Type: Creative Essays
Sample donated: Rachel Lynch
Last updated: June 14, 2019
Tony Gonzalez 1-23-18Dialectical Journal Ch.
1 Pg.6″Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope. I am still afraid of missing something if I forget that as a father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth.” Nick’s statement refers to tolerance of conduct. Upon reading this quote “fundamental decencies” will have some people thinking of money, it did mean money but it was referring to Nick’s younger self. The true meaning of it came sentences later, where “fundamental decencies” means “conduct” between others. We all believe the rich have the upper hand against us but Nick is here to say that it is certainly not the case.Ch.
1Pg.10″Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France, for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together…I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game” Gatsby may or may not be low class, but Nick still manages to see something good in him anyways.
Maybe he has the “natural decencies” that other members of high society doesn’t. Except we think this might be a little like the, “but I have a lot of ____ Friends” excuse to make someone not sound racist.Ch.1Pg.14″I lived at West Egg, the–well, the least fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard…my own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires all for eighty dollars a month.”It may be a small house, but at least Nick gets to live near millionaires.
the same logic that makes people buy designer sunglasses, you may not be able to afford but you still get to have a little reflected glamour.Ch.1Pg.5″The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day.”Nick punctures the illusion that his family comes from nobility but instead, he makes himself into another kind of nobility a family that actually has achieved the American Dream of wealth and respectability through hard work.Ch.2Pg.
“You see, cried Catherine triumphantly. She lowered her voice again. “It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart.
She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.” Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.” It’s an elaborate lie, but it probably never even occurred to Tom to tell the truth. He seems to hold one standard for people like Gatsby, and another for himself. Ch.
2Pg.”The fact that he had one a mistress was insisted upon wherever he was known. His acquaintances resented the fact that he turned up in popular restaurants with her and, leaving her at a table, sauntered about, chatting with whomever he knew.”Tom is just the worst. It’s one thing to have a mistress it’s quite another to embarrass your love and friends by rubbing that mistress in their face. Ch.2Pg. “About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land.
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.”West Egg is next to New York. It’s not tight, in fact the things that happen in the city end up having to effect the back of West Egg. Transportation seemed to decrease isolation throughout the 19 century.
Ch.2Pg.””You see,” cried Catherine triumphantly.
She lowered her voice again. “It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.” Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elaborateness of the lie.
“It’s an elaborate lie, but it probably never even occurred to Tom to tell the truth. He seems to hold 1 standard for people like Gatsby, and another for himself. Ch.3Pg.”There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights.
In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and he champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motor-boats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.”But what we’re really into is that Nick actually sees the people who end up cleaning up the dirty stuff. Nick has to clean up after Daisy and Tom.Ch.3Pg.
“Jordan’s gray, sun-strained eyes stared straight ahead, but she had deliberately shifted our relations, and for a moment I thought I loved her. But I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires, and I knew that first I had to get myself definitely out of that tangle back home. I’d been writing letters once a week and signing them: “Love, Nick,” and all I could think of was how, when that certain girl played tennis, a faint mustache of perspiration appeared on her upper lip.
Nevertheless there was a vague understanding that had to be tactfully broken off before I was free.”Nick takes things pretty seriously he won’t even flirt before breaking things off with his lady in Chicago. Ch.
3Pg.”Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.”A thrill passed over all of us. The three Mr. Mumbles bent forward and listened eagerly.”I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille skeptical; “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.”One of the men nodded in confirmation.”I heard that from a man who knew all about him, grew up with him in Germany,” he assured us positively.
“Oh, no,” said the first girl, “it couldn’t be that, because he was in the American army during the war.” As our credulity switched back to her she leaned forward with enthusiasm. “You look at him sometimes when he thinks nobody’s looking at him. I’ll bet he killed a man.”The funny thing about this exchange is that Gatsby does not spend too much time dodging elaborate lies. Yeah he takes it , but not in the same way that Tom does.
You get the sense that it doesn’t really matter if anyone believes him.Ch.3Pg.”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.” Although Nick is trying to persuade us to believe that he is an trusting man, what he says becomes important throughout the book. Nick claims that he is honest and that is not to judge. But as the book goes on we see Nick judge other characters with an attitude.
The statement Nick made really had an negative effect on his image and really had an opposite effect than he was trying to accomplish. Ch.4Pg.”Here, dearest’.
