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Gatsby's end

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Gregory Stanton *Contains spoilers*




What do you think about the scene where Gatsby is killed? Why does Fitzgerald have him killed? Did he deserve it? Why does Wilson kill himself? What do you think about Nick's imagined description of Gatsby's thoughts before his death?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

This is just my guess, but I think that Fitzgerald killed off his character because he was showing what people sometimes go through when they are in love. Gatsby basically ruined himself in the process of trying to get Daisy back.
Wilson more than likely killed himself because he couldn't live with his wife, and since he killed the person that he thought ran over her, he felt it fit to then kill himself.
These are just my guesses, but I don't really know. It could be because of something completely different.


Gregory Stanton Jenna! wrote: "This is just my guess, but I think that Fitzgerald killed off his character because he was showing what people sometimes go through when they are in love. Gatsby basically ruined himself in the pro..."

Interesting take. So do you think Gatsby should have died or no?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmmmm....no, I don't think he deserved to die, but I do think that since he died everyone got to move on. Like there wasn't anymore drama, and since he was the one that basically brought them all together, everyone got to go their own separate ways and find themselves.


Gregory Stanton Jenna! wrote: "Hmmmm....no, I don't think he deserved to die, but I do think that since he died everyone got to move on. Like there wasn't anymore drama, and since he was the one that basically brought them all t..."

That's a very optimistic outlook! While I don't think it was deserved, I do think that Fitzgerald made it inevitable. Just imagine the bigger message Fitzgerald is trying to say about themes like ambition or the American Dream.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Gregory wrote: "Jenna! wrote: "Hmmmm....no, I don't think he deserved to die, but I do think that since he died everyone got to move on. Like there wasn't anymore drama, and since he was the one that basically bro..."

Dude, I never even thought about that before!


Krista I don't think Gatsby deserved to die, but it wasn't a surprise... he put all his efforts into impressing Daisy, who was flaky and shallow. He built her up into something that eventually brought him down.


Gregory Stanton Krista wrote: "I don't think Gatsby deserved to die, but it wasn't a surprise... he put all his efforts into impressing Daisy, who was flaky and shallow. He built her up into something that eventually brought hi..."

I like it! It brings up an interesting question. How much of what happened is Daisy's fault? Why doesn't she come clean? Would it have mattered?


Song If it comes to that, how much of this was really Tom Buchannan's fault? Quite frankly I believe he was the one who set in motion the last two deaths (unwittingly, of course).

But, I don't think this was a story that was meant to point fingers at anybody. I believe it's a story about the disillusionment of the American Dream. Daisy represents Gatsby's 'American Dream', but when he is finally close to achieving 'her', Caraway says, you can see an uncertainty in Gatsby. His memory of Daisy had been exaggerated to such great proportions that she was bound to fall off the pedestal he had put her on. He still loved her though, hence the cover-up.

Perhaps, Gatsby's death was a rather pessimistic outlook on what disillusionment in the American Dream could bring. If I'm not wrong, even Wilson's wife was, on a slightly smaller scale, his own dream. Which is probably why he had to die too.


Gregory Stanton Risa wrote: "If it comes to that, how much of this was really Tom Buchannan's fault? Quite frankly I believe he was the one who set in motion the last two deaths (unwittingly, of course).

But, I don't think t..."


Great question! It's quite possible that Fitzgerald is saying we are all responsible in some way with what is happening to the American Dream. Do you think Fitzgerald see's the American Dream as good or bad?

Also, did Daisy fall off the pedestal? or did she jump off? Was he ever really close to achieving her?

You said that "Carraway notices uncertainty in Gatsby" where is that? Do you have a reference cause I'm having a hard time remembering.


message 11: by S.Z. (new) - rated it 1 star

S.Z. Berg Krista wrote: "I don't think Gatsby deserved to die, but it wasn't a surprise... he put all his efforts into impressing Daisy, who was flaky and shallow. He built her up into something that eventually brought hi..."

