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  4. The Great Gatsby SparkNotes Literature Guide

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age novel about the impossibility of recapturing the past, was initially a failure. Today, the story of Gatsby’s doomed love for the unattainable Daisy is considered a defining novel of the 20th century. Explore a character. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes , the SparkNotes The Great Gatsby Study Guide has everything you need to. The narrator of The Great Gatsby is a young man from Minnesota named Nick Carraway. He not only narrates the story but casts himself as the book's author.

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Great Gatsby Sparknotes Pdf

Nick's next-door neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a gigantic Gothic mansion and throws extravagant parties every. Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. He is also Choose a theme for The Great Gatsby and defend why you podmimokongist.ml gatsby. 30 items A Division of Barnes & Noble. 76 Ninth Avenue. New York, NY USA www. podmimokongist.ml This PDF has been brought to.

This SparkNote Literature Guide includes an introduction to the context of the work, a plot overview, character list, analysis of major characters, an analysis of its themes, motifs, and symbols, and a summary and analysis that takes the reader through the book. It also explains well-known quotations, provides a list of key facts, and includes a set of study questions. There's also a section that provides tips on how to write an essay featuring literary analysis, along with a quiz and suggestions for further reading. What would you like to know about this product? Please enter your name, your email and your question regarding the product in the fields below, and we'll answer you in the next hours. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Palahniuk insists there is no such real organization. He has heard of real fight clubs, some said to have existed before the novel. Project Mayhem is lightly based on The Cacophony Society , of which Palahniuk is a member, and other events derived from stories told to him. Other fans have been inspired to undertake prosocial activity, and told Palahniuk that the novel had encouraged them to return to college.

Some readers call him "Joe", because of his constant use of the name in such statements as, "I am Joe's boiling point". The quotes, "I am Joe's [blank]", refer to the Narrator's reading old Reader's Digest articles in which human organs write about themselves in the first person, with titles such as "I Am Joe's Liver".

The film adaptation replaces "Joe" with "Jack", inspiring some fans to call the Narrator "Jack". In the novel and film, the Narrator uses various aliases in the support groups. His subconscious is in need of a sense of freedom, he inevitably feels trapped within his own body, and when introduced to Tyler Durden, he begins to see all of the qualities he lacks in himself: "I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage, his smarts, and his nerve.

Tyler is funny and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world.

Tyler is capable and free, and I am not. He also steals left-over drained human fat from liposuction clinics to supplement his income through soap making and to create the ingredients for bomb manufacturing, which will be put to work later with his fight club.

He is the co-founder of Fight Club, as it was his idea to instigate the fight that led to it. He later launches Project Mayhem, from which he and the members commit various attacks on consumerism.

Tyler is blond, according to the Narrator's comment "in his everything-blond way". The unhinged but magnetic Tyler becomes the " villain " of the novel later in the story. The Narrator refers to Tyler as a free spirit who says, "Let that which does not matter truly slide.

The Narrator no longer receives the same release from the groups when he realizes Marla is faking her problems just as he is. After he leaves the groups, he meets her again when she becomes Tyler's lover. Marla is shown to be extremely unkempt, uncaring, and sometimes even suicidal. At times, she shows a softer, more caring side. A former bodybuilder , Bob lost his testicles to cancer caused by the steroids he used to bulk up his muscles.

He had to undergo testosterone injections, resulting in increased estrogen.

The Great Gatsby (SparkNotes)

The increased estrogen levels caused him to grow large breasts and to develop a softer voice. Because of his "bitch tits", Bob is the only known member who is allowed to wear a shirt. The Narrator befriends Bob and, after leaving the groups, meets him again in fight club. Bob's death later in the story, while carrying out an assignment for Project Mayhem, causes the Narrator to turn against Tyler because the members of Project Mayhem treat it as a trivial matter instead of a tragedy.

He is very loyal to Project Mayhem, laughing at the vandalism he and a group of "space monkeys" have caused as their crimes appear on the evening news. Angel Face is considered very beautiful, hence his name. The blond-haired beauty suffers a savage beating at the Narrator's hands during a Fight Club session; the Narrator states that he "wanted to destroy something beautiful.

