Monday, April 14, 2008

Final Gatsby Discussion: Chapters 8 and 9

This is your last chance to offer interpretations and pose questions about The Great Gatsby, so get your ideas out there!

37 comments:

briang said...

So as far as the warm up activity regarding the ending passages of the novel, what were some of the closing themes and symbols you guys found?

Dan E said...

I was wondering how everyonee felt about the ending. Satisfied? Left hanging? infuriated?

nathanm said...

What do you guys think the signinficance of the green light it is?

jordanc said...

On page 180, it says, "I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock." What do you think this green light represents? What does it mean?

Laurab said...

I thought that one of the more intruiging lines of the last page was "It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning "– This reminded me of how Gatsby tried and tried to do everything right in the eyes of others, and it was never enough. While he was trying to impress people and make them like him, he was destroyed. I think this line shows that Gatsby would try each day to do better, no matter what.

nathanm said...

I felt that the ending was poetic justice. I feel angry that nothing was fulfilled at the end but as I analyzed it deeper I understoof the meaning.

briang said...

Nathan, I've been wondering exactly what the green light meant for most of the book. At first, I think Fitzgerald made it obvious that the green light represented Gatsby's dream to be with Daisy. But in the closing passages, I think the green light represents more the hope and future people desire.

kyle said...

Dan- I thought the ending seemed very different from the rest of the book. The last page seemed to be very philosophical and focused more on thought rather than actions, which was different than the rest of the book. It kind of didn't deem to fit properly.

chelseah said...

I thought that the line that says "so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" is great symbol of the struggles that each character went through individually. Gatsby, especially, was against all odds in his quest for Daisy, which can be drawn back to the boats beating against the current. But not only Gatsby was going against the odds, almost the enitre novel is about individual's lives and how they struggle through it day by day. I just thought this was a very interesting way to end the novel, and I think it really tied every aspect together.

Laurab said...

I agree with Brian. I think that the green light is supposed to be the one thing that everyone wants, but they can never reach it. It represents what the future holds in each person's life.

jordanc said...

Kyle, I totally agree. I feel like the last page wasn't even written by Fitzgerald.

Lane C. said...

The ending didn't really bother me. I think the characters who died are leaving the remaining characters better off. I thought it was a little disappointing not knowing what all happened to Tom and Daisy.

kaylaf said...

A reference to eyes and the color green, as well as the Sound seems to be all mentioned in the last paragraph. Why does Fitzgerald say recall all of these symbols once again at the end?

jordanc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan E said...

Laura, I agree with what you said about Gatsby trying to do better every day, the thing that comes to mind is the passage when Gatsb's father shows Nick Gatsby's "to do list" and what he says about how he was always trying to better his mind, as well as a=other aspects of his life.

KylieYoum said...

Brian, I think the green light is the sign of envy. Gatsby envies what Tom and Daisy have, and he envies the happiness that others have that he can't reach!

DeclanH said...

I agree with Nathan that the ending was poetic justice, but it didn't make me angry. Personally, I kind of like when a story doesn't really end and leaves it up to you to fill in the blanks.

briang said...

Yea chelsea I like that symbol as well. It seemed like Gatsby was the only one in the novel who truly swam against the current the entire novel. The other characters, especially towards the end of the book, seemed to give up and be carried away with the current, like taking the easy way out. I think Nick recognizes this and in the end decides for himself that he will never liet himself be "swept away by the current".

Laurab said...

Declan - I agree with you. The ending was good so that the reader can fill in the end for themselves, and deduce what they will from the story.

kaylaf said...

I agree with everyone on the ending of the novel. It is so different then the rest of the book. It fits but at the same time I wonder why Fitzgerald ended the book in the words and phrases that he did.

Hannah J said...

I thought that the ending wasn't really an ending at all. It was more of just a poem to end the book, but the story continues to go on.

chelseah said...