Krista -- What an interesting take on it. I will remember this next time I read it or see the movie. The story baffled me. I didn't see the greatness in the Great Gatsby, but perhaps that's what the author was trying to portray.


message 12: by Michael (last edited Jun 02, 2011 10:40PM) (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Gatsby had reached the climax of his life. He had fulfilled his purpose, accomplished what he'd set out to do. He died unaware, idly, in the pool, not striving and struggling as he'd done all his prior life. He was a self-made man, a man destined by his own will rather than by fate, and believed he had already achieved his personally chosen Destiny.

So his death wasn't a tragedy. Through his aspiration and fidelity to love, he had transcended them all. As Nick said, he was "worth the whole damn bunch."

Not a tragedy. A triumph. He alone had become worthy of the ideal in which he believed. After that, mundane events such as living or dying don't matter.

- Mike


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "Gatsby had reached the climax of his life. He had fulfilled his purpose, accomplished what he'd set out to do. He died unaware, idly, in the pool, not striving and struggling as he'd done all his..."

Wow. That's a really unique way of looking at it. But, I wonder, how does the paragraph directly before Gatsby is shot (pg 161) fit into such an interpretation?

"No telephone message arrived...I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come...he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream...shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is..."

Sure Nick does say that he felt Gatsby was "worth the whole damn bunch" but is that because of Gatsby's life or in spite of it? Do you really see Fitzgerald as applauding Gatsby by killing him?

For that matter what was that "ideal in which he believed" in your opinion?

Thanks for responding!


message 14: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Nick imagines Gatsby's thoughts. This lets us know Nick, not necessarily Gatsby. Still, Fitzgerald was probably guiding us to see Gatsby as a man disappointed, so I see your point. But he stopped short of forcing us to know Gatsby felt that way, so we're free to decide. But I do see your point.

Gatsby worth the whole damn bunch because of his life? No, I don't think so. In spite of it? I don't think so either. I believe it was because of Gatsby's capacity to believe in a pure ideal. Not because of his life, but because of his nature.

I think the ideal he believed in was a pure, uni-dimensional, fairytale-esque, beautiful, naive, impossible definition of love. His concept was so simple and pure it could not exist. He was childlike in that respect--he never lost his innocence. But by being impossible, his ideal was also in a sense perfect. And because he was able to devote himself to such a thing, despite how he had made his fortune he was still more pure than the world around him. Naivete is beauty in its own right.

Them's me thoughts! :)

- Mike


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "Nick imagines Gatsby's thoughts. This lets us know Nick, not necessarily Gatsby. Still, Fitzgerald was probably guiding us to see Gatsby as a man disappointed, so I see your point. But he stoppe..."

Cool. I like it. Fitzgerald certainly let us decide a lot about Gatsby, in an essay someone wrote about the Great Gatsby (I should have references, I know) Fitzgerald was recorded as saying that even he didn't clearly see who Gatsby was, that he seemed to slowly grow as he wrote the novel.

I think that's something that I really admire in the novel, just how obscure Gatsby really is...that we can almost shape him as we like, which, its easy to argue, that Nick did. I didn't see it as Fitzgerald showing us a man disappointed, it seemed that Gatsby at that moment, from Nick's POV, realized how futile it all was. That he realized that in fact he had no life at all because he gave up that life to chase a simple woman. To me it wasn't an ideal because then why did it have to be this girl? Why did he spend so much life developing this persona...throwing parties and hiding away in his home, allowing all kinds of rumors to go around about him, buying a home directly across from the Buchanans? An ideal is usually so potent because it never seems to take shape but to Gatsby it was in the form of a young, wealthy girl named Daisy. To use another quote: "No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."

I guess if we were to agree that Gatsby's "ideal" was the perfect love then we'd have to question the play of morals. We tend to try and view Nick as objective, despite evidence to the contrary but Gatsby's practices clearly come into scrutiny. Things like lying, taking advantage of others, indirectly trapping others in addiction (possibly), and whatever else one could imagine Gatsby doing...can we really look at these with a filtered eye? That is to say, that perfect love is enough to justify such actions?

