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The Great Gatsby  
The cover of the first edition of The Great Gatsby, 1925.
Cover of the first edition, 1925.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald
Cover artist Francis Cugat
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Charles Scribner's Sons
Publication date April 10, 1925
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA & reissue ISBN 0-7432-7356-7 (2004 paperback edition)

The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published on April 10, 1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City during the summer of 1922 and is a critique of the American Dream.

The novel chronicles the chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roaring" 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers and led to an increase in organized crime. Although Fitzgerald, like Nick Carraway in his novel, idolized the riches and glamor of the age, he was uncomfortable with the unrestrained materialism and the lack of morality that went with it, a kind of decadence.

Although it was adapted into both a Broadway play and a Hollywood film within a year of publication, it was not popular upon initial printing, selling fewer than 25,000 copies during the remaining fifteen years of Fitzgerald's life. It was largely forgotten during the Great Depression and World War II. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world, and is ranked second in the Modern Library's lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

Contents

Writing and publication

[1]

Oheka Castle on the Gold Coast of Long Island was a partial inspiration for Gatsby's estate.[2]

After the birth of their child, the Fitzgeralds moved to Great Neck, Long Island in October 1922, appropriating Great Neck as the setting for The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald's neighbors included such newly wealthy New Yorkers as writer Ring Lardner, actor Lew Fields and comedian Ed Wynn.[3] Great Neck, on the shores of Long Island Sound, sat across a bay from Manhasset Neck or Cow Neck Peninsula, which includes the communities of Port Washington, Manorhaven, Port Washington North and Sands Point, and was home to many of New York's wealthiest established families. In his novel, Great Neck became the new-money peninsula of "West Egg" and Manhasset Neck the old-money peninsula of "East Egg".[4]

Progress on the novel was slow. In May 1923, the Fitzgeralds moved to the French Riviera, where the novel would come to completion. In November, he sent the draft to his publisher Perkins and his agent Harold Ober. The Fitzgeralds again relocated, this time to Rome, for the winter. Fitzgerald made revisions through the winter after Perkins informed him that the novel was too vague and Gatsby's biographical section too long. Content after a few rounds of revision, Fitzgerald returned the final batch of revised galleys in the middle of February 1925.[5]

Original cover art

The cover of The Great Gatsby is among the most celebrated pieces of jacket art in American literature.[6] A little-known artist named Francis Cugat was commissioned to illustrate the book while Fitzgerald was in the midst of writing it. The cover was completed before the novel, with Fitzgerald so enamored of it that he told his publisher he had "written it into" the novel.[6]

After several initial sketches of various completeness, Cugat produced the Art Deco-style gouache of a pair of eyes hovering over the bright lights of an amusement park. The woman has no nose but full and voluptuous lips. Descending from the right eye is a green tear. The irises depict a pair of reclining nudes.[6]

Fitzgerald's remarks about incorporating the painting into the novel led to the interpretation that the eyes are reminiscent of those of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg (the novel's erstwhile proprietor of a faded commercial billboard near George Wilson's auto-repair shop) which Fitzgerald described as "blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose." Although this passage has some resemblance to the painting, a closer explanation can be found in the description of Daisy Buchanan as the "girl whose disembodied face floated along the dark cornices and blinding signs".[6]

Title

The last piece to fall into place was the title. Fitzgerald was always ambivalent about it, shifting between Gatsby; Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; Trimalchio; Trimalchio in West Egg; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and The High-Bouncing Lover. Initially, he preferred Trimalchio, after the crude parvenu in Petronius's Satyricon. Unlike Fitzgerald's reticent agonist, Trimalchio actively participated in the audacious and libidinous orgies that he hosted. That Fitzgerald refers to Gatsby by the proposed title just once in the entire novel reinforces the view that it would have been a misnomer. As Tony Tanner observes, however, there are subtle similarities between the two.[7]

On November 7, 1924, Fitzgerald wrote decisively to Perkins — "I have now decided to stick to the title I put on the book [...] Trimalchio in West Egg" — but was eventually persuaded that the reference was too obscure and that people would not be able to pronounce it. His wife and Perkins both expressed their preference for The Great Gatsby and, in December, Fitzgerald agreed.[8] A month before publication, after a final review of the proofs, he asked if it would be possible to re-title it Trimalchio or Gold-Hatted Gatsby, but Perkins advised against it. On March 19, Fitzgerald asked if the book could be renamed Under the Red, White and Blue, but it was at that stage too late to change. The Great Gatsby was published on April 10, 1925. Fitzgerald remarked that "the title is only fair, rather bad than good".[9]

Plot

Nick Carraway, the narrator, is a young bachelor from a patrician Midwestern family, who graduates from Yale [New Haven] in 1915; after fighting in World War I and a return to the Midwest, he moves to New York City to "learn the bond business" in 1922.

