Allusions in The Great Gatsby

Midas -Legendary king of Phrygia (Turkey)-Greek legend: He wished that everything he touched would turn to gold, but when the food in his mouth turned to gold, and in some versions his daughter, he begged to be released. The name Midas is now used to mean very rich.
Morgan -John Pierpont Morgan, an American financier, was one of the most successful financiers of the 19th century.
Mæcenas -A wealthy patron of the arts in ancient Rome.-His name is commonly used as the symbol of wealth and a generous patron of the arts.
Yale -An ivy league college in New Haven-New Haven is a city on Connecticut where Yale is located. New Haven in this novel means Yale, where Tom and Nick went to college.
Oxford -An elite college in Oxford, England
Old Money vs. New Money -Old money- Inthertitance-New Money- Start from scratch (like Rockefeller) and earn your way up
Trimalchio -A character in The Satyricon. Trimalchio was famous for hosting extremely luxurious parties. He was a vulgar, self-made millionaire whose brief and meteoric rise to the top parallels Gatsby’s brief career.-Fitzgerald thought of calling the novel “Trimalchio in West Egg.”-Used in comparison to Gatsby and his parties.
Edith Cummings (Jordan Baker) -One of the first amateur golfers of her generation-Her father was a wealthy socialite
Eugenics -A popular belief in the 20th century that was essentially “population control”, stating that only the best should reproduce
Rockefeller -A self-made billionaire in the late 19th century-He started as an orphan and worked his way to the top-John D. Rockefeller was an industrialist and philanthropist who founded the Standard Oil Company. He was perhaps the ultimate symbol of wealth in the US.
The Garden of Versailles -One of the most notable features of the palace of Versailles, the official residence of the kings of France between 1682 and 1790.
Simon Called Peter -Novel written in 1921 by Robert Keable, the title is a reference to Simon Peter the apostle and first Pope of the Catholic Church.-This book was very controversial due to both sexual and religious content-Nick mentions that he thinks the novel might be terrible, but it could just be the alcohol.
David Belasco -An American theatrical producer, impresario, director, and playwright. He is recognized in American history for being able to bring a new kind of naturalism to the stage (such as putting appropriate scents to certain scenes).
Arnold Rothstein -“The Brain” was a New York businessman and gambler who became a famous kingpin of the Jewish Mafia.-“He’s the man who fixed the 1919 World Series” (73), this is relevant because Rothstein is said to have been behind the Black Sox Scandal.
Black Sox Scandal- The World Series of 1919 The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball match fixing incident in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from gamblers (see Arnold Rothstein). The fallout from the scandal resulted in the appointment of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first Commissioner of Baseball, granting him absolute control over the sport in order to restore its integrity. Despite acquittals in a public trial in 1921, Judge Landis permanently banned all eight men from professional baseball, which includes banishment from post-career honors such as consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Despite requests for reinstatement in the decades that followed (particularly in the case of Shoeless Joe Jackson), the ban remains in force as of 2017.
Plato and the Platonic Ideal -A Greek philosopher-A belief that only ideas (pure forms) are really real.-Concerned with the real world vs. the ideal world. Jay Gatsby invented his ideal self. he strives to be the man he envisions in his fondest dreams of himself.
Christ at 12 in the temples -(Quote from the Gospel of Luke) “He was a son of God… and he must be about his father’s business (93).-This comment was made by the young Jesus to his parents when they find him talking with the teachers in the temple.
Serfs and feudalism -Serfdom is the status of peasants-Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe. It was used as a system for structuring society around relationship derived from the holding of land in exchange of labor. -“Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry” (88).
The Sirens -In Greek mythology, the Sirens were sea-creatures, usually portrayed as bird-women. Their singing had the power to lure sailors to their deaths.
Dante’s Divine Comedy and Beatrice -An epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and 1321(his death).-Widely considered the greatest work of Italian literature and seen as one of the best works of world literature.-An imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife in a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church.-Beatrice: Dante’s idea woman who guides him through Heaven. She was a Florentine woman whom he met in childhood and admired from afar for many years to follow.
Gilda Gray -Gilda Gray-A Polish born American actress and dancer who became famous in the US for popularizing a dance called the shimmy, which because very fashionable in the 1920s.
The Roaring Twenties • The distinctive cultural edge of the 1920s. • This phase emphasized the periods social, artistic, and culture energy. (Normalcy in terms of politics, jazz music, flappers, Art Deco) • The era ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929. • Speakeasy, also called blind pig or blind tiger, is an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. This led to the rise of gangsters.• Flappers were young, rebellious middle-class women. Big indications are things like no corsets, slinky knee-length dresses, a chin0bob, and heavy makeup (especially around the lips and the eyes)• In terms of prohibition, that law led to a rise of organized crime (transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals) as typified by Chicago’s Al Capone, smuggling and gangster associated all over the U.S. • The gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons. It was used by the Union forces during the Civil War. It requires a four-man crew to operate.
