The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald   1926

Common motifs in novel:

East vs West                                      Weather (pathetic fallacy)

Decay                                                    Alienation

Social façade                                        Vision – clarity and blurred

Selling out                                            East vs West

 

Common symbols:

Valley of Ashes                                                          the eyes of Doctor Eckleburg

Gatsby´s mansion                                                   colors: green, yellow

Cars

 

Parallels to notice              Gatsby and Fitzgerald                                          Nick´s career & Gatsby´s career

 

Jigsaw Notes Instructions

You will take notes in pen (so I can make a copy for the class) on your assigned topic for this chapter of The Great Gatsby.  In the first few chapters of many novels motifs are often established and connections to the time period created.

Take two column notes on your assigned topic marking the page number and brief quotation capturing your idea. You should make a note in the second column and leave some space to add ideas from the class discussion on the readings

Chapter 1 – 2  –  Notes Jigsaw

  1. Modernist concerns:  alienation, lost, aimless drifting, decadence
  2. Gender roles: How does Fitzgerald describe masculine and feminine through           his characters? What can we infer?
  3. West vs East: How do the values of the Mid-west contrast to those of the                    East?  Why do characters go East? What can we infer?
  4.  Narrative voice:  We are receiving the story from Nick Carraway´s viewpoint.            What are his opinions about passing judgement, intimacy, hopes and dreams.    What can we infer?
  5. Setting:  CH 1: In what ways does the setting reinforce Fitzgerald’s characterization of Tom, Daisy and Jordan Baker?  Ch 2; This chapter has two setting: the ash lands and the love nest of Tom and Myrtle.  In what ways are these settings allegorical       (representing an idea as well as a place) or metaphorical?  What are we to infer?
  6. Dichotomy of Wealth/Poverty:   What kinds of wealth or poverty (literal and metaphorical) does Fitzgerald explore in this chapter and what can we infer             about these socio-economic conditions?
  7. Vision and blurring:  How does Fitzgerald use light/ brightness and darkness and details about setting to create blurring or clarity of vision?  What objects or people reinforce this motif?  What social commentary is Fitzgerald making through this motif?
  8. Marriage/infidelity/romanticism:   What does Fitzgerald have to say about these         three ideas?  What can we infer?

Chapter 3 -4  –  Notes Jigsaw

  1. Modernist concerns: alienation, lost, aimless drifting, decadence, excessive drinking.
  2. Gatsby as a construct: We see several versions of Jay Gatsby.  What is fiction?             What is the truth?  What can we infer?
  3. Nick´s routine: Nick has settled into life at Probity Trust and living in New York.  What hints do we get about Nick´s personality as he discusses his new life?
  4. Gatsby´s party and guests:  What are we, as observers through Nick´s eyes, to           make of the party and the guests?
  5. Cars: A good amount of the narrative is devoted to cars.  What can we infer?  Car       as a metaphor? A symbol?
  6. Characterization: Ch 3&4: What kind of a person is Jordan Baker.  How do Fitzgerald´s choices in characterizing her fit with other motifs? Does in a         stereotypic way? What is the effect of Fitzgerald characterization Mr Wolfsheim?
  7. Vision and blurring:    How does Fitzgerald use light/ brightness and darkness and details about setting to create blurring or clarity of vision?  What objects or people reinforce this motif?
  8. Marriage and Romance:   In chapter 4 we learn how Tom and Daisy met. How         does this story reinforce a motif and make social commentary?

Chapter 5 -6  –  Notes Jigsaw

  1.       Modernist concerns: alienation, lost, aimless drifting, decadence, excessive                 drinking, the artificial
  2.       Gatsby as a construct:  How does Gatsby´s real life story align with F. Scott                 Fitzgerald´s story?  Do some googling!
  3. Symbols:  Green light, flowers, horse
  4. The contrived or artificial is explored in these two chapters.  Which scenes                 depict the artificial or contrived and what are we to infer about purpose for their     inclusion?
  5. Wealth and excess is dominant in these chapters.  What function does this serve to reinforce motifs and to make social commentary?
  6. Narrative voice:  How has Nick changed as a character?  How is he feeling about his role in bringing Daisy and Gatsby together?
  7. Vision & Blurring: How does Fitzgerald use light/ brightness and darkness and details about setting to create blurring or clarity of vision?  What objects or people reinforce this motif?
  8.  Foreshadowing:  How does Fitzgerald hint at the dark future ahead?

Chapter 7  –  Notes Jigsaw

  1. Modernist concerns:  disillusionment, sense of doom, sickness
  2. Atmosphere: How does Fitzgerald create atmosphere and to what effect and purpose?
  3. Symbols: cars, eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, yellow
  4. Power and control: Who holds power and controls whom and for what reason(s)? Who speaks?  Who is silent?  Inferences?
  5. Loss of control: Trace the loss of control characters have over their emotions and their lives.
  6. Marriage/infidelity:  How does Fitzgerald depict the central characters and their struggles?  Are your emotions engaged as a reader?  What are the character’s main emotions?  What can we infer?
  7. Vision – How does Fitzgerald use light/ brightness and darkness and details about setting to create blurring or clarity of vision?  What objects or people reinforce this motif?
  8. Truth:  What is Fitzgerald saying about truth in this chapter?

Chapter 8  –  Notes Jigsaw

  1. Modernist concerns:  alienation, disillusionment, sense of doom, sickness,                                                                   drifting
  2. The Grotesque/ a pervading sense of things out of place:  Trace this motif and             discuss how it contributes to atmosphere and meaning.
  3. Symbols:  eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, pool (?), dog leash (?)
  4. Setting:  The events of these chapters take place in autumn.  Trace and discuss           contribution to atmosphere and meaning.
  5. West vs East: How do the values of the Mid-west contrast to those of the East?             Why do characters go East then back West? What can we infer?
  6. Failed American Dream:  The Great Gatsby is touted as an exploration of the               American Dream as a delusion corrupted and destroyed by wealth and loss of values.  How is this idea explored in these chapters?
  7. Measuring/ quantifying love, wealth and poverty:  Trace and discuss the contribution Fitzgerald’s ideas make to motifs and  meaning.
  8. Vision: How does Fitzgerald use light/ brightness and darkness and details about setting to create blurring or clarity of vision?  What objects or people reinforce this motif?

Chapter 9  –  Notes All

  1. F. Scot Fitzgerald was a writer of the ¨Lost Generation.¨ In what ways does The                     Great Gatsby capture the concerns of these modernist writers?
  2. Which symbol do you think is the most significant and why?
  3. Which motif helped you create meaning ?