Nick explains that in 1922 he rented a bungalow between two mansions in West Egg, a wealthy community on Long Island Sound. Across the bay was East Egg, inhabited by the "old aristocracy," including Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is Nick's second cousin once removed and Nick knew of Tom, a football player at New Haven. Nick describes the Buchanans in a visit to their East Egg mansion: although phenomenally wealthy, Tom's glory days are behind him; he is a dilettante. Daisy, although engaging and attractive, is pampered and superficial with a largely ignored three-year-old daughter. Daisy's friend Jordan Baker, a well-known female golfer, shows an interest in Nick and tells him that Tom has a mistress in New York City.

One day Tom and Nick take a train ride together to New York and on the way they stop at a shabby garage owned by George Wilson, where Nick is introduced to the owner's wife, Myrtle (Tom's mistress). Nick accompanies Tom and Myrtle to their Manhattan love-nest, where Myrtle presides over a pretentious party that includes her sister and several others. Nick finds the evening increasingly unbearable but does not leave until Tom breaks Myrtle's nose in a spat.

Nick finds that his next-door neighbor, who throws lavish parties hosting hundreds of people, is the wealthy, mysterious Jay Gatsby. Nick receives an invitation one weekend and attends, finding the party wild and fun. However, he also discovers the guests do not know much about Gatsby, and that rumors about the man are contradictory. Nick runs into Jordan Baker, but they are separated while searching for Gatsby. A man strikes up a conversation with Nick, claiming to recognize him from the US Army's Third Division during the Great War. Nick mentions his difficulty in finding the host, and the man reveals himself to be Gatsby. An odd, yet close, friendship between Nick and Gatsby begins.

One day, Gatsby drives Nick to New York City. Gatsby presents a clichéd description of his life as a wealthy dilettante and war hero to an incredulous Nick, but the latter is convinced when Gatsby displays a war medal. In New York, Gatsby introduces a bemused Nick to underworld figure Meyer Wolfsheim (based on Arnold Rothstein). Nick then sees Tom and tries to introduce Gatsby, but Gatsby disappears.

Jordan Baker later reveals to Nick that Gatsby had fallen in love with Daisy in 1917 while an Army Lieutenant stationed near Daisy's hometown, Louisville. After the war, Gatsby came east and bought his mansion near Daisy and Tom, where he hosts parties hoping she will visit. Jordan says Gatsby would like Nick to arrange a meeting with Daisy. Nick agrees, and invites Daisy and Gatsby to his house. The reunion is initially awkward, but Gatsby and Daisy begin a love affair. An affair also begins for Nick and Jordan, but Nick predicts their relationship will be superficial.

Daisy invites Gatsby and Nick to her mansion,where Tom discovers that Gatsby loves Daisy and, accompanied by Tom and Jordan, they depart for the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Tom insists he and Gatsby switch cars; as he stops by Wilson's garage for gas he flaunts Gatsby's roadster. At the hotel Tom confronts Gatsby about their affair. Gatsby urges Daisy to say she never loved Tom; Daisy says that although she did love Tom "once," she loved Gatsby "too." Tom mockingly tells Gatsby nothing can happen between him and Daisy. Gatsby retorts that the reason Daisy married Tom was because he (Gatsby) was too poor to marry Daisy. Tom visibly loses composure and reveals that Gatsby is a bootlegger. Gatsby tries to defend himself to Daisy, but Nick and Tom observe that he fails and that Daisy is now beyond his reach. With the situation between Tom and Gatsby tense, Daisy runs out of the hotel, with Gatsby following her, to Gatsby's car, where she insists on driving home as it will calm her nerves. Tom, believing he has bested Gatsby, leaves with Nick and Jordan.

