The Great Gatsby: Chapter 1-3

In Chapter 1, the reader meets the narrator, Nick Carraway. These first four paragraphs serve as a prologue that introduces the rest of the story. What information does Nick give about himself in this prologue? He tries not to judge people; he went to college; people tend to come to him with their problems
What does Nick say is “gorgeous” about Gatsby? Nick said that Gatsby’s “heightened sensitivity” is charming
Nick also explains his disillusionment with mankind. What about Gatsby causes this disillusionment? Nick says that Gatsby had a response of the “creative temperament” and “an extraordinary gift for hope”, which Nick is unlikely to ever experience again
What is Nick’s socio-economic background? Nick descends from the Duke of Buccleach
When Nick returns from the war, why does he decide to go East? Nick wanted to learn the bond business and the midwest seemed as if he lived on the “edge of the universe”, and he wanted to go where the money was (east)
The action in this tory takes place over the course of one summer. What occurs in this chapter that makes Nick feel that his life is beginning over again? When Nick meets a man on a walk, he is asked how he ended up in West Egg, and when he explains to the guy how, he feels as though he is no longer lonely and that he belongs there
How is West Egg different from East Egg? West Egg is new money/inherited, East Egg is old money/earned
Before the meeting, what is learned about Tom Buchanan? Located a quotation that seems to sum up Buchanan. He’s a very wealthy, arrogant person that used to be a football player. “A national figure in a way…with money was a matter for reproach.” (para. 1, pg. 6)
Find the words Nick uses to describe Daisy’s voice, which is one of her most noticeable features. A “voice that the ear follows up… will never be played again.”
At this point, what do you know about and what is your opinion of Daisy? She seems like a very attractive person, although she is also an attention seeker
Daisy says, “Tom’s getting very profound.” What do you think her tone might have been? Daisy’s tone of voice seemed very satiric
At this point, why does Nick observe, “There was something pathetic in his concentration…”? This infers that although Tom practically has everything and acts like he knows everything, he seems to struggle with understanding
Why is Nick’s instinct “to telephone immediately for the police”? The situation between Tom and Daisy might become physically dangerous
Why does Nick think Daisy’s cynical outburst is fake? Daisy said something in a tone that sounded very insincere to Nick
What is the reader left to think about Daisy’s emotional state and her relationship with Tom? Daisy’s and Tom’s relationship doesn’t seem very desirable for either of them, although neither of them seem to be making much of an effort to better their relationship or get out of it
Who is Jordan Baker, and what has Nick heard about her? Jordan Baker is Daisy’s friend and a professional golfer
Daisy says, “I think the home influence will be good for [Jordan].” What do you think her tone may be? Daisy seems to be being a bit sarcastic, especially since that her home isn’t very good at all
As Nick drives away from their house, he experiences a number of conflicting emotions. Why does he feel touched? Why does he feel “confused and a little disgusted”? Nick felt touched because the company was very interested in him, but at the same time, the way that they were all living was disgusting
At the end of this chapter, Nick sees Gatsby on the lawn and is about to call to him but does not. What stops him? What does Gatsby’s “trembling” suggest? Nick decides no to call out to Gatsby because he seems as though he’d prefer to be alone at that time
The green light that Gatsby is staring at is mentioned several more times, and it assumes a symbolic significance. Where and what do you think the green light might be? The green light most likely is a symbol of the future, and how a moment may be happening but will pass by quickly.
The description of the “valley of ashes” opens Chapter 2. On a literal level, what is the valley of ashes? What might it represent on a symbolic level? Literall, it’s an area in which ashes are dumped. Symbolically, it may refer to a place made for things that are used up or burnt out, like people
What are some dissimilarities between Tom and George and Daisy and Myrtle? Tom is rich, physically strong, and manipulative, whereas George is physical weak, poor and “spiritless”; Myrtle is sensuous, poor, and vivacious, whereas Daisy is quiet, small, loud and doesn’t really live in reality
In what way does Fitzgerald indicate that Myrtle Wilson is not an intellectual? Fitzgerald shows Myrtle as someone who reads a lot
At the party in the apartment, what social classes are represented, and by whom? The lower/working class is represented by Myrtle; the McKees represent the middle class; and Tom represents the higher class
In what social class does Nick belong? Nick could be apart of either the middle or upper class, and takes part in the upper class, although he does not take part in the wealthy part of the upper class; hangs out with higher-class people, but has near-to-the-same $$ as the middle class
In what way is the party in the apartment different from the dinner at the Buchanan’s in Chapter 1? In what way is it similar? The dinner party at the Buchanan’s was small, fancy, and elegant, where as the party at the apartment wasn’t as refined; Both parties seem boring and filled with very unhappy
The McKees appear only in Chapter 2. Why does Fitzgerald bring them into the story? The McKees are apart of Tom and Myrtle’s social circle, and they show similar characteristics as Nick
Notice how often and in what context Doctor Eckleburge’s eyes are mentioned. What may be the significance of these eyes? Dr. Eckleburge’s eyes are almost always observing and watching what’s going on in the apartment. They “see” Nick and Tom, Wilson’s repair shop, and the valley of ashes
Do you think Tom will leave Daisy for Myrtle? Tom is probably not going to leave Daisy. When Myrtle mentioned Daisy’s named, he go upset, and that just shows that, to a degree, he has more respect for Daisy than he does for Myrtle
Find support for the statement: “Gatsby’s parties were expensive, elaborate, raucous affairs; but they were not gatherings of his friends who brought warmth and happiness with them.” Gatsby would have an orchestra at the parties, including having a car and wagon go to his guests’ houses and the train station to pick them up. However, when Nick came in and asked for Gatsby by some woman, she had absolutely no clue who Gatsby was
What is Nick’s opinion of the people at the parties when he says that once there, the guests “conducted themselves according to the rules of behavior associated with amusement parks”? The guests’ behavior is wild and Nick dislikes how rude they all acted
Explain Nick’s comment, It was testimony to the romantic speculation inspired that there were whispers about him from those who had found little that is was necessary to whisper about in this world.” Gatsby is a mysterious man to most of his guests. They do not know or really care about him, and spread rumors about him
What mistake does Nick make? Gatsby speaks to Nick and invites him to try a “hydroplane”, although Nick does not realize that the man is actually Gatsby’s chauffeur
What is the great quality in Gatsby’s smile? A great quality in Gatsby’s smile is eternal reassurance
What do Gatsby and Nick have in common? They both served in World War 1
What does Fitzgerald subtly wish to convert about Gatsby when he has Nick say, “…I was looking at an elegant young roughneck… whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care”? He looked very formal and sounded sophisticated, although Nick felt unsure about him. His words didn’t flow very naturally, as if they were practiced before
Why do you suppose that Jordan does no believe Gatsby when he says that he attended Oxford in England? Gatsby does not fit Jordan’s stereotype of an Oxford man
In what way is Gatsby’s behavior at his party quite unlike the behavior of most of his guests? Gatsby doesn’t party or drink, and instead observes and watches everyone
What do you think Fitzgerald misses to convert about Gatsby’s parties through the incident with the drunks and the car and the husbands and wives arguing? Gatsby’s parties are full of drunks. None of his guests actually seem happy, and they don’t seem to really care about anyone or anything anymore
What is the purpose of the last section of this chapter that begins, “Reading over what I have written so far…?” It drives the reader away from the life with Nick’s company, and focuses on how he feels about Jordan and New York
What impression do you get from Nick’s statement that he is “one of the few honest people [he had] ever known?” This shows that he doesn’t fully trust anyone else in the novel, and that he’s not really trying to hide how he feels

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