I) hF.e Sc otGt Fritzgeeraald
A) born on Septe t
r 2 a
was named after Francis Scott Key, author of the "Star-Spangled
B) Despite finishing as a mediocre student in a New Jersey boarding school after doing poorly during
his early years in school, he managed to enter Princeton in 1913.
C) However, he enlisted in the Army in 1917 after college bored him to tears. Fitzgerald became a
second lieutenant, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, in Montgomery, Alabama
D) Meet and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, who was carefree, fun-loving, and desire wealth from
Fitzgerald, who sought to prove himself in order for their marriage to actually take place after years
E) Scored huge with This Side of Paradise in 1920, making him a literary success, earning him lots of
cash, which made possible his marriage to Zelda.
F) The Great Gatsby was published in 1925.
G) Due to his celebrity status, Fitzgerald fell into a wild, reckless life-style of parties and decadence,
while desperately trying to please Zelda by writing to earn money
H) 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. He published Tender Is the Night in 1934, and sold short stories to The Saturday
Evening Post to support his lavish lifestyle. In 1937, he left for Hollywood to write screenplays, and
in 1940, while working on his novel The Love of the Last Tycoon, died of a heart attack at the age of
II) What typified the "Jazz Age?"
A) Coined by Fitzgerald, it is the period after World War I during the 1920s.
B) Came along with the emergence of Jazz music, which is typified by chaotic playing and performance
that lead to tuneful yet overdrawn sounds. Jazz music as performed by greats such as Miles David,
John Coltrane, and prominent others pretty much highlighted the beauty of excess and the process of
creating order out of disorder. Examples of such are the Jam Sessions.
C) An "anything goes" lifestyle. In this case, it is a life that leads to excess and profligacy, where riches
are spent in holding overabundant parties, amoral life choices, and, ultimately, the shift away from
permanence and ideal towards the temporal and limited. Beauty contained in such permits
themselves to limitations (e.g. the pursuit of carnal longing - nothing but flesh and bone. .where is
D) In essence, the period experienced the upsurge of consumerism, which was also put into the
forefront in Sister Carrie. One of the fruits of the emerging consumed-based economy was mass
entertainment, which, in Great Gatsby, came in the form of social activity.
E) In 1931, a journalist named Frederick Lewis Allen published a volume of informal history that did
more to shape the popular image of the 1920s than any book ever written by a professional historian.
The book, Only Yesterday, depicted the 1920s as a cynical, hedonistic interlude between the Great
War and the Great Depression--a decade of dissipation, jazz bands, raccoon coats, and bathtub gin.
Allen argued that World War I shattered Americans' faith in reform and moral crusades, leading the
younger generation to rebel against traditional taboos while their elders engaged in an orgy of
consumption and speculation.
F) CULTURAL CIVIL WAR - Despite the facade of comfort heralded by the Jazz Age, there was
conflict among geographic regions, in particular the social classes. The post-American values
espoused during post-WW1 -- a misnomer to the highest level -- challenged the Old World America
and used cultural norms and issues as the battlefield.
G) One of the cultural issues that were dealt during the time was the prohibition of on the sale and
consumption of alcohol mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1919),
which made millionaires out of bootleggers, and an underground culture of revelry sprang up.
Sprawling private parties managed to elude police notice, and "speakeasies"--secret clubs that sold
liquor--thrived. 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.
III) What is the American Dream?
A) rooted in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence which states that "all men are
created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights"
B) Three factors that inspires the Dream
3) Pursuit of Happiness
C) The term was first used by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America which was
written in 1931. He states: "The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be
better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or
achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too
many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and
high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to
attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what
they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."
D) Originally, the American Dream was about expanding the scope of American territory through
acquisition of unconquered regions during the 19th century. This ideal is attached to the concept of
Manifest Destiny, where the idea of occupying land across the North American borders was not only
ethical but that it was readily apparent ("manifest") and inexorable ("destiny").
E) In the midst of industrialization following the Civil War, many Americans experienced profound
hardship in the changing economic landscape. They found solace in the tales of Horatio Alger,
whose characters overcame adversity through industry, perseverance, self-reliance, and self-discipline.