” She groped around in a waste basket she had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls. “Take ’em down-stairs and give ’em back to whoever they belong to. Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mind. Say: ‘Daisy’s change’ her mine!” Daisy knows that the fabulously expensive string of pearls that Tom gave her is about to become a chain. When she’s drunk, she wants to change her mind and marry the man she truly loves.Ch.
4Pg.”The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World’s Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain.
It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people – with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.”Meyer Wolfsheim solved an enormous crime that Nick thinks is like “a burglar .” But the burglar gets caught and Wolfsheim uses his money and the underworld connections to stay clean. Ch.4Pg. “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.”Gatsby is one version of a restless young nation striving to make itself better. The problem is, America as Nick sees it isn’t like that anymore. It’s gone down, like George Wilson or it’s rich and careless, like Tom.Ch.
4Pg.”Well, about six weeks ago, she heard the name Gatsby for the first time in years. It was when I asked you – do you remember? – if you knew Gatsby in West Egg. After you had gone home she came into my room and woke me up, and said: “What Gatsby?” and when I described him – I was half asleep – she said in the strangest voice that it must be the man she used to know. It wasn’t until then that I connected this Gatsby with the officer in her white car.”This “strangest voice” tips us off that Gatsby is more like than some dude Daisy used to flirt with. She had some real feelings for him and those feelings of the past are about to burst into the present.Ch.
5Pg. 89″But there was a change in that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new weir being radiated from him and filled the little room.” As Nick Carraway is attempting to get the attention of Gatsby and Daisy while they are working their love affair, he notices a huge change in Gatsby’s emotions. This quote produces a different mood as Nick explains that “a new weir is being radiated from Gatsby and fills the little room”, he also explains to us that at this point in the novel makes for great happiness, for both Daisy and Gatsby. This quote also displays foreshadowing. As Nick tells the amazing chemistry between the 2, it makes us question if Daisy will break up with her husband Tom Buchanan, to be with her long lost love,Gatsby.
Ch.5Pg.92″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 overwound clock.”While Gatsby is touring Nick and Daisy through his home, they make it to his bedroom and Nick describes Gatsby.
This quote mentions the production of a attitude. Gatsby was shy of his deeply rooted love for Daisy, but he was also happy and filled with joy. He had wanted this for so long and he couldn’t help but think about the time he lost, which leads to the next piece of significance. Mr.Gatsby was compared to an overwound clock, which refers to time. Gatsby strongly refused to accept the time that had passed. He was desperate to reverse the past events in order to keep his relationship with Daisy to be as good as it was five years ago.
This displays imagery because the clock directly correlates with the idea of passing time. Ch.5Pg.”As I went over to say good-by I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way.
No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”Gatsby’s vision of Daisy is way better than the actual Daisy. Maybe because of this one particular saying Daisy ends up with Tom so she knows she won’t ever live up to who she was for him. Ch.5Pg.”If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby.
“You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.” Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.
“When Gatsby and Daisy finally get together, the dream went directly away. Does this mean that the American Dream has to stay forever a dream, That it loses its meaning if we actually achieve it or that, once we achieve it, we find out that it wasn’t so great to begin with?Ch.6Pg.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.
One of them was that, after she was free, they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house—just as if it were five years ago.”Gatsby actually wants Daisy to erase the past. Everyone has to live with the consequences of their past, whether they want it or not.Ch.6Pg.”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.”In Chapter 6, when Nick finally mentions Gatsby’s early history, he uses this comparison. Renan describes a Jesus who is “faithful to his self-created dream but scornful of the factual truth that finally crushes him and his dream” a brief description of Gatsby.
Gatsby becomes himself into the ideal that he envisioned for himself as a youngster and remains committed to that ideal, despite the things in his way that society presents to his dream.Ch.7Pg. 130″She never loved you, do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me.
It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me!” This quote illustrates that it is important to Gatsby to believe that Daisy never loved Tom because Gatsby needs self assistance that Daisy only wanted Tom for his mula. I believe this because Gatsby can always get money. However, if Daisy likes Tom for who he is then Gatsby can’t change that, and he can never make her stop.