I'm loving the conversation! You have great idea's Mike.


message 16: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis You know, I think it's been so long since I read it that I'm forgetting much of that detail. I also think I'm probably confusing the rich complexity of the book with the well done but much simpler way the Redford movie portrayed certain things. When that much time has passed (years and years), I just can't dredge up passages like you're doing, and I admit I'd forgotten they were even there.

So I stand corrected, and my impressions are probably leaving out many telltale clues to the contrary.

It's a phenomenal piece of work, as judged by the debates that never end.

- Mike


Rachel I think Fitzgerald killed off Gatsby simply because he was so obsessed and in love with Daisy, and realistically she was never going to leave Tom. Gatsby's actions and beliefs were so embedded in his love for Daisy that because she was never going to choose him over Tom, Fitzgerald had to kill him off in the end because Gatsby's whole character was based on this relationship with Daisy. When it is shown to the reader that this relationship is most likely not going to happen, Gatsby is then killed off because he effectively no longer has a life without Daisy. Although the events leading up to the end of the novel obviously have an impact on Gatsby's death, I think it's because of this impossibility of a romance between him and Daisy that he inevitably dies.

Although I don't believe Gatsby necessarily "deserved" to die, I think there is also an element of narrative punishment involved with his death. His almost unhealthy obsession with Daisy, and his inability to realise that she is not going to leave Tom and that, to be perfectly frank, she is not a very nice person are aspects that all contribute to this idea that Gatsby is being "punished" by the author for his love for Daisy because it is never going to work out.

This book is always going to be a favourite of mine. Glad to see others feel the same :)


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "You know, I think it's been so long since I read it that I'm forgetting much of that detail. I also think I'm probably confusing the rich complexity of the book with the well done but much simpler..."

I wasn't trying to correct you or anything, I was just giving my opinion on the idea. I've never really looked at the end as a positive for Gatsby, caused it seemed there was soo much positive in his character that was unable to affect him because he put it all to work to grasp what had long ago been lost to him. But I'm sure you could argue for the other side of it too, though I doubt Fitzgerald would agree.

I've yet to see any of the movies though I wanted to...


Gregory Stanton Rachel wrote: "His almost unhealthy obsession with Daisy, and his inability to realise that she is not going to leave Tom and that, to be perfectly frank, she is not a very nice person are aspects that all contribute to this idea that Gatsby is being "punished" by the author for his love for Daisy because it is never going to work out. "

How really could Gatsby have realized that Daisy would never leave Tom until what happened did, it seems that before his untimely end, Gatsby did realize that Daisy was ultimately not his to have. I think the paragraph I quoted in message 13 lends itself to that.

I also think it quite odd to think of an author punishing his own character, especially Fitzgerald in this book. The character of Gatsby is a kind of a reflection of Fitzgerald himself. He goes, almost out of his way, to expose the good and courageous Gatsby while minimizing the probable bad deeds Gatsby did to achieve his level of wealth. Remember, how after his death, his father visits and (Fitzgerald seems to speak in his voice) talks about how really good he had been in life, that he had a really great future ahead of him, if only he hadn't been sprung on this girl.


message 20: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Yes , I do recall his Dad's observations. I think Fitzgerald was aware (as he came to know Gatsby, as Gatsby evolved and came alive in the manuscript) of the many different interpretations possible. He knew he was bequeathing to us an enigmatic character...and of course that's what we love--that's what so deliciously haunts us.

As we all know, film productions have their own constraints (not the least of which is cost per minute), so films rarely can present every alternate angle like a novel can. That's not a reason to avoid them, it's just a difference. The film of this story was done really well, was haunting in its own right, and should not be avoided for fear of watering down the story. My opinion.

