to move
in New York during a summer in 1922 in order to familiarize himself with the
bond business. After renting a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a
high-class though unpopular area inhabited by newly wealthy people who are
inclined to and obsessed with showing off their possessions and wealth he
encounters some of his neighbours including Jay Gatsby, a confounding man inhabiting
an enormous Gothic villa and throwing extreme, luxurious parties each Saturday night
at his mansion (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

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Of course Nick bears no resemblance
to the rest of the residents in West Egg. He did receive high education at the
University of Yale and is socially connected with people in East Egg, a popular
area of Long Island where the truly wealthy individuals live. After arranging
to go for dinner with Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin and Tom, her husband who
also happened to be a classmate of his at university, he is introduced by them
to an attractive, young lady, named Jordan Baker who starts a romantic affair
with him (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

What is more, Nick discovers certain
private matters about Tom’s and Daisy’s matrimony: more specifically, he is
informed by Jordan about Tom’s illicit extramarital relationship with his
mistress, Myrtle Wilson, a poor woman living in the valley of ashes, a dull
industrialized ‘industry garbage dump’ located somewhere between New York and
West Egg. Soon after this disclosure, a trip to New York City with Nick and
Myrtle is arranged by Tom where they attend a tacky, cheap party lacking in
taste at a flat which Tom uses for his secret relationship. However, the party
turns into a disaster at the moment when Tom and Myrtle start fighting about
Daisy and as a result he breaks her nose (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

 Later that summer, Nick is finally invited to
a customary party that Gatsby throws each week. Nick meets Jordan at Gatsby’s
luxurious party mansion and unexpectedly -as he is never seen at any of his
parties- they encounter him, a handsome, young-aged man with a graceful smile. Gatsby
requests to have a private discussion with Jordan; after that Nick discovers
certain things about Gatsby by her. Gatsby reveals to Jordan that Daisy and he
used to be a couple back in 1917, five years ago as well as that he has not
ceased having feelings for her until now. For this reason he decided to buy his
villa near to hers with the hope of meeting her again and at nights he always
stares at a green light coming from her pier (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

Both his exaggerated lifestyle and
his excessive and luxury parties are only made in order to attract and draw
Daisy’s attention. Gatsby’s intention now is to approach Daisy and become
reconciled with her although he fears her rejection. After being asked for help
by Gatsby, Nick arranges a tea meeting at his place with his cousin and agrees
Gatsby to be there as well. Despite the fact that when Daisy first sees him
feels strange, they later recollect their past and reminisce about all the
beautiful memories they had. As Gatsby and Daisy make up they start a romantic
relationship again (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

 Unsurprisingly, Daisy’s husband soon suspects
that she is cheating on him with Gatsby and when he confirms his suspicions at
a dinner at their house, with Gatsby staring intensely at Daisy, he becomes
furious. Tom decides that they should go to New York City with the excuse that
it is a beautiful day and commands the visitors to meet him there. Tom comes up
against Gatsby at the ‘Plaza Hotel’ informing him that his past with his wife
cannot be erased from her mind regardless of their instant love whereas he also
exposes his not legal ways of earning money with alcohol black-market to Daisy.
Daisy understands what a huge mistake she was about to make and that she is
devoted to Tom. Desiring to make evident that he cannot be harmed by Gatsby he
asks her to return to East Egg with him (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

While Tom, Jordan and Nick are
returning home, they pass the valley of ashes and learn that Tom’s mistress,
Myrtle is dead they stop the car to find out more and are surprised to find out
that it was Gatsby’s car that took her life. Driving fast they arrive at East
Egg and Nick is told by Gatsby that it was Daisy that killed her for she was
the driver; though no one can know the truth since he wants to protect her. The
day after, Myrtle’s husband is told by Tom that Gatsby killed his wife and due
to being unable to think rationally he jumps to conclusions and believes that
the killer was her partner. As a consequence of that irrational thought, he
goes to Gatsby’s mansion and murders him and immediately commits suicide as
well (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

 

Setting

The Great Gatsby is set in three different
places: on Long Island, in the valley of ashes and in New York City in 1922
after World War I. Long Island is separated in two districts: the East and the
West. The first concerns the old wealthy Aristocracy, the elite society, with
real chivalry and good manners whilst the second one concerns the newly rich
people with vulgar behaviour and lack in tastes. As far as the valley of ashes
is concerned, it is inhabited by the lower working class. The setting tends to
be of vital importance in the novel for the following reason: Due to this main
difference between the three classes a significant problem in communication is
also observed since the elite society is not accustomed to swearing or beating
other people to solve their differences, though when it comes to Tom and a
fight he had with his mistress he does beat her since there is a mixing in two
completely different classes: violence occurs between divergent social classes.
Nevertheless, the so called “Aristocratic society” consists of ostensibly polite
individuals who pay back each other with implications and corrupt moves (Shmoop
Editorial Team, 2008).