George Wilson, also suspicious that his wife is having an extramarital affair, argues with her. Myrtle runs outside as Gatsby's roadster approaches (believing it to be Tom), only to be struck and killed by the car. Daisy and Gatsby speed away. Later, Tom, Jordan and Nick notice a commotion by Wilson's garage on their way to East Egg, and stop. While George mourns, moaning over his wife's body, a bystander tells of having seen a yellow car strike Myrtle. As George takes in this information, Tom, unfazed by the death of his mistress, tells George the car wasn't his, but George doesn't seem to listen and Tom, Jordan, and Nick leave.

Later that night Nick learns the truth of the accident from Gatsby — Daisy was driving when the car struck Myrtle. The next morning Nick finds Gatsby depressed, unsure whether Daisy still loves him, and awaits a call from her. Seeing himself as Gatsby's closest friend, Nick advises Gatsby to leave for a week. "They're [Daisy, Tom, Jordan] a rotten crowd," Nick says, "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."

Having tracked the owner of the roadster, George appears at Gatsby's mansion with a gun. George finds Gatsby floating in his pool and kills him before committing suicide.

Despite Nick's efforts, few people attend Gatsby's funeral. In the end, only Nick, Gatsby's father, and the "owl-eyed" man who admired the books in Gatsby's library show up at his funeral.

Nick severs connections with Jordan (who claims to be engaged to another man), and after a brief run-in with Tom, Nick returns permanently to the Midwest, reflecting on Gatsby's dreams and the sad and cyclical nature of the past.

Characters

Major characters

  • Nick Carraway (Narrator)—a 29-year-old (thirty by the end of the book) bond salesman from Minnesota, a Yale graduate, a World War I veteran, and a resident of Long Island. Neighbor of Gatsby and Daisy's cousin. The story is narrated by him.
  • Jay Gatsby (originally James "Jimmy" Gatz)—a young, mysterious millionaire later revealed to be a bootlegger, originally from North Dakota, with shady business connections and an obsessive love for Daisy Fay Buchanan, whom he had met when he was a young officer in World War I.
  • Daisy Buchanan née Fay—an attractive, effervescent young woman; Nick's second cousin, once removed; and the wife of Tom Buchanan. Daisy is believed to have been inspired by Fitzgerald's own youthful romance with Chicago heiress Ginevra King. Gatsby had courted but lost Daisy five years earlier due to their different social standing, the main reason Fitzgerald believed he had lost Ginevra.[10]
  • Tom Buchanan—an arrogant "old money" millionaire who lives on East Egg, and the husband of Daisy. Buchanan had parallels to William Mitchell, the Chicagoan who married Ginevra King. Buchanan and Mitchell were both Chicagoans with an interest in polo. Like Ginevra's father, whom Fitzgerald resented, Buchanan attended Yale.[10]
  • Jordan Baker—She is Daisy Buchanan's long-time friend, a professional golf player with a slightly shady reputation. Fitzgerald told Maxwell Perkins that her character was based on the golfer Edith Cummings, a friend of Ginevra King.[10]
  • George B. Wilson—a mechanic and owner of a garage located at the edge of the valley of ashes, the cuckolded husband of Myrtle and the one who determined Gatsby's fate.
  • Myrtle Wilson—George Wilson's wife and Tom Buchanan's mistress.

Minor characters

  • Meyer Wolfsheim—a Jewish man Gatsby describes as a gambler who had "fixed the World Series". Wolfsheim is a clear allusion to Arnold Rothstein, a New York crime kingpin who was notoriously blamed for the Black Sox Scandal which tainted the 1919 World Series.[11]
  • Catherine—Myrtle Wilson's sister
  • Chester and Lucille McKee—Myrtle's New York friends
  • "Owl-eyes"—a drunken party-goer whom Nick meets in Gatsby's library and is one of the very few people to attend Gatsby's funeral.
  • Ewing Klipspringer—a sponger who virtually lives at Gatsby's mansion
  • Pammy Buchanan—the Buchanans' three-year-old daughter
  • Henry C. Gatz—Gatsby's somewhat estranged father in North Dakota. He is one of the three people to show up at Gatsby's funeral.
  • Michaelis—George Wilson's neighbor
  • Dan Cody—an adventurer who was Gatsby's mentor as a youth.