I agree Brian, but I also think that it is a good symbol for every character, for the novel as a whole. Even though the other characters began to give up especially towards the end, the fact that the entire novel is made up of conflict and struggle exemplifies the fact that they were swimming against the current, and they just couldn't take it anymore.

Dan E said...

Decclan and Laura, I like the way you explain how Fitzgerald leaves the ending to the readers, however I think he subtly expresses what he wants you to think throughtout the novel, specifically his philosophies on love and dreams.

DeclanH said...

I think you're right Dan. He probably did want readers to think about the rest of his novel as well. But I think the ending was what he truly wanted to be the most thought provoking.

briang said...

I was just thinking about how Fitzgerald dedicated this book to Zelda, and that during the time he wrote this novel, Zelda was cheating on him. I think that Fitzgerald puts pieces of himself in Gatsby throughout the whole book but then in Nick at the end. Maybe Fitzgerald was so hurt that Zelda cheated on him that he felt like killing himself (like Wilson or Gatsby). THen in the end, maybe as a message to Zelda, he says that he will continue to swim against the current, or keep trying to make their relationship and their love work.

nathanm said...

Chelsea, the strongest emotion i felt form that passage was hopelessness. It makes it seem like that no one can win and that we shouldn't even try.

kaylaf said...

Declan- I agree with you. I think the entire novel has been leading up to the deep intellectual thoughts the reader achieves at the end of the book.

chelseah said...

Nathan, I think that isn't hopelessness as much as it is giving up. Even though they were probably completely hopeless, I think they could've been more persistent throughout.

chelseah said...

Nathan, I think that isn't hopelessness as much as it is giving up. Even though they were probably completely hopeless, I think they could've been more persistent throughout.

karib said...

I was having computer problems and so I couldn't get on during the live blog, so this post is going to be epic...

Dan- the ending left me satisfied with the fact that the characters were finally moving on with their lives and leaving the superficiality that they had been trapped by through the enitre book. However, I felt like the characters had completely wasted their lives up until that point, although that could have possibly been a point Fitzgerald was trying to make.

As for the green light, I see it as something that in reality was insignificant but represented the false hope held by all the members of society.

I do have a question about the relationship between Gatsby and the light though: Did he know that Daisy lived in the area when he bought his house, or was he just guessing? He did know that the green light belonged to Daisy's house, right?

Chelsea- I see hopelessness and giving up as the same thing. I think one requires the other, as one gives up when they feel like there is nothing in it for them down the road.

Ty said...

In my last reading ticket I wrote about Nick's role in the book. It seemed like he was just an observer throughout the whole book up until chapter 9. When he is calling all of Gatsby's contacts, this showed me that he truly cared about Gatsby. I think that Nick was Gatsby's only real friend, and this was his role in the book.

Laine G said...
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Laine G said...

Hello,
This is the wrong hour to be posting in but I need to make up the discussion from Monday in 6th hour. Here goes:
I found this whole book to be really entertaining, while surprisingly literary at the same time. I've never watched a full episode of either, but this book seems to me like it is a mix of soap operas and Desperate Housewives, from before either of those came out. This plot line is that of a love triangle, with 5 sides, with an equally geometrically perplexing 5 sided hate triangle in the middle of that. The only out of place relationship is Nick and Jordan, they are just a random little relationship on the side of the plot line. They really serve no purpose except to show that Nick isn't a total loner/fifth wheel.
To simplify 189 pages into a picture I made this diagram. Each letter stands for the First letter of the person's first name.

CMeghan said...

My one and only dinal comment on this book is this: I love Gatsby.

I do.

And I don't think he was selfish, or that he wanted to possess Daisy, or that he was a bad person, or that he should have made different choices. For inexplicable reasons, I find Gatsby to be absolved of all guilt and a truly fine example of a man.

But of course I had the same tendency to hope as he does.

shaunam said...

