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The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great Gatsby | Discussion Questions 31 - 40


In Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby, what most saddens and enrages Nick Carraway when so few people show any concern about Jay Gatsby's death?

Nick Carraway's personal struggle with life in the East was due in great part to the shallow and superficial nature of the relationships around him. Jay Gatsby's death forces that struggle to the foreground for Nick, making it impossible for him to put off choosing between accepting that lifestyle and rejecting it outright. The desperation with which he tries to get word out about Gatsby's death—and secure people to attend the memorial service—seems as much about finding resolution for his own life as finding closure for Gatsby's. It is especially saddening and offensive to Nick that so many people took advantage of Gatsby in life, yet are unable or unwilling to stand up for him in a moment of need. With Nick's strong feelings about honesty, this is particularly unfathomable and, in the end, the lack of true connection between people is part of the force that will drive him home to the Midwest.

In Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby, what effect does the arrival of Jay Gatsby's father, Henry Gatz, have on Nick Carraway?

Henry Gatz's presence makes a deep impression on Nick. In one sense, Gatz being in Gatsby's house in West Egg closes the gap between the boy James Gatz and the man Jay Gatsby; his presence makes Gatsby real, builds a foundation under Gatsby's aspirations, helps Nick understand if not empathize with Gatsby, and perhaps most of all, somehow separates Gatsby from the rest of the East Egg and West Egg elite. For Nick personally, Henry Gatz, in his earnestness and pride for his son, reminds Nick of his Midwest roots, and seems to bring the story full circle to where it began with his father's advice about not criticizing others. "Remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had," Nick recalls his father saying. Gatsby may be more in need of that kindness than anyone else Nick has met in coming East. That realization, brought about by Gatz's arrival, may have been hugely instrumental in his decision to return to the Midwest.

Thinking about the book The Great Gatsby, who is the narrator, and what is the point of view used in the book?

In The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald uses a first-person point of view as narrated by Nick Carraway, the Midwestern transplant to the East where the story takes place.

As the story opens in The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway has returned to the Midwest from what life-changing event?

In the opening pages of The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway relates that after graduating from New Haven he had gone off to serve in World War I. He has just come back from service when the story begins. Finding himself restless back home in the Midwest, he moves East.

In Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby, what incident interrupts the Buchanans, their house guest Jordan Baker, and Nick Carraway at dinner?

During dinner Tom Buchanan is called away by his butler to take a phone call. When Daisy follows him into the house and a muffled discussion ensues within, Jordan Baker informs Nick that Tom "has a woman" in New York. The "woman," we will learn, is Myrtle Wilson.

In Chapter 1 of The Great Gatsby, what does Nick Carraway spot while standing in his yard at night that foreshadows action that will be pivotal to the novel's plot?

As Chapter 1 comes to a close, Nick Carraway is sitting alone in his yard for a moment before turning in for the evening. As he watches a cat cross the lawn, he sees a man (who he presumes is Jay Gatsby) standing just feet away from him. Before he is able to call out and introduce himself, Nick sees Gatsby turn toward the dark water of the sound, stretch out his arms, and reach for a single green light, which Nick surmises might be posted at the end of a distant dock. Readers learn that the green light is the end of Daisy's dock, and symbolizes yearning and desire; for Gatsby in particular, the yearning and desire for Daisy.

In Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, how does Nick Carraway describe a billboard with symbolic significance that he sees in the valley of ashes?

In Chapter 2 Nick describes for readers the billboard for Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, an eye doctor whose advertisement looms over the valley of ashes within view of Wilson's garage. Described as a billboard featuring two enormous eyes peeking through a pair of equally huge yellow spectacles, the sign is worn and somewhat neglected. The board, perched as it is above the valley, has a certain watchman-like presence that later becomes layered with religious overtones.

In Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, how do Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan happen to be together in the valley of ashes one afternoon?

Nick and Tom are on their way to New York one afternoon when Tom insists that they jump off at the valley of ashes—a desolate area between West Egg and New York. Tom says he wants Nick to meet his girl, who, Nick discovers, is not a "New York woman" as Jordan Baker had told him in Chapter 1, but, rather Myrtle Wilson of Wilson's garage in the valley of ashes.

When Myrtle Wilson leaves to join Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway in Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, where does she tell her husband, George, that she is going?

In what seems to be a regular course of action, Myrtle tells George that she is going to visit her sister Catherine in New York. She then takes the train into New York, riding in a train car separate from that of Tom and Nick. When they arrive, she meets up with them outside the train station in the city.

In Chapter 2 of The Great Gatsby, how does Nick Carraway and Myrtle Wilson's sister Catherine's brief conversation about Jay Gatsby carry the action and foreshadow what is ahead?

In the course of Nick and Catherine's short discussion, she mentions Gatsby and says she heard that he is the nephew—or cousin—of Kaiser Wilhelm and that this connection explains how he amassed his fortune. This conversation manages to accomplish a few things: (1) It reminds the reader of Jay Gatsby's presence in this book, which has been fleeting up to this point. This conversation loops him back into readers' minds. (2) It reminds readers again how little is known of him and continues to hint at the corrupt source of his wealth. (3) The suggestion that Gatsby's money came from a corrupt source foreshadows some of the darkness that surrounds Gatsby and his past and will become more important as the story progresses.

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