James J. Hill -(1863-1916) A Canadian-American railroad executive. He was the chief executive officer of the Great Northern Railway, which served a substantial area of the upper Midwest and northern Great Plains, and Pacific Northwest. Because of the side of the economic dominance, he became known as The Empire Builder.
Hopalong Cassidy -A fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford who wrote a series of popular short stories based on this character-In early writings, the character is portrayed as rude, dangerous, and rough-talking. By 1935, the character was portrayed by William Boyd (movie actor) and changed into a clean-cut on-screen hero.-In terms of film history, Bill “Hopalong” Cassidy was reserved and well spoken. He was often called upon to intervene when dishonest characters were taking advantage of honest citizens. -He traveled the west with two other characters- one young and trouble prone with a weakness for damsels in distress, and the other, comically awkward and outspoken.
Ben Franklin -(1706-1790) One of the Founding Fathers of the United States.-He was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and a diplomat.-He invented the lighting rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass “armonica” as well as formed both the first public lending library.-He earned the title of “The First American”
Horatio Alger and Rags-to-Riches -(1832-1899) A prolific American author best known for his many formulaic juvenile novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble background to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty.-His lifelong theme of “rags to riches” had a profound impact on America in the Gilded Age-Related to Gatsby and his rise to wealth from a very poor background (his father was a failed farmer).
Beatitudes • A set of teachings by Jesus that appear in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke• The tern comes from the Latin adjective, beatus, which means happy, fortunate, or blissful.• The teachings are expressed as eight blessing in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In Luke, four similar blessings spear in the Sermon on the Plain.
The Sermon on the Mount • This is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasized his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew.• The Sermon is the longest piece of teaching from Jesus in the New Testament including teachings of Jesus such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer.• To most believers in Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central beliefs of Christian discipleship.
The American Dream the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.
“The Shiek of Araby” The presence of the popular 1920’s song “The Sheik of Araby” in The Great Gatsby is a sign that represents a wide range of cultural instances and relational symbols throughout the novel. The sign in the novel, a portion of the song called “The Sheik of Araby”, is sung by a group of little girls in Central Park, a song about a rich man who covets beautiful women and attracts them from all races, and who claims that he is basically the embodiment of love and knows what love is all about. Nick and Jordan pass the children after their date at the Plaza Hotel. Jordan has just told Nick about the first time she witnessed Daisy and Jay Gatsby together. Jordan describes a scene of Daisy and Gatsby together at Daisy’s home in Louisiana, and later, of the night before Daisy and Tom’s wedding day. Then, Jordan tells Nick that about six weeks prior to their date, Jordan had mentioned Gatsby haphazardly to Daisy and she had a very strange tone of voice when she responded that it must have been the Gatsby she had met in her youth. After Jordan describes this memory to Nick, the little girls singing the song are heard; “I’m the Sheik of Araby, Your love belongs to me, At night when you’re asleep, Into your tent I’ll creep-“. Nick remarks that it is a strange coincidence that Gatsby ended up living so close to Daisy. Jordan explains that it was, of course, intentional, and Nick seems astounded that he did not realize this before. “He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.” (Fitzgerald 83). Nick proceeds to realize the enormity and modesty of Jay Gatsby’s grand intention- the intention of winning the love of Daisy Buchanan.
“Ain’t We Got Fun” The title of one of the hit songs of 1921, “Ain’t We Got Fun?!,” puts into words the mood that dominated much of the decade called the Roaring Twenties, a time marked by excessive pleasure seeking.
Kaiser Wilhelm The Emperor of Germany in 1914 at the outbreak of WWI. Gatsby is rumored to be his nephew.
KANT Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) a famous German philosopher who stared at a church steeple to help his concentration; In chapter 5 Nick stares at Gatsby’s house “like Kant at his church steeple.”
Lake Forest a suburb of Chicago where very rich and socially prestigious families live. Tom Buchanan comes east with a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.
Montenegro once a small country on the Adriatic Sea, now part of Yuguslavia. Gatsby says he has a medal from here.
Plaza Hotel the famous hotel in NYC at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. You can still take carriage rides from the Plaza today.
Tostoff Vladimir Tostoff’s Jazz History of the World is an imaginary composition by an imaginary composer. The jazz orchestra plays it for the guests at Gatsby’s party in chapter 3. It’s self important title is Fitzgerald’s cynical comment on how jazz tried to present itself as a serious rival to classical music during the 20s.
Von Hindenburg German general, chief of staff in WWI, later president of the Weimar Republic. Some say Gatsby worked for him, another example of the Gatsby myth.

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