Often a film, despite being unable to treat every angle, does still "get it right." Some notable examples: Harry Potter films, the Tolkien trilogy films, Six (make that three for the film!) Days of the Condor, Dances With Wolves, the some-day film of my own novel ARCHANGEL (irrationally hopeful and yet still gratuitously shameless plug here, assume an added smiley), and many others! And some so thoroughly hack the potential of the original work as to be completely different beasts by the time they're done! I won't even try to list any of those. Back on topic, "The Great Gatsby" was well done IMO.

- Mike


Rachel That's exactly what I meant though. Gatsby seems to come to the conclusion that the chances of Daisy choosing him over Tom are becoming more and more slim as the novel progresses, which is why he is perhaps killed off and metaphorically "punished" because he can't really let go of her, even though she will never leave Tom.

And narrative punishment is a technique used by many authors, although it isn't necessarily something an author will admit to doing. It's more an interpretation of the reader's, and when you're analysing any kind of writing (although what the author intended is often important), it is ultimately down to the reader's interpretation, and yes, this means there are multiple interpretations. Therefore, it is impossible to say that narrative punishment is completely out of the question. This was just something I came up with after looking through this discussion. I'm not saying it's the only answer, I'm just saying it's an interesting take on why Gatsby is killed off.


Gregory Stanton Rachel wrote: "And narrative punishment is a technique used by many authors, although it isn't necessarily something an author will admit to doing."

Really interesting. I never heard of that before. Thanks for joining in.


message 23: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Yes, fascinating Rachel.

Myself, I do nothing to my characters. Their own choices make all the events inevitable.

And I personally think the timing of Gatsby's fate was inevitable. Fitzgerald could not have averted it if he'd tried.

- Mike


Meghan Gregory wrote: "*Contains spoilers*




What do you think about the scene where Gatsby is killed? Why does Fitzgerald have him killed? Did he deserve it? Why does Wilson kill himself? What do you think about ..."


Personally, I cried when Gatsby died. Gatsby is this symbol of optimism and dreams that one just doesn't find anymore. I think his character was more of a symbol for a larger theme in society: that hopeless romantic, transcendentalist view. Fitzgerald had him killed to show that in our soceity holding onto dreams and having our heads in the clouds doesn't get us anywhere, but dead. Gatsby definately didn't deserve it though. Wilson killed himself because he was guilty because of killing Gatsby.


Rachel Meghan wrote: "Gregory wrote: "*Contains spoilers*




What do you think about the scene where Gatsby is killed? Why does Fitzgerald have him killed? Did he deserve it? Why does Wilson kill himself? What do ..."


I agree, Meghan. You definitely make an interesting point re Gatsby's romantic views, as they clash with the society that he lives in and in the end are just not possible in reality. This sort of relates to what I was saying about Gatsby being metaphorically "punished" by his death - because he held such a romantic dream that just would never eventuate. Therefore, he couldn't continue this dream and was inevitable killed. His death was definitely a very sad moment for me too.


message 26: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Meghan wrote: "Fitzgerald had him killed to show that in our soceity holding onto dreams and having our heads in the clouds doesn't get us anywhere, but dead."

Do you think so? I don't feel that was Fitzgerald's message. I felt his message was that hopeless romanticism was "worth the whole damn bunch" of anti-romantics.

Again, I personally don't think Fitzgerald killed off Gatsby. I think he couldn't stop it from happening, and mourned him after.

- Mike


Gregory Stanton Meghan wrote: "Fitzgerald had him killed to show that in our soceity holding onto dreams and having our heads in the clouds doesn't get us anywhere, but dead."

I'm trying to better understand this...Are you saying that Fitzgerald is telling us to give up on dreams and to dream small so they are easier to reach?

Interestingly, when I read that Gatsby died I thought "Yep". If you just read the few pages that lead up to his death it seems that every thing is slowing down, Gatsby deciding to get into the pool helps us understand that he's basically given up his fight and while in the pool he begins to realize that he has been fighting, practically, for nothing. He realized that all his life's work has got him this, an afternoon, alone, in a pool, in the sun...nothing of worth to show. What life did he have to continue?