Symbols

The
green light

The green light which is placed at
Daisy’s pier and can scarcely be seen by Gatsby from his mansion is a symbol of
the dreams and hope Gatsby has for his future with Daisy. For Gatsby this is a
leading tool which will guide him to his aim and for this reason at the
beginning of the book he approaches it in the dark one night thinking about his
plans. Furthermore, due to the fact that his mission to be with Daisy is highly
linked to the American Dream, it is also a symbol of this model (Editors
SparkNotes, 2002).

The
valley of ashes

The valley of ashes is a poor
industrialized place which can be characterized as a garbage dump of industries
located somewhere between New York City and Long Island. It symbolizes the
downfall and corruption of moralities which stems from the hunt of wealth since
the whole wealthy society takes pleasure in satisfying and treating their
individualism and indulging in wealth and leisure. What is more, the valley of
ashes is also a symbol for the difficulties of the low income society who are
doomed to inhabit a place like this (Editors SparkNotes, 2002).

The
eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg

The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg
are a couple of dull wearing glasses eyes drawn on an advertisement board at
the area of the valley of ashes. It might symbolize God who watches down and
criticizes the American culture and social life as an immoral civilization.
Nonetheless, they may also symbolize the insignificance of the world since
people are the ones that give objects a meaning because this idea of vagueness
of symbols is explored by Nick in the end of the book (Editors
SparkNotes, 2002).

Conclusion

In the end of the book, Nick, the
only person who cares about Gatsby’s death organizes a funeral for Gatsby and
decides to separate from Jordan and return to the Midwest since his feelings
for everyone from Gatsby’s circle include loathing and hatred; he is disgusted
by the lack of feelings and morality that characterize them. Nick contemplates
that Gatsby’s desire for Daisy that was demolished and crumbled due to wealth
and deception is similar and can be compared to the American dream of happiness
that fell apart due to the chase for wealth. Despite the fact that Gatsby’s
strength to make his wish come true is exceptional and noteworthy -after all it
is that that makes him so “Great”- Nick speculates that the epoch of dreaming
is gone.

                                      

 

Introduction

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is
a classic novel, which belongs to the Jazz age. It is a short, captivating
story that depicts the thrilling lives and glamour of East-siders in New York
during the 1920s , while ,simultaneously , criticizing  that exact aspect of their lives. Although ,at
first glance, it might appear as a story belonging to the rich, in actuality it
is about West-siders ,the struggling, typical civilians, who desire to achieve
a better life and are fighting to accomplish their dreams. 

Author

Francis Scott Key
Fitzgerald ,F. Scott Fitzgerald , was an American author of small stories and
novels. His most famous and successful work is “The Great Gatsby”
,which manages to appeal to readers from every generation. He was born in 1896
in Minnesota , studied at Princeton University and in 1920 was married to Zelda
Sayre. Their marriage was unstable ,resulting in him developing a drinking
habit and Zelda having constant breakdowns, both of which greatly affected his
writing. In 1940 he died of a heart attack.

 

 

 

CHARACTERS

Nick Carraway is one the main characters and the narrator of
the story. Through his narration, it is evident that he is an open-minded, kind
and unprejudiced person, with honesty being his most treasured virtue. That
kind of mindset derives from a belief that was passed on to him by his father,
that he should not judge anyone ,because they might not have had the same
upbringing as him. His actions in the book reflect a simple man who just wants
to have a peaceful life on the West coast, working in the bond business, but
who can also appreciate a good time, as he is seen enjoying himself on the
grand parties he attends. Due to the latter, he is befriended by a number of
people who expect him to be firmly present in their lives. The remarkable
characteristic about him is that ,even though he is the storyteller and a major
character, he is perceived ,both by the characters and the reader, as a side
one, because of the fact that he is not a part of the main plot and his subtle
manners make him almost forgettable even to himself as he ,at one point,
forgets his birthday.

Jay Gatsby, the man whom the book is named after, is
another main character and his identity is a big mystery, until towards the
end. Born into poverty, he abandons his family at a young age and, though many
hardships, manages to become quite wealthy after engaging himself in illegal
acts, such as distributing alcohol, which was ,at that time, banned. Through
Nick’s eyes he first appears to be a legend of a man, who organizes all these
unbelievably grand parties in his castle-like house that everyone seems to
attend to ,filled with luxury and music. After these two start forming a
friendship and confiding in each other , it is revealed that the motive for the
parties was to attract the attention and affection of Daisy ,a former lover of
his and Nick’s cousin. At that point, we see a more human side of him, as a
love-stricken, ambitious and hopeful man, who wants to live a happy and
comfortable life with the person he mostly cares for. Although he has a
short-temper, the passion, devotion and kindness he shows ,not only to Daisy
but also to Nick, make him likable and worth of our sympathy and Nick’s
affection. Specifically, Nick regards Gatsby as a better human than all the
others of their group combined.