Ch.7Pg.113 “… as obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over” At the beginning of chapter seven, as Nick explains why Gatsby has ceased to throw his infamous weekend parties. It shows Gatsby’s rise from his humble beginnings in North Dakota to his position of power and wealth and it foreshadows Gatsby’s power that takes place throughout chapter seven. Ch.7Pg.
124″… there was no such difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the poor”On their way to New York City, Nick, Jordan, and Tom stop at Wilson’s gas station and find that Wilson is gravely sick. Wilson has discovered that his wife, Myrtle has been having an affair, and “the shock has made him physically sick.” Nick reflects that despite their differences in class and power, Tom and Wilson are in the same place. Nick has a powerful revelation at his point in the novel, as it becomes apparent to him that Tom and Wilson are effectively equal in that both of their wives have been cheating on them, and that the only true difference between them is that one is sick and the other is not.
Ch.7Pg.130″She never loved you, do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me!”Gatsby says this to Tom during their argument over who Daisy really loves, he says that Daisy only married Tom for his money.
This is relevant as it changes the plot while the powerful rivalry between the two men and the significance of money is the problem. It also mentions our understanding of Gatsby and his frustration. He believed he had Daisy’s love, but lost her because of his poverty. Now he has money but has still lost her to Tom.Ch.
8Pg.”I don’t think she ever loved him.” Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. “You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her those things in a way that frightened her – that made it look as if I was some kind of cheap sharper. And the result was she hardly knew what she was saying.”Gatsby actually rewrites the past to make it look like his. This is why we dislike, it basically says the equivalent of saying that “no” means “yes.
” In fact, for Daisy, no really does mean no.Ch.8Pg.”Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men, and drowsing asleep at dawn with the beads and chiffon of an evening dress tangled among dying orchids on the floor beside her bed. And all the time something within her was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately – and the decision must be made by some force – of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality – that was close at hand.”You get the feeling that Fitzgerald thinks that women are not able to make up their minds, and so they have someone to do it for them. In that way, The Great Gatsby is really about the fight between Gatsby and Tom.
Ch.8Pg.”Usually her voice came over the wire as something fresh and cool, as if a divot from a green golf-links had come sailing in at the office window, but this morning it seemed harsh and dry.”Talk about dissatisfied. Jordan is the queen of discontent, but now she seems really put out. Plus, without Gatsby, who’s going to throw the parties.Ch.8Pg.
” It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete.”Notice that Nick calls this a “holocaust.” We’re two decades before the World War II and the holocaust, so that’s not a point here, but the word still means mass destruction. We think that something metaphoric is being damaged here in a way of life? Ch.9Pg.”That’s my Middle West – not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow.
I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name.”This is one of the couple of times we see anything in The Great Gatsby Nick dismissing the “wheat” and “prairies”. He’s dismissing are partly the basis of American wealth. All that money they spend on the East Coast has to come from somewhere.Ch.9Pg.
“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”Nick may understand Tom, but he’s not happy about it, he’s dissatisfied with the way Tom and Daisy are handling this tragedy, and it’s enough to say to send him scurrying back West in search of something else to be dissatisfied about.Ch.9Pg.
“Next morning I sent the butler to New York with a letter to Wolfsheim, which asked for information and urged him to come out on the next train. That request seemed superfluous when I wrote it. I was sure he’d start when he saw the newspapers, just as I was sure a there’d be a wire from Daisy before noon—but neither a wire nor Mr. Wolfsheim arrived; no one arrived except more police and photographers and newspaper men. When the butler brought back Wolfsheim’s answer I began to have a feeling of defiance, of scornful solidarity between Gatsby and me against them all.”After Gatsby’s death, Nick realizes just how alone Gatsby is. What’s weird is he begins to identify with Gatsby, as though they’re suddenly buds. We get Gatsby would have appreciated that.
Ch.9Pg. “Most of those reports were a nightmare – grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and untrue. When Michaelis’s testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson’s suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade – but Catherine, who might have said anything, didn’t say a word.
She showed a surprising amount of character about it too – looked at the coroner with determined eyes under that corrected brow of hers, and swore that her sister had never seen Gatsby, that her sister was completely happy with her husband, that her sister had been into no mischief whatever. She convinced herself of it, and cried into her handkerchief, as if the very suggestion was more than she could endure. So Wilson was reduced to a man “deranged by grief,” in order that the case might remain in its simplest form.
And it rested there.”