Rachel I don't think that Fitzgerald was necessarily saying that everyone should give up on their romantic dreams, but more that the society we live in and the social situations that arise often don't allow us to achieve these dreams or to be with the people we want. I don't think he was saying it is bad to feel love for someone or to be a hopeless romantic; he was maybe just suggesting that Gatsby's love for Daisy wasn't possible in reality due to the incidents that occurred and the social web that the characters were all inextricably caught up in. That's what I understood Meghan as saying anyway.


Gregory Stanton Rachel wrote: "he was maybe just suggesting that Gatsby's love for Daisy wasn't possible in reality due to the incidents that occurred and the social web that the characters were all inextricably caught up in."

Ok, so do you think Fitzgerald was telling us that we should just know when our dreams won't come true? Did he expect Gatsby to see that while he once had Daisy that he could never have her again? What do you think about Fitzgerald's relationship to Zelda, if you've read about it?


message 30: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis If Gatsby looked at his long-held dream and then at the realizing of it and was disappointed, maybe Fitzgerald was disappointed too. In fact he couldn't help but have been. Odds are good that that disappointment was something Fitzgerald may have tasted in his own life (how else could he have understood it?).

Of course I continue to (choose to) think of the writer as someone not powerful enough to steer things--someone almost more akin to a journalist or stenographer than to an omnipotent creator of a world and people and events. The subconscious does all that, of course, but Fitzgerald the conscious man still seems to me like someone almost as much along for the ride as the rest of us. He had some say, but not all. But again, seeing it that way is admittedly a choice.

- Mike


message 31: by Gregory (last edited Jun 06, 2011 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gregory Stanton When I get a chance I think I'm going to post some info about Fitzgerald and Zelda...I'm currently doing a paper on the subject so why not?

L8z :-)


message 32: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Gregory wrote: "When I get a chance I think I'm going to post some info about Fitzgerald and Zelda...."

Great! That would be interesting Greg.

- Mike


Meghan Rachel wrote: "I don't think that Fitzgerald was necessarily saying that everyone should give up on their romantic dreams, but more that the society we live in and the social situations that arise often don't all..."

I in no way disagree with hopeless romanticism at all. I am a proclaimed Hopeless Romantic and I felt that was a reason I took Gatsby's death so hard. Rachel, that is definately what I was saying! Society doesn't let one be a hopeless romantic not that we shouldn't be hopeless romantics.


Meghan Gregory wrote: "Ok, so do you think Fitzgerald was telling us that we should just know when our dreams won't come true? Did he expect Gatsby to see that while he once had Daisy that he could never have her again? What do you think about Fitzgerald's relationship to Zelda, if you've read about it?

I don't think F. Scott was trying to discourage us from dreaming. On the contrary, I believe he was trying to demonstrate the beauty of dreams. At the same time though, he seemed to caution us to not let our dreams get too far like Gatsby did. I may be giving Fitzgerald too much credit, but to me the theme is clear.


message 35: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis > I believe he was trying to demonstrate the beauty of dreams.

I agree with that. Gatsby was idolized in the story, both despite his fate and through his fate. He may have been disappointed, but he never had time for that to reduce him to a character hardened to romantic ideals. The worst that happened was that he tasted the flip side of being a idealist. He did not turn into a different creature. So he became timeless--eternally captured in the idealist's personna.

I think Fitzgerald revered romanticism. To a large extent I think Fitzgerald and Nick Carroway are probably one and the same person.

- Mike


message 36: by Gregory (last edited Jun 06, 2011 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "I think Fitzgerald revered romanticism. To a large extent I think Fitzgerald and Nick Carroway are probably one and the same person.
"


Really! That's surprising. So, implicitly, you are saying you believe that Nick revered romanticism?

I feel like I should quote Nick again "No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."

What do you think is the "foul dust" Nice refers to?

