Critical Commentary on Chapter One of ‘The Great Gatsby’ * Nick Carraway and his function as narrator of Gatsby’s story Nick as a first person narrator – ambivalent character – aspires to fit in and be the man of the people, yet is often seen as too desperate and has distorted opinions Nick as a paradoxical character – Mass of contradictions “unusually communicative in a reserve way” I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarely knew at all.
cannot rely on Nick Carraway – audience are caution –
Modernist technique – such a distancing stragety keeps readers on toes – fantastic enigma for Daisy-Gatsby relationship Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her an “irrevelant criticism” – dismissing herself – “Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window”. One point of view – Nick – cryptogramatic – Isolation – cannot form a relationship “I was conscious of wanting to look squarely at everyone, and yet to avoid all eyes” – cannot trust his perspective – notes his role as a narrator “rush out of the house, child in arms” – melodramatic – giving the story an imaginary aspect * The presentation of Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker
Daisy can be read in two ways – trapped in her own life, being able to love two man, yet both men treat her as possessions / or she simply retreats and cocoons into comfort when things get tough The floaty light description to describe Jordan and Daisy – They were both in white and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blow back in after a short flight around the house – Intangible and insubstantial – Room is superficial and light, just like their characterization.
Daisy’s first line “I’m p-paralysed with happiness” draws attention.
“As if she said something very witty” – she did not say something witty, simply hollow and pretentious wit” “as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absesnce of all desire” already have everything – never engage in a personal/emotional level. So self sufficient, yet connected with wealth – do not care about others – completely detached Daisy as an illusion – Daisy appears to be a romantic image – romantic affection, yet not substantiated, likened to AD – “her voice compelled me forward” Daisy and Tom’s relationship – pragmatic about each other – Marriage is money and the
American Dream – how romantic is the American Dream? – “I saw the turbulent emotions possed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative questions about her little girl. ” – Daisy is disturbed. – “that’s the best thing a gir can be in this world, a beautiful little fool – better to be brainless and pretty – life will be easier instead of painful.
Nick realizising Jordan Baker – cares about status – ambivalent perception – “Jordan Baker” contradictory – name after two cars – seeing arrogance in a positive or negative light – “a critica, unpleasant story, but what it was I had forgotten long ago” – chooses to forget – being selective in what he remembers – how true and valid is this story or his narrative Our “white” girlhood – our beautiful white – Southern aristocracy – white supremacy – mocking Tom – “Louisville” based on slavery and the policy of Apartheid Daisy: “flower-like”
The presentation of Tom Buchanan Buchanan – WASPs? – American aristocrats It was a body capable of enormous leverage – a cruel body” – anticipates “It belonged to Demaine, the oil man. – taking material riches from natural land resources “Civilation’s going to pieces” – context which Fitz disapproved amidst people like Tom – control of conversation – prejudice nonsense “It’s all scientic stuff; it’s been proved” – “Oh, science and art, and all that” – ]irony] lno detail, lack of understanding or culture – Broad perspective of the novel – instinctively oppresses people, such as he ran out of people to bully – Calling Jordan a “nice” girl – double standrads – running around with Myrtle – hypocrite – high social status – Myrtle can be disposable – “let her run around the country this way” Daisy is the same – he cares about his status – Women moving far more freely and granted far mor eopportures – her death more self-pity than mourning for her loss * Gatsby and the American Dream
Nick doesn’t completely stand against Gatsby, yet partly admires him – Admiration “an extraordinary gift for hope” and “a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person” – “Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures” – Gatsby as an empty figure, a series of gestures – “Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams” – Gatsby set himself apart from the other men and women. Later on, no one from ‘his parties’, which were simply to achieve Daisy’ turns up for his funeral. The partygoes are hypocrites and behave like children, whilst Gatsby at least possesses a sense of idealism. Final page of the first chapter – Gatsbt “stretched out his arms toward the dark water” – life described as a series of gestures * Fitzgerald’s use of place and setting Dukes of Buccleuch” – All men are equal – Aristocratic instead of egalitarian –
Parody of US class system – establish a new life, leaving the American dream Fitzgerald’s perception that US did not fulfill American Dream – Nobody appreciated what the Dream stood for – that idealistic dream for a better tomorrow has become a materialistic dream that is able to be bought “Bond business” – Nick’s venture into it, because it was like “everybody I knew” “when someone asked how to get to West egg village” – “A guide, a pathfinder, an original settler”: reference to the Founding Fathers Nick lived at “West Egg” – the “less fashionable of the two” – stuffy, bored out of their mind, out of the ‘in crowd’ The one on my right – ‘factual imitation’: cannot be both at once; looks real or not – Hotel de Ville I Normandy – European – Hotel is a transitory place – stage scene for Gatsby Post-war period – never settling down; Fitzgerald and Zelda did that too – “This was a permanent move” –
Myrtle as “some woman” – inferior – class differences Fitzgerald’s use of symbols (signs that have a real existence) and motifs (recurrent images) “Red and gold” – Materials – allusion to Duffy – Midas; materialism: as a curse – Morgan; bill Gates of the 20’s – “The crimson room glowed with light” – “A bright rosy-coloured space” – Daisy and Tom’s house Red colour scheme – full of blood, life – anthietes – differentiates wealth Valley of Ashes – pale, washed out – grey – Myrtle “four cocktails just in from the pantry” – He took down his drinks as if it were a drop in the bottom of a glass” Romantic idealism – Gatsby Daisy’s voice – kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again – metamotif – weariness of Daisy and what she stands for – “ther voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget” “Rose” – Gatsby later comments that the “grotesque thing a rose” Nightingale – romantic symbol Motif: “a single green light, minuate and far away” – American Dream, Daisy, Money, always there, yet far away – Gatsby trying to reach.
Cite this Presentation of Marriage
Presentation of Marriage. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/presentation-of-marriage/