The Analysis Gatsby

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Published on February 4, 2008

Author: Berta

Source: authorstream.com

Deconstruction:  Deconstruction The Great Gatsby The Dominant Reading:  The Dominant Reading In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald is tackling the inner emptiness and the loss of values he perceives in the society around him The Valley of Ashes, a strange setting created by the author, lies between the glamorous houses of Long Island and New York city- an image symbolic of The Waste Land – an expression of 20th century angst dealing with the frightful bloodbath of WW1 and the pervasive sense of loss of faith in God and the nobility of the human spirit This inner emptiness or despair is seen by Fitzgerald to be traceable to the headlong pursuit of money/hedonism /lack of ideals or lack of commitment The inner emptiness Tom and Daisy, and to some extent Nick:  The inner emptiness Tom and Daisy, and to some extent Nick Materialism saps the soul Restlessness and boredom An inner malaise Emptiness of the soul Without purpose or hope “ grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in men shaken” This Side of Paradise Gatsby and the inner emptiness? :  Gatsby and the inner emptiness? Gatsby escapes this to some extent because, despite his corruption, he is not portrayed as an empty or wasted character Gatsby is saved by his impossible and fatal dream How may a person find happiness – love, money? Gatsby’s love is deluded, but after austere scrutiny, we can deduce that his love salvages him from the emptiness What else is touched on here ? – the lack of God, the lack of ideals, the lack of hope Abuse of Wealth and Power:  Abuse of Wealth and Power . The core message:  The core message “Fitzgerald lay bare the pathology of that generation which Gertrude Stein called – lost- His theme was the Big Money and he showed, not with malice but compassion, what money did to his generation- how its standards conditioned life, dictated habits, condemned to futility, and led, in the end, to the ‘crack up’ he himself experienced. He is the chronicler of the Beautiful and especially of the Damned, of all the sad young men, of the golden bowl of riches that was so fatally flawed”. H.S.Commager – The American Mind 1950 The impact of the novel:  The impact of the novel Satisfies our need to remember our infinite capacities Satisfies our needs to confirm our stubborn faith in the ideals of courage and honour and love and responsibility For Gatsby, idealism is necessary for life, without it, life would be extinction With it, life is at least a journey of hope- whatever else happens, we must make the journey ( Barry Gross- Our Gatsby, Our Nick – Centennial Review, 1970) The Dream and Reality:  The Dream and Reality The Discourse of Gatsby is the withering of the American dream – it embodies a criticism of the American Experience – it deals with the boundary between illusion and reality The eternal tension between reality and illusion is at the heart of the novel- Gatsby personifies the pursuit of a great dream carried obsessively to the point of illusion- yet he has something admirable and grand about him and it flows directly from his heroic dream The Dream and the Reality:  The Dream and the Reality It is the ending which confronts us with the impossibility of the Dream – Gatsby has been abandoned by everyone except for Nick and his father –the abandonment speaks volumes about the callous and predatory world in which they live; it is a reminder of the moral vacuum of Gatsby’s world Nick appreciates the inner beauty of Gatsby – with a disinterested affection, pity and compassion - Nick understands that what Gatsby was after, was the dream – the promise of wealth and happiness which is at the heart of their sense of mission of life. He understands that Gatsby like others sought the Dream externally – that achieving the dream in wealth, property and a magnificent lifestyle is impossible. He begins to understand that inner qualities are all that can give that sort of satisfaction. Gatsby v. Buchanan:  Gatsby v. Buchanan Gatsby Tom and Daisy Heroic figure Idealistic Perfect model of a man Aspiration to achieve Purity of intention Innocence Self interested Hedonistic Selfish and careless Amoral or immoral Shabby/limited indifferent Nick: voice of Reason Decency Honest Recognises the need for ideals Pity sympathy Who and Why- to whom/ to what can these phrases refer ?:  Who and Why- to whom/ to what can these phrases refer ? A life of cynicism Cheap hedonism Wasteland Numb emptiness Passion and hope Voice of reason and moderation The radiance of the great dream Embracing the complexity of real life Rich tapestry of life Remains in death, as in life, an outsider Antidote to boredom Responding to the times….:  Responding to the times…. We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom Remember us—if at all—not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. T. S. Eliot 1925 Preparing for the essay (1):  Preparing for the essay (1) What is the dominant discourse of the novel? What is the invited reading/ dominant reading of the novel? What are the techniques used to construct the dominant discourse of the novel – you must be able to discuss character positioning techniques in detail ? How is the dominant reading created? Preparing for the essay (2):  Preparing for the essay (2) The dominant discourses are exemplified through the characterisation constructs of the author The characterisation is created through the use of…( discuss each character and the techniques used to position us ; link each character to the discourse…..) The dominant reading sums up author criticism of his society and the the intent of the discourses as presented through the storyline and the characterisation Preparing for the essay (3):  Preparing for the essay (3) Positioning techniques such as privileging and binary opposition Emotive language Description Symbolism Foregrounding Characterisation Interweaving of discourses Social comment through……. silences Binary Opposition:  Binary Opposition The technique of contrast so that the opposing of one against the other is privileged by the strengths of one highlighting the weaknesses of the other Often a technique of characterisation to foreground the qualities of character x as opposed to character y Can be used symbolically- remember the second of the contrast need not be physically present Binary Opposition:  Binary Opposition This is one of the main techniques used by Fitzgerald to position his readers- Consider the many variants of binary opposition used in the novel: Tom and Gatsby Daisy and Gatsby The past and the present The wealthy and the middle class The Wasteland and the Eggs The dream and the reality Romantic idealism and empty Hedonism The inner and the outer world The promise of the Dream and the reality of the Dream Putting it together:  Putting it together The characters of Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby are used by Fitzgerald to position the dominant discourse in the eyes of the readers The techniques of binary opposition and silencing create the dominant reading of the novel, The Great Gatsby then The question:  The question Deconstruct the question and the prompts – what are you asked to do? Identify the genre of the response Brainstorm Outline the plan of attack The structure:  The structure Each developmental paragraph must cover: Technique Positioning intended Character analysis Social criticism if relevant Link to the core topic Quotes annotated correctly( page ref.) Intro/Conclusion:  Intro/Conclusion Refer to core topic, techniques(Intro) Provide a direction( intro) Provide a summative and insightful statement( concl) Use a quote ( concl)

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