valley of the Ashes
corruption, destruction, and death
1. modern world waste from industry
2. materialism ruins wealthy people and others
3. moral values- sins such as adultery, breaking the law, lying, and murder, wasted marriages and lives
hard work and study leads to American dream of adventure and money. Irony is that he completely deviates from this intent by illegally obtaining his money
movements west to east
all move west to east in hope of finding a better life, glamour, riches or escape (Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, Jordan). None succeed because all develop false values to adapt to lifestyle. Only Nick saves himself by returning to mid-west
new money, fast money, rages to riches immigrant stock, showy and vulgar, wannabes (Gatsby and Nick)
old money, inherited wealth of established families, snooty, upper crust, white palaces (Tom and Daisy)
F. Scott Fitzgerald
born in 1896 in St. Paul, mn
married Zelda Sayre
goes to extravagant parties with Zelda
1925 publication of The Great Gatsby
Gatsby = man of "doubleness or twoness"
means he both loved and hated money, was attracted to rich, yet felt the falseness and hypocrisy of their lives
also called "Roaring 20's" (1918-1929) - rapid change in manners and morals among younger generation (determined to have a good time and reckless parties) Jazz music originated in New Orleans. Prohibition (alcohol illegal) --> bootleggers prospered
beautiful, enchanting, unworthy object of dream, illusion of love with voice like money, hollow (like Zelda)
hulk of a man, bigot, hypocrite, uses people, treates people like possessions, example of upper class values
first person narrator, observes at first, finally judges, develops full moral responsibility at age 30 (tuning point, loss of youth), represents the Midwest
The drunk who Nick meets at the first party he attends at Gatsby's mansion. Nick finds Owl Eyes looking through Gatsby's library, astonished that the books are real.
Dr. T.J. Eckleburg
billboard of eyes with glasses looking down on the Valley of the Ashes. Represents God judging poor moral behaviors
Moral irresponsibility creates a moral wasteland
1. valley of the ashes- industry waste
2. wasted lives- Tom's affair, Daisy's affair destroys marriages and lives
3. Gatsby's illegal wealth and deception causes him to lose Daisy and to have no friends to mourn him
4. Jordan's cheating, lying, and carelessness causes her to lose Nick.
5. Drunkenness results in arguments, fights, chaos, tears, accidents, hurt, etc.
6. Daisy's lies and Tom's malice cause three deaths
Illusion vs. reality
1. Daisy is a money lover who uses others to retain her status. She appears to be "fairy like" and pure dressed in white. Her voice is beautiful, but manipulative. She is a beautiful fool.
2. Jay Gatsby's smile, clothes, house all appear to create a man of wealth and status. In truth, he's a lying gangster (bootlegger, Oxford only 5 months)
3. others: Tom, Jordan, Meyer Wolfshiem, and party-goers
1. American idealism has been corrupted by adopting materialism as it means
2. moral irresponsibility creates a moral wasteland
3. the corruption of the American dream by selfish materialism (can no longer measure up to explorer's dreams)
4. illusion vs. reality (Gatsby's creation of his own history)
1. use of first person narrator for presentation rather than summary for key scenes
2. focus on a few scenes- tightly knit structure
3. juxtaposition of scenes for dramatic comparisons (parties, view of Gatsby, etc.)
4. Descriptive style-colors: white, green, gold and silver
5. religious imagery "grail," "sacred vigil," "worship at night," "Jacob's ladder"
6. epigraph on title page applies to Gatsby