Examine the following symbols in The Great Gatsby. Describe the meaning/function of each symbol. Some of the symbols are characters and some of them are actions. Think about all of them in the following way: what is the function/meaning of this symbol?
A. Gatsby's uncut books/Nick's unread books
B. Wolfsheim's cufflinks
C. Gatsby's car/Gatsby's clothes
D. Tom Buchanan pushing people around/Tom Buchanan quoting things "he's read"
E. The faded timetable (showing the names of Gatsby's guests)
F. Anti-semitism, prejudice
H. Time, seasons
I. The ash heap
J. The green light at the end of Daisy's dock
K. East versus West Egg
L. Gatsby's career/Nick's career
M. Dan Cody
N. T.J. Eckleberg
O. Silver and gold (color)
P. White (color)
Q. Green (color)
1. Reread p. 115-116. List the ways in which the opening scene at the Buchanan’s home is practically the same as it was in Chapter 1.
2. Why would Fitzgerald write such similar scenes? What is the point?
3. List ways that Daisy acts carelessly in this chapter.
4. When Daisy and Tom’s daughter Pammy visits with the adults, how does Gatsby react? (p. 117)Note Daisy’s parenting style. She brings Pammy out just to show her off to her friends. She calls Pammy a “dream.” Being a mother isn’t a top priority in Daisy’s life. She never talks about her or plays with her. Pammy is always with her nurse. Daisy almost seems uninterested in her.
5. Daisy compares Gatsby to an advertisement of a man. Think of what the qualities of an advertisement are and then explain why Daisy thinks of Gatsby this way. (p. 19)
6. When the group is in New York at the Plaza Hotel, what is ironic about the music that filters up to them from the ballroom downstairs?
7. Reread p. 132-135. What happens when Daisy’s affair with Gatsby is brought to light? How does Gatsby’s dream die?
8. Why is it appropriate that Nick’s turning 30 coincides with the end of Gatsby’s dream? (p. 136)
9. Gatsby tells Nick how Myrtle was run over. “It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak with us, thought we were somebody she knew” (145). Why would Myrtle want to talk to them? Did she know who Daisy was? Did Daisy know who she was? Keep in mind that Nick, Tom, and Jordan had stopped by the garage earlier that day driving the same yellow car.
10. What makes Gatsby admirable at the end of this chapter?
1. Notice the foghorn and the kind of dreams Nick is having in the first paragraph of chapter 8 (p. 147). What kind of mood do the two create for Chapter 8? (Remember mood is the feeling or emotional atmosphere of the writing.)
2. Gatsby tells Nick he left Daisy’s house at four in the morning after she turned off the light. What could turning off the light symbolize? (p. 147)
3. Gatsby reveals the truth of his and Daisy’s earlier relationship. He says he feels guilty because he rekindled their relationship under false pretenses. What does he mean by this?
4. “But he didn’t despise himself and it didn’t turn out as he had imagined. He had intended, probably, to take what he could and go – but now he found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail. He knew that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn’t realize just how extraordinary a ‘nice’ girl could be. She vanished into her house, into her rich, full life, leaving Gatsby – nothing. He felt married to her, that was all” (149).
What does Fitzgerald mean by “the following of a grail?”
What does Fitzgerald mean by “He felt married to her, that was all?”
5. Why didn’t Daisy wait for Gatsby when he went overseas for the war?
6. George Wilson has no church, no God, no friends, “There wasn’t enough of him for his wife.” Explain what that quote means and why where George lives (the Valley of Ashes) is so appropriate for him.
7. How does George find out whose car hit Myrtle?
8. Wilson explains to Michael is what he and Myrtle were talking about before she ran out. What was he saying to her? (p. 160)
9. What phone call is Gatsby waiting for?
10. Why does Fitzgerald describe George as an “ashen” figure right before he kills Gatsby?
1. Catherine lies to police saying Myrtle loved Wilson and never cheated on him. Nick says this shows character. How? What is the flaw in this?
2. Compare and contrast the image Mr. Gatz has of Gatsby to the image we as readers see.
3. Contrast the number of people at Gatsby’s parties to the number of people who attend his funeral. Who went to the funeral? What does this say about the people from his parties?
4. Why did Nick leave the East and move back to the Midwest?
5. Why do you think Daisy didn’t tell Tom that she was really the one driving the car that day?Would you have told your husband? What are the pros and cons of telling or not telling?
6. A direct comparison is made between Gatsby and the settlers of this country – put it in your own words. (p. 182)
Gatsby represents the changing society. The American dream has changed and is corrupting America like it did Gatsby. Wealth and his desire for a great love left him a criminal. The values and morals of Americans were changing during the roaring twenties. (Speakeasies, flappers, Wall Street, etc.)
7. The nation’s early idealism (coming to America, the land of opportunity and freedom) is destroyed by its involvement in materialism. Compare this theme to the characters in the novel.