Whereas in the book it is that excessive beating which triggers the foundation of Project Mayhem Fight Club no longer being a sufficient outlet , in the movie the beating seems to be caused primarily by the Narrator's jealousy. Tom realizes that it must have been Gatsby's car that struck Myrtle, and he curses Gatsby as a coward for driving off.

But Nick learns from Gatsby later that night that Daisy was actually behind the wheel. George Wilson, distraught, is convinced that the driver of the car yellow car that hit Myrtle is also her lover.

While at work that day, Nick fights on the phone with Jordan. In the afternoon, Nick has a kind of premonition and finds Gatsby shot to death in his pool. Wilson's dead body is a few yards away. Nick organizes a funeral, but none of the people who were supposedly Gatsby's friends come.

Only Gatsby's father and one other man attend. Nick and Jordan end their relationship. Nick doesn't tell Tom that Daisy was at the wheel. Disgusted with the corrupt emptiness of life on the East Coast, Nick moves back to Minnesota. But the night before he leaves he walks down to Gatsby's beach and looks out over Long Island Sound. He thinks about Gatsby, and compares him to the first settlers to America.

Although the Exercises Answers Key. People in the Story. Before Reading. Elicit the answers to the following question: This was his favorite book, so he might be attracted by the enterprising spirit, maybe he. Objective Section: Answer all of the following questions in sentence format. The Odyssey. A Progeny Press Answers will vary, but may include discussions of loneliness, showing off wealth, boredom, etc. The true He is suspicious of Gatsby and questions the actuality of his wealth.

He hates flimsy books. There are not necessarily right or wrong answers, so long. Always keep Research the topics The Great Gatsby Research Project.

Research the topics to create 5 evaluative questions and answers to be used in class discussion. Keep track of Chapters Part 2 — After-Quiz Activities. Quiz Activities. The Great Gatsby: Follow the directions given on the site. You may either type your answers to the The Great Gatsby by F. The novel's action occurs in between June and September. How does Nick's non- chronological narration This PDF has been brought to you by.

The Great Gatsby F. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Paul, Minnesota. Though an intelligent child, he did poorly in school and was sent to a New Jersey boarding school in Despite being a mediocre student there, he managed to enroll at Princeton in Academic troubles and apathy plagued him throughout his time at college, and he never graduated, instead enlisting in the army in , as World War I neared its end.

Fitzgerald became a second lieutenant, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama. There he met and fell in love with a wild seventeen-year-old beauty named Zelda Sayre. Zelda finally agreed to marry him, but her overpowering desire for wealth, fun, and leisure led her to delay their wedding until he could prove a success. With the publication of This Side of Paradise in , Fitzgerald became a literary sensation, earning enough money and fame to convince Zelda to marry him.

Also similar to Fitzgerald is Jay Gatsby, a sensitive young man who idolizes wealth and luxury and who falls in love with a beautiful young woman while stationed at a military camp in the South.

Having become a celebrity, Fitzgerald fell into a wild, reckless life-style of parties and decadence, while desperately trying to please Zelda by writing to earn money.

As the giddiness of the Roaring Twenties dissolved into the bleakness of the Great Depression, however, Zelda suffered a nervous breakdown and Fitzgerald battled alcoholism, which hampered his writing. In , he left for Hollywood to write screenplays, and in , while working on his novel The Love of the Last Tycoon, died of a heart attack at the age of forty-four.

Prohibition, the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution , made millionaires out of bootleggers, and an underground culture of revelry sprang up.

The chaos and violence of World War I left America in a state of shock, and the generation that fought the war turned to wild and extravagant living to compensate. The staid conservatism and timeworn values of the previous decade were turned on their ear, as money, opulence, and exuberance became the order of the day.

Like Nick in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald found this new lifestyle seductive and exciting, and, like Gatsby, he had always idolized the very rich. Now he found himself in an era in which unrestrained materialism set the tone of society, particularly in the large cities of the East. Even so, like Nick, Fitzgerald saw through the glitter of the Jazz Age to the moral emptiness and hypocrisy beneath, and part of him longed for this absent moral center.

Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised. Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota, moves to New York in the summer of to learn about the bond business.

He rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, a wealthy but unfashionable area populated by the new rich, a group who have made their fortunes too recently to have established social connections and who are prone to garish displays of wealth. Nick is unlike the other inhabitants of West Egg—he was educated at Yale and has social connections in East Egg, a fashionable area of Long Island home to the established upper class. Daisy and Tom introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, a beautiful, cynical young woman with whom Nick begins a romantic relationship.

Jordan tells him that Tom has a lover, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the valley of ashes, a gray industrial dumping ground between West Egg and New York City. At a vulgar, gaudy party in the apartment that Tom keeps for the affair, Myrtle begins to taunt Tom about Daisy, and Tom responds by breaking her nose. Gatsby tells Jordan that he knew Daisy in Louisville in and is deeply in love with her.

He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock, across the bay from his mansion. Gatsby now wants Nick to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy, but he is afraid that Daisy will refuse to see him if she knows that he still loves her.

Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house, without telling her that Gatsby will also be there. After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy reestablish their connection. Their love rekindled, they begin an affair. Though Tom is himself involved in an extramarital affair, he is deeply outraged by the thought that his wife could be unfaithful to him. Tom asserts that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand, and he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal—his fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities.

Daisy realizes that her allegiance is to Tom, and Tom contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt him. They rush back to Long Island, where Nick learns from Gatsby that Daisy was driving the car when it struck Myrtle, but that Gatsby intends to take the blame. George, who has leapt to the conclusion that the driver of the car that killed Myrtle must have been her lover, finds Gatsby in the pool at his mansion and shoots him dead. He then fatally shoots himself.

Copyright , by SparkNotes 3 All rights reserved. Honest, tolerant, and inclined to reserve judgment, Nick often serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets. After moving to West Egg, a fictional area of Long Island that is home to the newly rich, Nick quickly befriends his next-door neighbor, the mysterious Jay Gatsby.

Jay Gatsby The title character and protagonist of the novel, Gatsby is a fabulously wealthy young man living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg. He is famous for the lavish parties he throws every Saturday night, but no one knows where he comes from, what he does, or how he made his fortune. As the novel progresses, Nick learns that Gatsby was born James Gatz on a farm in North Dakota; working for a millionaire made him dedicate his life to the achievement of wealth.

When he met Daisy while training to be an officer in Louisville, he fell in love with her. Nick also learns that Gatsby made his fortune through criminal activity, as he was willing to do anything to gain the social position he thought necessary to win Daisy.

As a young woman in Louisville before the war, Daisy was courted by a number of officers, including Gatsby. She fell in love with Gatsby and promised to wait for him. However, Daisy harbors a deep need to be loved, and when a wealthy, powerful young man named Tom Buchanan asked her to marry him, Daisy decided not to wait for Gatsby after all.

Powerfully built and hailing from a socially solid old family, Tom is an arrogant, hypocritical bully. His social attitudes are laced with racism and sexism, and he never even considers trying to live up to the moral standard he demands from those around him.

He has no moral qualms about his own extramarital affair with Myrtle, but when he begins to suspect Daisy and Gatsby of having an affair, he becomes outraged and forces a confrontation.

Jordan is beautiful, but also dishonest: Myrtle herself possesses a fierce vitality and desperately looks for a way to improve her situation. Unfortunately for her, she chooses Tom, who treats her as a mere object of his desire. George loves and idealizes Myrtle, and is devastated by her affair with Tom. George is consumed with grief when Myrtle is killed. George is comparable to Gatsby in that both are dreamers and both are ruined by their unrequited love for women who love Tom.

Jay Gatsby The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy.

However, he achieved this lofty goal by participating in organized crime, including distributing illegal alcohol and trading in stolen securities. From his early youth, Gatsby despised poverty and longed for wealth and sophistication—he dropped out of St.

Though Gatsby has always wanted to be rich, his main motivation in acquiring his fortune was his love for Daisy Buchanan, whom he met as a young military officer in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I in Daisy promised to wait for him when he left for the war, but married Tom Buchanan in , while Gatsby was studying at Oxford after the war in an attempt to gain an education. From that moment on, Gatsby dedicated himself to winning Daisy back, and his acquisition of millions of dollars, his download of a gaudy mansion on West Egg, and his lavish weekly parties are all merely means to that end.

Fitzgerald delays the introduction of most of this information until fairly late in the novel. Fitzgerald initially presents Gatsby as the aloof, enigmatic host of the unbelievably opulent parties thrown every week at his mansion.