Reception

The Great Gatsby received mostly positive reviews, but was not the commercial success of Fitzgerald's previous novels This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned. In essence, it failed compared to its predecessors. The book went through two printings. Years later, some of these copies were still unsold.[12] Many of Fitzgerald's literary friends, however, wrote him letters praising the novel.

When Fitzgerald died in 1940, he had been largely forgotten. He believed himself to be a failure. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Gatsby as evidence that he had great potential that he never reached.[13] But people began to read his book again, aided in part by the Armed Services Editions giving away around 150,000 copies of Gatsby to the American military in World War II.[14]

In 1951 Arthur Mizener published The Far Side of Paradise, the first biography of Fitzgerald, which sparked further interest in his life and writing, by scholars and the general public. By the 1960s the novel's reputation was established and it is frequently mentioned as one of the great American novels.

Film, television, theatrical and literary adaptations

Film and television

The Great Gatsby has been filmed four times:

  1. The Great Gatsby, in 1926 by Herbert Brenon – a silent movie of a stage adaptation, starring Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, and William Powell. It is a famous example of a lost film. Reviews suggest that it may have been the most faithful adaptation of the novel, but a trailer of the film at National Archives is all that is known to exist;[15]
  2. The Great Gatsby, in 1949 by Elliott Nugent – starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field, and Shelley Winters; for copyright reasons, this film is not readily available;[15]
  3. The Great Gatsby, in 1974, by Jack Clayton – the most famous screen version, starring Robert Redford in the title role with Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, with a script by Francis Ford Coppola;[15]
  4. The Great Gatsby, in 2000 by Robert Markowitz – a made-for-TV movie starring Toby Stephens, Paul Rudd and Mira Sorvino.

In the HBO television series Entourage, the character Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is hired by Martin Scorsese for a film adaptation of the book, where he plays Nick.[16]

The second season of the Showtime television series Californication, starting with its second episode The Great Ashby, is partly a modern take on the novel, with the characters Lew Ashby, Janie Jones and Hank Moody as modern versions of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway[17][18].

Opera

An operatic treatment of the novel was commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the debut of James Levine. The work, which is also called The Great Gatsby, premiered on December 20, 1999.

Books

  • Ernesto Quiñonez's Bodega Dreams adapted The Great Gatsby to Spanish Harlem
  • The Great Gatsby, a graphic novel adaptation by Australian cartoonist Nicki Greenberg
  • The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian imagines the later years of Daisy and Tom Buchanan's marriage as a social worker in 2007 investigates the possibility that a deceased elderly homeless person is Daisy's son.
  • The young adult novel Jake Reinvented by Gordon Korman is a modern version of The Great Gatsby in which the characters are high school students.

Radio

  • In October 2008, the BBC World Service commissioned and broadcast an abridged 10-part reading of the story, read from the view of Nick Carraway by Trevor White.[19]

Notes

  1. ^ Leader, Zachary, "Daisy packs her bags", London Review of Books, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v22/n18/lead01_.html 
  2. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 45
  3. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 53–54
  4. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 38–39
  5. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 54–56
  6. ^ a b c d Scribner, Charles III. "Celestial Eyes/ Scribner III Celestial Eyes—from Metamorphosis to Masterpiece". In Bruccoli 2000, p. 160–68. Originally published in 1991.
  7. ^ Tanner's introduction to the Penguin edition (2000), p. vii-viii.
  8. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 206–07
  9. ^ Bruccoli 2002, p. 215–17
  10. ^ a b c Bruccoli 2000, p. 9–11
  11. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 29
  12. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 175
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0924.html
  14. ^ Bruccoli 2000, p. 217
  15. ^ a b c Winston Dixon, Wheeler (2003), "The Three Film Versions of The Great Gatsby: A Vision Deferred" (), Literature Film Quarterly, http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3768/is_200301/ai_n9219407, retrieved 2008-03-11 
  16. ^ Entourage: Return to Queens Blvd." TV Fodder. Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://www.tvfodder.com/entourage/archives/2008/11/entourage_return_to_queens_blv.shtml>
  17. ^ 'Californication': Journey to the end of the night
  18. ^ 'Californication': Free Bird
  19. ^ BBC World Service programmes - The Great Gatsby

References

  • Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (ed.) (2000), F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: A Literary Reference, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, ISBN 0786709960 
  • Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (2002), Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (2nd rev. ed.), Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 1570034559 .
  • Curnutt, Kirk (ed.) (2004), A Historical Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195153022 
  • Mizener, Arthur (1951), The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt .
  • Prigozy, Ruth (ed.) (2002), The Cambridge Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521624479 

External links

Sources

Movies

Miscellaneous


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a short novel which takes place on Long Island during the Jazz Age and is commonly cited as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.