To respond to dan e's question, I personally didn't like the ending of the book, it almost seemed staged and unfair that "the good guy" inevitably lost. This makes me wonder, was Gatsby the symbol of evil in the story? Or was it just an interpretation of Fitzgerald's life, and how life isn't fair and just all the time?

Also, if Gatsby dies, and didn't follow is intutition back in the day, why is he referred to as "the great?"

The one thing that I really liked about the book is the way it makes you think. Fitzgerald had a way of writing that was left to interpretaion, and almost forced deep thought.

TomR said...

Well, I was absent both yesterday and today, so here goes nothing.

Meghan, I think you're being a bit optimistic here. The man himself was not necessarily selfish, but rather blinded by his obsession with Daisy. I felt that as a protagonist (he really was the main character of this book, despite it not being from his perspective), he was comparable to Edna in that he was extremely foolish and used haphazard means to achieve loosely defined goals. As far as Shauna's question, no, I don't see Gatsby as a symbol of evil, but rather misguided (and I do think it's a fair connection to make to Fitzgerald's opinion of himself later in life...not that I actually know anything about that.)

As for the very ending, it seemed to me to be equally hopeless, as all of the mistakes that Gatsby made are doomed to be repeated, much as the boats struggling against the current. I felt very pessimistic overtones throughout the whole story, then again, maybe it's just an example of READER RESPONSE. Seriously, though, the book was interesting, despite the ending making the events of the book seem inconsequential in comparison to the grand tapestry of history that we have apparently turned into a worthless quest for material wealth. I think I should stop; I'm rambling.

Madisonm said...

Going off of meghanc's comment:
Throughout reading this novel, I had trouble establishing what I actually felt towards any of the characters. I never really strongly disliked Daisy, and I never strongly liked Gatsby. It almost seemed like none of the characters were complete enough for me to understand or side with. But then again, is a character ever really complete? I think the incompleteness of character is what makes them a character--in this case it forms the plot for this entire book. Gatsby feels incomplete without Daisy, for instance. This drives and influences his whole life. Everything he does is for her. Now, I know that this is where a lot of controversy comes in as far as how people view Gatsby: whether he is a hopeless romantic, willing to do anything for his only love; or whether he is selfish and self-centered and treats Daisy as merely an item. This troubled me because I felt that I tended to think of Gatsby in more of a negative light. However, I feel that the reason I may view him this way is because of the way we are so deeply analyzing the texts we read; we scrutinize each character and try to identify their exact specific motives behind everything. I believe that when we criticize any person or character to such a great extent, we will always come back to selfishness, because is it not for self benefit that all humans do everything? I also believe that had I read this book outside of class, without any intention of analyzing the text, I would have had a complete different opinion of Gatsby. I think he embodies many of the traits of "heroes" in other texts and even movies. He is willing to risk everything for Daisy. He is willing to throw everything away for her. Had the book been written from either Gatsby or Daisy's perspective, I think the novel would be viewed more as a love story than one of murder and deception. Because we are viewing everything from the eyes of an outside party (Nick), we are able to draw conclusions, or make assumptions, about the intent behind the plot. It is because of love that the characters, or at least some of the characters, resort to murder and deception.
So, Meghan, I can definitely see what you are saying about Gatsby, and I hope you can understand what I am attempting to say about him too. I admire how, despite all of the meticulous analysis and criticism we have all placed on Gatsby, that you are able to find the sole goodness in him--you see the hope and love behind his "selfish" intent. Im glad you bring that out amongst all the other comments because when reduce any person to 'who they really are', we can either view that person as 'good' or 'bad'. I think people tend to classify people as 'bad', because we are trying to say something about society and the world; and we are, but I think that in order to see the 'good', we are forced to dig deeper--to see past the 'bad'.
I do think that ultimately I liked Gatsby, regardless of how harshly I may have criticized his actions or intentions. Because in the end, he was driven by love, or his need for love. And I think that when we recognize that, we somehow manage to see past the deception, etc. and grasp what the character may have truly intended.
I hope some part of that long rambling made some sort of sense.