He appears surrounded by spectacular luxury, courted by powerful men and beautiful women. He is the subject of a whirlwind of gossip throughout New York and is already a kind of legendary celebrity before he is ever introduced to the reader. Gatsby has literally created his own character, even changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby to represent his reinvention of himself.

As his relentless quest for Daisy demonstrates, Gatsby has an extraordinary ability to transform his hopes and dreams into reality; at the beginning of the novel, he appears to the reader just as he desires to appear to the world. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. Gatsby invests Daisy with an idealistic perfection that she cannot possibly attain in reality and pursues her with a passionate zeal that blinds him to her limitations.

Gatsby is contrasted most consistently with Nick. Additionally, whereas Tom is a cold-hearted, aristocratic bully, Gatsby is a loyal and good-hearted man. Though his lifestyle and attitude differ greatly from those of George Wilson, Gatsby and Wilson share the fact that they both lose their love interest to Tom.

A young man he turns thirty during the course of the novel from Minnesota, Nick travels to New York in to learn the bond business. As a result of his relationship to these two characters, Nick is the perfect choice to narrate the novel, which functions as a personal memoir of his experiences with Gatsby in the summer of Nick is also well suited to narrating The Great Gatsby because of his temperament.

As he tells the reader in Chapter I, he is tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener, and, as a result, others tend to talk to him and tell him their secrets. Gatsby, in particular, comes to trust him and treat him as a confidant. Nick generally assumes a secondary role throughout the novel, preferring to describe and comment on events rather than dominate the action. Insofar as Nick plays a role inside the narrative, he evidences a strongly mixed reaction to life on the East Coast, one that creates a powerful internal conflict that he does not resolve until the end of the book.

On the one hand, Nick is attracted to the fast-paced, fun-driven lifestyle of New York. On the other hand, he finds that lifestyle grotesque and damaging. He is attracted to her vivacity and her sophistication just as he is repelled by her dishonesty and her lack of consideration for other people.

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Having gained the maturity that this insight demonstrates, he returns to Minnesota in search of a quieter life structured by more traditional moral values.

As a young debutante in Louisville, Daisy was extremely popular among the military officers stationed near her home, including Jay Gatsby. Gatsby lied about his background to Daisy, claiming to be from a wealthy family in order to convince her that he was worthy of her. Daisy promised to wait for Gatsby, but in she chose instead to marry Tom Buchanan, a young man from a solid, aristocratic family who could promise her a wealthy lifestyle and who had the support of her parents.

After , Gatsby dedicated himself to winning Daisy back, making her the single goal of all of his dreams and the main motivation behind his acquisition of immense wealth through criminal activity. To Gatsby, Daisy represents the paragon of perfection—she has the aura of charm, wealth, sophistication, grace, and aristocracy that he longed for as a child in North Dakota and that first attracted him to her.

She is beautiful and charming, but also fickle, shallow, bored, and sardonic. Nick characterizes her as a careless person who smashes things up and then retreats behind her money. Daisy proves her real nature when she chooses Tom over Gatsby in Chapter VII, then allows Gatsby to take the blame for killing Myrtle Wilson even though she herself was driving the car. Like Zelda Fitzgerald, Daisy is in love with money, ease, and material luxury.

She is capable of affection she seems genuinely fond of Nick and occasionally seems to love Gatsby sincerely , but not of sustained loyalty or care. She is indifferent even to her own infant daughter, never discussing her and treating her as an afterthought when she is introduced in Chapter VII. Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Decline of the American Dream in the s On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of the thwarted love between a man and a woman.

The main theme of the novel, however, encompasses a much larger, less romantic scope. Though all of its action takes place over a mere few months during the summer of and is set in a circumscribed geographical area in the vicinity of Long Island, New York, The Great Gatsby is a highly symbolic meditation on s America as a whole, in particular the disintegration of the American dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess.

Fitzgerald portrays the s as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its overarching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure.