Contents

Chapter 1

  • In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
    "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had." Page 1
  • Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth.
    • Nick, on his upbringing and Morals
  • Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
  • All right...I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool — that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. Page 17
    • Daisy, on her newborn baby

Chapter 2

  • This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud which screens their obscure operations from your sight.
  • "I married him because I thought he was a gentleman," she said finally. "I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe."
    • Myrtle
  • I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild, strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.
  • People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.

Chapter 3

  • The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.
  • He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
    • About Gatsby
  • Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body. (57)
  • Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.

Chapter 4

  • On Sunday morning while church bells rang in the villages alongshore, the world and its mistress returned to Gatsby’s house and twinkled hilariously on his lawn.
  • He was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resourcefulness of movement that is so peculiarly American—that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games. This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness. He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand.
    • About Gatsby
  • Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.
  • It was dark now, and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more, but of this clean, hard, limited person, who dealt in universal scepticism, and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired."
    • On the love affairs of Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan, and Nick

Chapter 5

  • The exhilarating ripple of her voice was a wild tonic in the rain. I had to follow the sound of it for a moment, up and down, with my ear alone, before any words came through. A damp streak of hair lay like a dash of blue paint across her cheek, and her hand was wet with glistening drops as I took it to help her from the car.
    • About Daisy Buchanan
  • He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an over wound clock.
  • Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.
  • No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.

Chapter 6

  • The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.
  • He knew women early, and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.
  • But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.
  • "I wouldn’t ask too much of her," I ventured. "You can’t repeat the past."
    "Can’t repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
    He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.
    "I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before," he said, nodding determinedly. "She’ll see." Page 110
    • Nick and Gatsby, on Gatsby's relationship with Daisy
  • He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: “I never loved you.” After she had obliterated four years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken.
  • His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.

Chapter 7

  • That any one should care in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head made damp the pajama pocket over his heart!
  • It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.
  • "Her [Daisy] voice is full of money," he [Gatsby] said suddenly.
    That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it...high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl (120).
  • There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind, and as we drove away Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.
  • So we drove on toward death in the cooling twilight.
  • He put his hands in his coat pockets and turned back eagerly to his scrutiny of the house, as though my presence marred the sacredness of the vigil. So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight—watching over nothing.

Chapter 8

  • "They're a rotten crowd," I shouted across the lawn. "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."
    I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end. First he nodded politely, and then his face broke into that radiant and understanding smile, as if we’d been in ecstatic cahoots on that fact all the time.
    • Nick said this to Gatsby
  • I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.

Chapter 9

  • "The poor son-of-a-bitch."
  • I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, we're all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.
  • After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home.
  • I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
    • About Tom
  • Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
    And as I sat there, brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out Daisy's light at the end of his dock. He had come such a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
    Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning ——
    So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
    • Closing lines

External links

Wikipedia
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Simple English

The Great Gatsby  
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Charles Scribner's Sons
Make date April 10, 1925
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA & reissue ISBN 0-7432-7356-7 (2004 paperback edition)

The Great Gatsby is a book by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was first sold in 1925. The book takes place in New York City and Long Island in New York.

The Great Gatsby is one of the most popular books in the United States. The book was number two on the Modern Library Association's list of "100 Best Novels of the 20th Century." Time Magazine put the book in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.[1] A 1989 study found that 54% of high schools surveyed taught The Great Gatsby in their English classes.[2]

The story is told by Nick Carraway, a man who moves to Long Island, New York, from the Midwest. The area that they live in is called eggs, due to the oval shaped houses in the region. There are two 'eggs' West Egg and East Egg. The 'old rich' live in East Egg, while the 'New Rich' reside in West Egg. Nick lives in a small house in West Egg. Nick's next-door neighbor is Jay Gatsby. Jay is in love with Nick's cousin, Daisy. But, Daisy is married to a man named Tom. The novel is about Jay and his hope that he can steal Daisy from Tom.

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