To me, the whole book is about that foul dust. That's why Gatsby, in the end, had to die.


message 37: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis I still think Fitzgerald (as Nick) revered romanticism:

"Gatsby turned out all right at the end"

He had no beef with who and what Gatsby was; he denounced the foul dust, not the romanticism. Do you think he was championing the foul dust and casting doubt on who and what Gatsby was?

- Mike


message 38: by Rachel (last edited Jun 06, 2011 08:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rachel Gregory wrote: "Rachel wrote: "he was maybe just suggesting that Gatsby's love for Daisy wasn't possible in reality due to the incidents that occurred and the social web that the characters were all inextricably c..."

I don't know all that much about Fitzgerald's personal life, but have read up a bit on his relationship with Zelda and can definitely see similarities to his own life and that of Gatsby's. You'd obviously know a lot more than me about it seeing as you're writing a paper on it, which must be a very interesting topic.

Again, I agree with what Meghan was saying about "the beauty of dreams" and their importance, but also the power to realise when these dreams are not going to come true. Fitzgerald shows us this by highlighting the passionate love Gatsby has for Daisy, and the beauty of this, but also the destruction of his dream to be with her when it's obviously just not going to happen. I think this is one of the reasons readers are able to take away so much from the novel, as Fitzgerald seems to be suggesting that it's wonderful to be in love and to have dreams, but that often these dreams clash with reality and we have to accept that.

It's also important to realise that as the reader, we don't lose respect for Gatsby for failing to realise his dreams won't come true because he is the tragic hero of the story. Even though he is seemingly wealthy and well-connected socially, in the end he is only human, and the reader can understand and respect that.


message 39: by Gregory (last edited Jun 06, 2011 09:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "I still think Fitzgerald (as Nick) revered romanticism:

"Gatsby turned out all right at the end"

He had no beef with who and what Gatsby was; he denounced the foul dust, not the romanticism. Do ..."


Definitely not championing the foul dust. But I definitely think that the dust is the focus. On the surface we see a love story, but I think that underneath the pretty devotion that Gatsby has is where the real story lies. While it is about love, it is also about America and the American Dream. About the catastrophe that occurs when someone fits their "larger than life" dreams into a tiny compartment, one shaped like a woman.

"Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees-he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder...He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God."

Gatsby's dreams go from the realm of the gods to the realm of the quickly perishing, by doing so he sentenced himself to much more than a let down, but to a near and certain fate. He basically gave up immortality for an unknown and unworthy prize. Tragedy at its finest.

Nick knows this, in his heart, and almost says something to Gatsby..."Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something--an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago. For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man's, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air. But they made no sound, and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever."

Grim stuff.


message 40: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis Discussion is always fantastic of course, but I almost feel this one is coming around to the same stretches it had navigated a turn or two before. At least, I have little more to offer it than what I've tossed in already. I won't be able to cite passages to keep it fed, and I'll also not be able to see Fitzgerald consciously planning Gatsby's death or mocking his eternal belief in virtue.

There's no wrong interpretation here...I don't think...so I may just go back to lurking. Thanks for the romp!

- Mike


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "Discussion is always fantastic of course, but I almost feel this one is coming around to the same stretches it had navigated a turn or two before. At least, I have little more to offer it than wha..."

Thanks for stoppin' by!


message 42: by Rebecca (last edited Jun 07, 2011 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rebecca It's probably already been said, since I merely scanned the other responses, but for me Gatsby was the personification of the American Dream, a dream that Fitgerald challenged and ultimately killed, yet lives on through Nick Carraway's narrative.

Just my thoughts :)


message 43: by Gregory (last edited Jun 07, 2011 07:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gregory Stanton I found this great quote of Fitzgerald in an critical essay on Fitzgerald's life:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence,” F. Scott Fitzgerald remarked in the late 1930’s, “is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”


message 44: by Gregory (last edited Jun 07, 2011 07:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gregory Stanton Speaking of quotes what is your opinion of this:

"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."