The reckless jubilance that led to decadent parties and wild jazz music—epitomized in The Great Gatsby by the opulent parties that Gatsby throws every Saturday night—resulted ultimately in the corruption of the American dream, as the unrestrained desire for money and pleasure surpassed more noble goals. When World War I ended in , the generation of young Americans who had fought the war became intensely disillusioned, as the brutal carnage that they had just faced made the Victorian social morality of early-twentieth-century America seem like stuffy, empty hypocrisy.

The dizzying rise of the stock market in the aftermath of the war led to a sudden, sustained increase in the national wealth and a newfound materialism, as people began to spend and consume at unprecedented levels. A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune, but the American aristocracy— families with old wealth—scorned the newly rich industrialists and speculators.

Additionally, the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in , which banned the sale of alcohol, created a thriving underworld designed to satisfy the massive demand for bootleg liquor among rich and poor alike. Fitzgerald positions the characters of The Great Gatsby as emblems of these social trends. Nick and Gatsby, both of whom fought in World War I, exhibit the newfound cosmopolitanism and cynicism that resulted from the war.

East Egg represents the established aristocracy, West Egg the self-made rich. As Fitzgerald saw it and as Nick explains in Chapter IX , the American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the s depicted in the novel, however, easy money and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream, especially on the East Coast. Additionally, places and objects in The Great Gatsby have meaning only because characters instill them with meaning: Eckleburg best exemplify this idea.

Just as Americans have given America meaning through their dreams for their own lives, Gatsby instills Daisy with a kind of idealized perfection that she neither deserves nor possesses. Like s Americans in general, fruitlessly seeking a bygone era in which their dreams had value, Gatsby longs to re-create a vanished past—his time in Louisville with Daisy— Copyright , by SparkNotes 8 Copyright , by SparkNotes but is incapable of doing so.

When his dream crumbles, all that is left for Gatsby to do is die; all Nick can do is move back to Minnesota, where American values have not decayed. In the novel, West Egg and its denizens represent the newly rich, while East Egg and its denizens, especially Daisy and Tom, represent the old aristocracy.

Fitzgerald portrays the newly rich as being vulgar, gaudy, ostentatious, and lacking in social graces and taste. Geography Throughout the novel, places and settings epitomize the various aspects of the s American society that Fitzgerald depicts.

East Egg represents the old aristocracy, West Egg the newly rich, the valley of ashes the moral and social decay of America, and New York City the uninhibited, amoral quest for money and pleasure. Additionally, the East is connected to the moral decay and social cynicism of New York, while the West including Midwestern and northern areas such as Minnesota is connected to more traditional social values and ideals.

Wilson kills Gatsby on the first day of autumn, as Gatsby floats in his pool despite a palpable chill in the air—a symbolic attempt to stop time and restore his relationship with Daisy to the way it was five years before, in Gatsby associates it with Daisy, and in Chapter I he reaches toward it in the darkness as a guiding light to lead him to his goal.

In Chapter IX, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation. It represents the moral and social decay that results from the uninhibited pursuit of wealth, as the rich indulge themselves with regard for nothing but their own pleasure.

The valley of ashes also symbolizes the plight of the poor, like George Wilson, who live among the dirty ashes and lose their vitality as a result. The Eyes of Doctor T. Eckleburg The eyes of Doctor T. Eckleburg are a pair of fading, bespectacled eyes painted on an old advertising billboard over the valley of ashes.

They may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point explicitly. Instead, throughout the novel, Fitzgerald suggests that symbols only have meaning because characters instill them with meaning. The connection between the eyes of Doctor T. This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning.

He begins by commenting on himself, stating that he learned from his father to reserve judgment about other people, because if he holds them up to his own moral standards, he will misunderstand them. He characterizes himself as both highly moral and highly tolerant. He briefly mentions the hero of his story, Gatsby, saying that Gatsby represented everything he scorns, but that he exempts Gatsby completely from his usual judgments. West Egg is characterized by lavish displays of wealth and garish poor taste.

Nick is unlike his West Egg neighbors; whereas they lack social connections and aristocratic pedigrees, Nick graduated from Yale and has many connections on East Egg. Tom, a powerful figure dressed in riding clothes, greets Nick on the porch.

Inside, Daisy lounges on a couch with her friend Jordan Baker, a competitive golfer who yawns as though bored by her surroundings. Tom tries to interest the others in a book called The Rise of the Colored Empires by a man named Goddard. The book espouses racist, white-supremacist attitudes that Tom seems to find convincing. Daisy teases Tom about the book but is interrupted when Tom leaves the room to take a phone call.

