9 January 2013

My journal for THE GREAT GATSBY

  • We moved to Jazz age.  In this age, there were people who love parties, hanging out and smoking all the time.  I have not imagined this kind of life until watching the video about this age in the lesson.  Our guest writer was Fitzgerald with his novel of The Great Gatsby.  In the first chapter, I met Nick and his life a bit.  I think Fitzgerald wanted us to think Nick was a reliable person.  He came from a good and wealthy family, he was in the war, he graduated from Yale and he wanted to work in Eastern to have a career.  All these things put a person in a good quality, so we can trust this person.  Unlike Holden in The Catcher in the Rye, Nick told us events that he did not witness.  For example, the conversation between Wilson and Michaelis was not witnessed by Nick.  Nick said in chapter 8, on page 171, “… a car stopping outside.  It was one of the watchers of the night before who had promised to come back…”  Therefore, this was a bit strange and how can he know this in detail?  Moreover, at the beginning of the novel, Nick said “In consequence I’m inclined to reserve all judgments…”  However, throughout the novel, Nick made judgments about people and he was affected by his feelings while judging them.  To illustrate, Nick said for Myrtle in chapter 2, on page 28 that “… the thickish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door .”  Maybe, she was not so fat.  When we considered that Daisy was Nick’s cousin, I could say that he might be affected because Myrtle was Daisy’s husband’s mistress.  Although Nick seemed reliable, he was not.

  •             While reading the novel, I could not decide whether the following events were a symbol of homosexuality or not.  These refer to the end of the chapter 2.  Nick said he just remembered this “I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear…”  Moreover, these refer to the definition of Gatsby’s smile.  Nick said in chapter 3, “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.”  These showed the homosexuality.  However, when I looked at these from another perspective, these had another meaning.  In those times, people gave importance to money and they started to act fake like fake smiles, fake conversations etc…  Because of this fake world, Gatsby’s smile could seem to Nick as a real and natural one.  Therefore, he could be affected from this .

  •             In chapter 4, there was a huge list with people, who were invited to the party.  I thought these names could have a meaning.  If they had not had, there would not have been such a long list of names.  Beaver is an animal.  I suspected from this surname.  Then, I looked at other surnames’ meanings from the dictionary.  Becker is a European fish, Leech is a kind of parasite, and Blackbuck is an Indian antelope.  These all surnames are the names of the animals.  This guest list told us something, which was uncovered in the novel.  When all guests came to the party, they were drinking and eating too much, they were hanging out with other partners despite having already one partner.  They were out of humanity.  They acted more like animals.  Fitzgerald chose these surnames and these surnames gave the novel a mystery.  Maybe, my thoughts about surnames can be a bit nonsense, but I believe this had some meaning .

  •             One of the symbols in the novel was T.J. Eckleburg.  The valley of ashes was mostly in the tone of grey with the exception of Eckleburg’s blue eyes.  These colors can be considered as some feelings there.  For example, blue reminds us positive feelings like trustworthy.  When I think of the blue of oceans or sky, it gives me comfort.  His eyes were smaller than his body, so I can understand that there was so little trustworthy there.  However, when I think of gray in psychology meaning, it is between black and white.  Its meaning can be authority or conservative area.  All things in the valley of ashes were gray and this means there were some hiding truths like cheating the husband and escaping from being the murderer of Myrtle etc…  However, this gray covered this truth.  Therefore, this was not emerged by Wilson.

  •             I think Gatsby has the feeling of loneliness in the crowd and he isolated himself from his environment.  However, there was one character that was the loneliest in the novel, according to me.  This was Nick.  At the end of chapter 1, Nick said the last sentence as “Then I was lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station…”  At the end of chapter 5, Nick said, “Then I went out of the room and the marble steps into the rain, leaving them there together.”  Most of the chapters ended with Nick’s loneliness.  He indicated this for each chapter.

  • I have not seen a character like Tom.  He was so selfish that he wanted all women for just himself.  He treated them as objects.  When he needed Myrtle, he called her to come to the train station.  When he got angry to her, he hit her.  To talk about Daisy, both Gatsby and Tom considered her as an object.  Gatsby believed when he was wealthy, he would obtain Daisy.  He did not even think of her life.  Tom did not want to be alone, so he kept Daisy in his pocket.  However, this was also the choice of Daisy.  She said about her daughter in the first chapter, “… I hope she’ll be a fool- that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”  She knew that Tom was cheating on her.  She did not go away because Tom gave her his prosperity.  Therefore, she wanted her daughter to be like herself who chose prosperity.

  •  When I finished the book, I sympathized with Gatsby.  He wanted to get Daisy and he set out to get her.  He did illegal things, but his desire and passion was so strong that he did not even think of what these illegal things can cause.  Tom was in good condition because his prosperity came from his powerful family.  Gatsby tried to get this wealth alone.

  •  In the lesson, we said that Gatsby followed American Dream.  There were dark sides of dreams.  In real life, sometimes I do something I want, but it does not give the feeling, which supposed to be.  Gatsby gained a wealthy life, but he was still unhappy.  He thought when Daisy saw him with this wealth; she would come with him immediately.  According to me, Gatsby’s first fault was he showed himself as if he was rich.  The other fault was his desire to change.  He wanted to put himself into something, which did not reflect Gatsby himself.  For example, he had a large library.  I do not know if he read or not.  He wanted to show himself as sophisticated.  Therefore, besides American dream, this novel can be related to the identity.  The answers of how we can see ourselves (like Nick sees himself honest or Gatsby sees himself wealthy and equal to Tom) and how environment can affect us could be found in the novel after reading it .

  •  I finished the book and I started to think what did Gatsby “the great”.  I found an answer.  He was rich and gave parties.  He had a car and a luxury house.  Society knew Gatsby with his parties and his wealth.  This “the great” was seen by the society.  Actually, he was not great.  He committed crimes and he was poor without illegal things.  The novel’s title was a bit paradoxical when I thought in this way .

  •  During the discussions in the class, I found something about curtains.  Nick told about curtains in so detail that he said in chapter 1 “The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though…”  I thought it could be a message.  Curtains were moving, so something or someone can move on their lives.  However, others, like couch, cannot move.  Like Gatsby and Myrtle, even they wanted to change their fate, it did not work.  They died like unborn child.

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