Do you see Gatsby's death as having relation to his creation having been so early in life?


message 45: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Vorhis “The test of a first-rate intelligence...two opposing ideas...retain the ability to function....”

So...if I hold a cold beer in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other, all the while successfully steering a canoe through a Class-5 rapid using only butt pressure against the thwart, I'm a genius?

Funny, because when I made it through my buddies called me an idiot. Wait till I tell them!

- Mike


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "“The test of a first-rate intelligence...two opposing ideas...retain the ability to function....”

So...if I hold a cold beer in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other, all the while successfu..."


Well maybe you are a genius and an idiot!


Michael Becky wrote: "It's probably already been said, since I merely scanned the other responses, but for me Gatsby was the personification of the American Dream, a dream that Fitgerald challenged and ultimately killed..."

If I can enter here.... Becky, how do you fit into that notion of Gatsby the reality that he is a crook and a thug? Is that a functioning part of the American Dream -- or some kind of perversion of it?


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "If I can enter here.... Becky, how do you fit into that notion of Gatsby the reality that he is a crook and a thug? Is that a functioning part of the American Dream -- or some kind of perversion of it? "

I'd say it quite debatable whether Gatsby was a crook and or a thug. Why is that your position? What caused this opinion? And, then, do you think Gatsby deserved what he got?


Michael Fitzgerald makes it clear what Gatsby is about. He came back from the war, started working with that crook Wolfsheim, who had fixed the 1919 World Series, and Nick wonders if Gatsby had been in on that. Then Gatsby and Wolfsheim were selling grain alcohol during Prohibition. He apparently also runs a bookie operation ("could have you up on the betting laws, too"). And, after Gatsby dies, there is the phone call when Nick picks up, and a guy thinking he's talking to Gatsby talks excitedly about a securities fraud deal (stolen bonds, at the least) that may have gone sour. Gatsby's Roaring '20s wealth is clearly all from crooked activities. At one point, Nick describes him, when angry, as looking "as if he had 'killed a man'."

So there seemed little doubt to me about his nature. Did Gatsby get what he deserved? In a way; anyone who plays in such crooked ways, well over the line, puts himself in jeopardy because so many of the other people in that world have no compunctions. In this case, though, I think Fitzgerald was also making the point about the carelessness that wealth creates. Their messy lives, producing such a conflict between Daisy, Tom, and Gatsby, left Daisy in such a careless, reckless state of mind that she killed Mrs. Wilson in the car accident. Whether there could have been any intent in that is one of the book's interesting ambiguities.

Whether Nick still holds his once-high opinion of Gatsby at the very end seems doubtful, to me. But even Nick is a sad case, in his way. He dates the golf cheat, Jordan Baker. The first time I read the book, as a kid, I thought of Nick as the moral center of this world. But he was no more moral than any of the others, it reads to me now. He was as drawn to the riches and the glamour and the recklessness. But perhaps, when he goes back to his midwestern home, there is a chance that he learned something from it all.


Gregory Stanton Michael wrote: "Fitzgerald makes it clear what Gatsby is about. He came back from the war, started working with that crook Wolfsheim, who had fixed the 1919 World Series, and Nick wonders if Gatsby had been in on..."

You seem to completely trust Tom's estimation of who Gatsby is without thinking him quite biased (as he is) there are really no certain facts, just a lot of speculation. Who said that Gatsby sold alcohol? Who said he was a bookie, or running such an operation? If you do in fact believe Nick to have questionable morals why do you not question his "facts" about Gatsby? Do you think him completely objective? Why do you not question Tom's "facts" about Gatsby?

I would think it very difficult to argue that Nick did not have a good view of Gatsby at the end (seeing as the whole story is told as being about the past) The very intro attests to Nick's still admiration of who Gatsby was even after his untimely death. How would you interpret the very 3 paragraphs...
"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world....ceaselessly into the past."


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The Great Gatsby (other topics)
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