After an awkward dinner, the party breaks up. Jordan wants to go to bed because she has a golf tournament the next day. As Nick leaves, Tom and Daisy hint that they would like for him to take a romantic interest in Jordan. When Nick arrives home, he sees Gatsby for the first time, a handsome young man standing on the lawn with his arms reaching out toward the dark water.

Nick looks out at the water, but all he can see is a distant green light that might mark the end of a dock. While Nick has a strong negative reaction to his experiences in New York and eventually returns to the Midwest in search of a less morally ambiguous environment, even during his initial phase of disgust, Gatsby stands out for him as an exception.

Nick admires Gatsby highly, despite the fact that Gatsby represents everything Nick scorns about New York. In the world of East Egg, alluring appearances serve to cover unattractive realities. The marriage of Tom and Daisy Buchanan seems menaced by a quiet desperation beneath its pleasant surface.

Unlike Nick, Tom is arrogant and dishonest, advancing racist arguments at dinner and carrying on relatively public love affairs. Daisy, on the other hand, tries hard to be shallow, even going so far as to say she hopes her baby daughter will turn out to be a fool, because women live best as beautiful fools. Jordan Baker furthers the sense of sophisticated fatigue hanging over East Egg: Gatsby stands in stark contrast to the denizens of East Egg.

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Gatsby is a mysterious figure for Nick, since Nick knows neither his motives, nor the source of his wealth, nor his history, and the object of his yearning remains as remote and nebulous as the green light toward which he reaches.

The relationship between geography and social values is an important motif in The Great Gatsby. Each setting in the novel corresponds to a particular thematic idea or character type.

This first chapter introduces two of the most important locales, East Egg and West Egg. Though each is home to fabulous wealth, and though they are separated only by a small expanse of water, the two regions are nearly opposite in the values they endorse. East Egg represents breeding, taste, aristocracy, and leisure, while West Egg represents ostentation, garishness, and the flashy manners of the new rich.

The unworkable intersection of the two Eggs in the romance between Gatsby and Daisy will serve as the fault line of catastrophe. The men who live here work at shoveling up the ashes. Overhead, two huge, blue, spectacle-rimmed eyes—the last vestige of an advertising gimmick by a long-vanished eye doctor—stare down from an enormous sign.

These unblinking eyes, the eyes of Doctor T. Eckleburg, watch over everything that happens in the valley of ashes. The commuter train that runs between West Egg and New York passes through the valley, making several stops along the way. One day, as Nick and Tom are riding the train into the city, Tom forces Nick to follow him out of the train at one of these stops. Wilson is a lifeless yet handsome man, colored gray by the ashes in the air. In contrast, Myrtle has a kind of desperate vitality; she strikes Nick as sensuous despite her stocky figure.

Tom taunts Wilson and then orders Myrtle to follow him to the train. Catherine has bright red hair, wears a great deal of makeup, and tells Nick that she has heard that Jay Gatsby is the nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm, the ruler of Germany during World War I.

The McKees, who live downstairs, are a horrid couple: McKee is pale and feminine, and Mrs. McKee is shrill. The group proceeds to drink excessively. Nick claims that he got drunk for only the second time in his life at this party. The ostentatious behavior and conversation of the others at the party repulse Nick, and he tries to leave.

At the same time, he finds himself fascinated by the lurid spectacle of the group. Myrtle grows louder and more obnoxious the more she drinks, and shortly after Tom gives her a new puppy as a gift, she begins to talk about Daisy.

Tom sternly warns her never to mention his wife. Tom responds by breaking her nose, bringing the party to an abrupt halt. Nick leaves, drunkenly, with Mr. McKee, and ends up taking the 4 a. It lacks a glamorous surface and lies fallow and gray halfway between West Egg and New York. The valley of ashes symbolizes the moral decay hidden by the beautiful facades of the Eggs, and suggests that beneath the ornamentation of West Egg and the mannered charm of East Egg lies the same ugliness as in the valley.

The valley is created by industrial dumping and is therefore a by-product of capitalism. It is the home to the only poor characters in the novel. The undefined significance of Doctor T. The faded paint of the eyes can be seen as symbolizing the extent to which humanity has lost its connection to God.