Daisy Buchanan is Nick’s cousin and seems to be a beautiful
and pleasant young woman. At first she is tormented by the fact that her husband
,Tom , is cheating on her but manages to remain cheerful in the eyes of others
and so when she reunites with Gatsby , her past lover, her feelings are reignited.
Overall, she is quite charming and theatrical , with a mesmerizing voice that
,as described by Nick, is full of money. Driven more by the prospect of money
and practicality than love, she neglects Gatsby and chooses to remain with her
husband and so it is evident that she is shallow and the type of person that
does not mind to destroy other people’s lives ,as long as she remains
untouched. Moreover, she does not seem to care very deeply for her daughter ,
as she rarely mentions her, is absent from her life and does not let the fact
that she is a mother alter her life choices.

 Among the side characters is Tom Buchanan ,
Daisy’s husband, who is fond of his wealth, racist, abusive, prejudiced towards
the less fortunate and unfaithful to his wife. Jordan Baker is a supportive friend to Daisy and
a professional golfer, who had the potential to be Nick’s love interest but
they ended up following different paths in their lives. Last but not least,
there is George and
Myrtle Wilson, who is the mistress. The first one has a weak personality
and is dependent on his wife, while Myrtle despises him and seeks a better life
for herself.

Conflict

The main conflict of
the story is Gatsby’s dream of starting a new life with Daisy, a goal that is
hard to achieve due to the fact that she is already married to another man. He
organizes all these parties to grab her attention , but a simple meeting for tea
,orchestrated by him and Nick,  is what
finally brings them together and from then on they start to frequently see each
other and even plan on breaking Daisy’s marriage to properly engage in their
relationship. The turning point of the story is set in a hotel room in which
the group , Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom and Jordan, have gathered to enjoy their
time. Gatsby wishes to reveal their relationship to Tom and the feelings Daisy
has for him are shown when she remarks on how “cool” he always looks.
From that point on, everything is  revealed
and Gatsby continuously begs for Daisy to admit she always loved him and never
cared for Tom , while Tom is confident that she is in love with him and her
affair with Gatsby is just a passing fling. He then exposes Gatsby for his
illegal workings and states that ,despite his current wealth, he will always be
different from them.

Resolution

Confident for his
wife’s choice, as he sees her rejecting Gatsby and slowly closing in on
herself, he allows them to return in Gatsby’s car, while him and the rest use
his own. Daisy ,obviously shaken up, decided to drive as she thinks this will
clear her mind and steady her, but that turns out to be a horrific mistake. In
her carelessness she runs over Myrtle, who runs toward the car whilst trying to
escape from her husband, and kills her instantly. After that, she leaves Gatsby
and reunites with Tom and ,having an intimate conversation with him, she
chooses his comfort and stability. They immediately decide to leave everything
behind them and start new somewhere else, while Gatsby faces the consequences
of that night’s actions.

Themes

One of the main
themes in the story is the “American Dream” and its deterioration as
well as the cold-heartedness of the rich. Wanting to achieve prosperity,
success and social acceptance, a number of the main characters ,such as Tom and
Daisy, strive to sustain and expand their already insurmountable wealth ,both
coming from wealthy upbringings, while other characters ,such as Gatsby,
represent the ones who had an unlucky early life but managed to built their own
fortune . The first ones are shallow ,pretentious and often shown to have their
,at first, passionate interest in something burn away quickly as they seek for
the next pleasure.

The last one ,despite
currently living  as a luxurious life as
the former, has yet to pick up certain social mannerisms of the rich and
instead manages to preserve some genuine emotions and gratefulness for his possessions.
From that fact alone, there is a great division between the old and entitled
against the newly rich, who had to work hard and even get involved in illegal
businesses.  That chasm is amplified by
the constant references Nick makes about the East  and West Egg.

As a result of the
established climate, that is fueled by easy money , cynicism and greed, we are
also exposed to the downfall of morality and ethics. Spouses being unfaithful
to each other, the stronger forcing their power on the weaker, people breaking
the law to acquire money, relationships building on the fever of the parties
and not withstanding after they stop .Finally, the small impact death has on
most , shown by the lack of emotion and the diminishing of Myrtle’s ,Gatsby’s
and George’s deaths.

An overlapping theme is
also the desire to resurrect the past. Gatsby believes that it is possible and
so he is completely set on bringing Daisy back in his life. On the contrary,
Nick thinks that it is impossible and ,in the end, comes to the conclusion that
,no matter the improbability of that accomplishment, people keep on fighting
,against the natural progression of their lives, to revisit it.