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When you are describing,

A shape, or sound, or tint;

Don't state the matter plainly,

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things,

With a sort of mental squint.

~Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll)
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 Great Gatsby

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Han
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Join date : 2010-08-01
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PostSubject: Great Gatsby   Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:24 am

Here's something I wrote for a school discussion on Great Gatsby. Tell me what you think.

I think most people have read Great Gatsby so...

PS. This is my first post, but by looking at the members list I think alot of ppl here know me already... Or know of my existance...


This book is told via the first person perspective. Moreover, the narrator is not the protagonist, in my opinion, but a secondary character. This strategy brings several benefits. Firstly, and most obviously, lets us watch the story was if we were there. Secondly, it makes this book more "hip" in a sense; Nick's occasional hyperboles and sarcasm in relating the story lessens the overall "sad" tone. Thirdly, by giving us the perspective of the outsider Nick rather than the impassioned Gatsby, we are able to look at the situation with more rational eyes (At the same time, we feel a sense of self important because Nick is the catalyst of all these events).

This rationality is, in my opinion, the characteristic that makes this book so renowned. We "are" Nick, not Gatsby. Thus, we are not "cheering" for Daisy leave Tom as much as we would if it were Gatsby telling the story, if anyone were "cheering" at all. Thus the focus is changed from love to broader themes.

This is not a love story. We can easily see that the muscular Tom does not seem compatible with the airy Daisy, but then again the timid Gatsby does not seem like the "perfect lover" either. Instead we focus a different theme and the most important factor of the book: broken dreams.

We all dreamed before, and I think the most grand of all these dreams are usually crushed. For, however grand the imagination of youth, the boys cannot grow up to be superheroes and the girls can't grow up to be snow white. Age and rationality slowly crush these misleading ambitions. That is not to say all false dreams need to be grand: We have all been disappointed by a parties that should have been "awesome", but turned out dull.

Gatsby's problem lies in that his dreams were never crushed (until the end of the book). As a poor farm boy, he wished for a privileged life similar to Tom's, so he ran away from home. He pretended to be his dream self (much like how little kids pretend to be cartoon characters) while courting Daisy. Then, after losing her, he sets out doing shady businesses to gain money to imitate the natural inherited life of the privileged as Tom. At the same time he dreams the wealth will make him irresistible to Daisy. This failed. The imitation is not perfect and Daisy did not run away from him. This dream has been building up for decades in his head unobstructed, becoming more perfect (yes, i know that's a grammar mistake) every day. Then, in a single day, it is destroyed. The mental shock must be devastating. This has been his purpose in life. What else is to live for now? Even if Wilson had not shot him, Gatsby would have committed suicide. His life, his persona, is built on this dream, without this dream he has nothing.
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Kris
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PostSubject: Re: Great Gatsby   Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:54 pm

I agree.

But I think Wilson killing him adds more significance to the realities of life and how dreams are so readily crushed, that America is not the perfect place people think it is. While Gatsby rises from "rags to riches," he cannot find happiness because he chases something that is not his and can never be his.

Daisy is not the perfect woman either, but portrays the materialistic side of society. She is sheltered and seeks protection, which she finds in big ole Tom and his roots in society. She loves Gatsby, but not enough. She just needs attention and material goods to make her satisfied. The white dress (and her name) is a contrast to her materialistic nature, for she is no innocent young woman.

In short, it shows the superficial nature of society.

I would love to comment more, but I have to work on my Grapes of Wrath essay. Welcome to The Writer's Circle!


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Stainqueen
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PostSubject: Re: Great Gatsby   Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:42 pm

Jordan also shows how corruption is growing in the 1920's because of her clear cheating at a golf game.

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Kris
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PostSubject: Re: Great Gatsby   Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:40 pm

That's true, Ruth =)

The culture is also superficial like how Daisy stays with Tom because he has money and deep roots to support her materialistic wants... Gatsby bootlegging to make money and impress her.... all those rich parties...

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Stainqueen
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PostSubject: Re: Great Gatsby   Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:05 pm

And he also attempts to show how ditsy he apparently thinks rich women are through Daisy.

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Kris
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PostSubject: Re: Great Gatsby   Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:51 pm

Unfortunately, I believe that's what he saw of women. Superficial and materialistic.

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