The ubiquitous "rags to riches" legend became a cornerstone of American society; anyone could
succeed and achieve wealth if they worked hard. The commitment to industry illustrated by Alger's
characters, Lincoln's ideals of free labor, and Franklin's practical maxims were further solidified in
the American mind by the addition of a religiously based, Protestant "work ethic." Many believed
that hard work allowed one to not only achieve financial success, but, through that success, revealed
God's grace. (http://www.americansc.org.uk/Online/American_Dream.htm)
F) MATERIAL PROSPERITY AS DREAM - Throughout the years, especially during the Jazz Age,
the Dream has been attached with wealth and money -- the more you have of them, the better. The
values attracted by the American Dream -- hard work, sacrifice, perseverance -- were to serve in the
purpose of getting and earning more money, whether from hard luck or their income.
A) Major Characters
1) Jay Gatsby
(a) an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy - formerly
known as James Gatz, a student in St. Olaf who supported his tuition by working as a janitor
in the school.
(b) Motivated to become rich after meeting Daisy in 1917 before he left for WW1. He studied as
Oxford for five months before finding out that Daisy already married. HE now strives to
win Daisy back through his riches and successes.
(c) Dwells in East Egg at the time
2) Nick Carraway
(a) Narrator of the story; the first few lines of book explain his characteristics which make him
appropriate as the storyteller (patience and tolerance)
(b) A quiet young man from Minnesota who currently lives in the West Egg to learn the bond
(c) Cousin of Daisy
3) Daisy Buchanan
(a) As a young debutante in Kentucky, Louisville, she was popular among military officer who
were stationed there at the time
(b) Beautiful, but fickle, shallow, and bored
1) West Egg - self-made rich
2) East Egg - established aristocracy
3) Valley of Ashes (p. 29)
4) New York City - simultaneously fascinating and repulsive, thrillingly fast-paced and dazzling to
look at but lacking a moral center.
1) West Egg versus East Egg - 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. East Egg is associated with the Buchanans
and the monotony of their inherited social position, while West Egg is associated with Gatsby's
gaudy mansion and the inner drive behind his self-made fortune. The unworkable intersection of
the two Eggs in the romance between Gatsby and Daisy will serve as the fault line of
2) Essence versus Existence - the superficiality of appearances
3) The duality of Gatsby - he claims to have been educated at Oxford, collected jewels in the
capitals of Europe, to have hunted big game, and to have been awarded medals in World War I
by multiple European countries. Gatsby introduces Jay to Meyer Wolfsheim, a shady character
who happens to have fixed the 1919 World Series. This character shows how Gatsby may have
not won all his wealth in the most upright way, which is through organized crime.
4) The American Dreams - the ideal versus the actual
1) Reunion of Gatsby and Daisy
2) Myrtle in a car accident
3) Death of Gatsby
E) Resolution - a funeral for Gatsby was held, but only three showed up.
1) Reunion of Gatsby and Daisy occurred during the rain
2) Fight between Gatsby and Tom occurred during one humid afternoon
3) Myrtle was killed on the first day of autumn
4) Gatsby was killed afterward while taking a swim, which is significant due to his attempt to stop
B) Time - the attempt of Gatsby to restore past situations
A) The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg
1) Generally perceived by most as the eyes of God staring down at what was happening during the
2) The faded paint of the eyes can be seen as the weariness of those eyes due to the non-existent
moral center driving people with their hollow existences.
3) However, the eyes suggests different meanings to certain characters and in the case of George
Wilson, he saw the eyes at an affirmation to avenge the death of Myrtle
4) In the end, the eyes do not really mean anything especially in a world lacking a moral center.
B) Valley of Ashes - The desolate and arid place that separates both Eggs is a picture of the festering
amorality during the period. The beauty and glamour of the East and West Eggs are mere facades to
the hidden yet disturbing reality that reflect the state of the characters.
C) Gatsby's Parties - Lavish and extravagant, but contained none of Gatsby's friends; real purpose was
to lure Daisy into meeting him. After they met, the parties ceased.
D) The Green Light - At the house of Daisy, a green light flicker where the house of Gatsby stands.
There are different ways of interpreting this symbol, but it somehow attests to the American Dream.
The green light as a traffic signal indicates for cars to move forward and past the intersection. In
some ways, the only thing that has allowed Gatsby to achieve all his riches and status was his undying
desire and love for Daisy, as he keeps pressing forward even more, never stopping nor surrendering.
Attacking the Dream; Gatsby Dream as a doomed goal that reflects everything that was wrong
during the Jazz Age