The fourth and final setting of the novel, New York City, is in every way the opposite of the valley of ashes—it is loud, garish, abundant, and glittering. To Nick, New York is simultaneously fascinating and repulsive, thrillingly fast-paced and dazzling to look at but lacking a moral center.

While Tom is forced to keep his affair with Myrtle relatively discreet in the valley of the ashes, in New York he can appear with her in public, even among his acquaintances, without causing a scandal.

The sequence of events leading up to and occurring at the party define and contrast the various characters in The Great Gatsby. This contradiction suggests the ambivalence that he feels toward the Buchanans, Gatsby, and the East Coast in general. Tom emerges in this section as a boorish bully who uses his social status and physical strength to dominate those around him—he subtly taunts Wilson while having an affair with his wife, experiences no guilt for his immoral behavior, and does not hesitate to lash out violently in order to preserve his authority over Myrtle.

Wilson stands in stark contrast, a handsome and morally upright man who lacks money, privilege, and vitality. Fitzgerald also uses the party scene to continue building an aura of mystery and excitement around Gatsby, who has yet to make a full appearance in the novel.

Here, Gatsby emerges as a mysterious subject of gossip. He is extremely well known, but no one seems to have any verifiable information about him. Chapter III Summary One of the reasons that Gatsby has become so famous around New York is that he throws elaborate parties every weekend at his mansion, lavish spectacles to which people long to be invited. Nick runs into Jordan Baker, whose friend, Lucille, speculates that Gatsby was a German spy during the war.

Nick also hears that Gatsby is a graduate of Oxford and that he once killed a man in cold blood. In this atmosphere of opulence and revelry, Nick and Jordan, curious about their host, set out to find Gatsby. At midnight, Nick and Jordan go outside to watch the entertainment. They sit at a table with a handsome young man who says that Nick looks familiar to him; they realize that they served in the same division during the war.

The man introduces himself as none other than Jay Gatsby. He notices that Gatsby does not drink and that he keeps himself separate from the party, standing alone on the marble steps, watching his guests in silence. Jordan emerges from her meeting with Gatsby saying that she has just heard something extraordinary.

Nick says goodbye to Gatsby, who goes inside to take a phone call from Philadelphia. Nick starts to walk home. On his way, he sees Owl Eyes struggling to get his car out of a ditch. Owl Eyes and another man climb out of the wrecked automobile, and Owl Eyes drunkenly declares that he washes his hands of the whole business. Nick then proceeds to describe his everyday life, to prove that he does more with his time than simply attend parties.

He works in New York City, through which he also takes long walks, and he meets women. Nick says that Jordan is fundamentally a dishonest person; he even knows that she cheated in her first golf tournament.

Nick feels attracted to her despite her dishonesty, even though he himself claims to be one of the few honest people he has ever known. He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. The rich, both socialites from East Egg and their coarser counterparts from West Egg, cavort without restraint.

The Great Gatsby SparkNotes Literature Guide

As his depiction of the differences between East Egg and West Egg evidences, Fitzgerald is fascinated with the social hierarchy and mood of America in the s, when a large group of industrialists, speculators, and businessmen with brand-new fortunes joined the old, aristocratic families at the top of the economic ladder. In this scenario, Gatsby is again an enigma— though he lives in a garishly ostentatious West Egg mansion, East Eggers freely attend his parties.

Despite the tensions between the two groups, the blend of East and West Egg creates a distinctly American mood. While the Americans at the party possess a rough vitality, the Englishmen there are set off dramatically, seeming desperate and predatory, hoping to make connections that will make them rich. Chapter III is devoted to the introduction of Gatsby and the lavish, showy world he inhabits.

Fitzgerald gives Gatsby a suitably grand entrance as the aloof host of a spectacularly decadent party. Despite this introduction, this chapter continues to heighten the sense of mystery and enigma that surrounds Gatsby, as the low profile he maintains seems curiously out of place with his lavish expenditures. Just as he stood alone on his lawn in Chapter I, he now stands outside the throng of pleasure-seekers.

One of his guests, Owl Eyes, is surprised to find that his books are real and not just empty covers designed to create the appearance of a great library.

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