The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby discussion


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For Christian parents only, please

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message 1: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary I'm not a member of this site until today.

My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English class in the spring. I haven't read or his father hasn't either. My son was home schooled through 8th grade, and we very much appreciate the private Christian school he is attending. But I've looked at things here and it doesn't seem suitable to me.

As his parents, we can choose an alternate, which is called Main Street, which I haven't read, either, but if anyone grounded in Scripture would be kind enough to reply, it would be a blessing.


Monty J Heying Mary wrote: "I'm not a member of this site until today.

My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English class in the ..."


I'm not sure what your question is, but adult material is regularly covered here. For example, in this book a homoerotic scene appears at the end of Chapter II, often referred to as the "McKee Scene." I would have reservations about my under-age children reading that passage or discussions about it without discussing it with them.

I suggest carefully reading Goodreads' Terms of Use.


message 3: by Karen (last edited Nov 24, 2015 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen Mary wrote: "I'm not a member of this site until today.

My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English class in the ..."


Mary, let me first say that I am not grounded in scripture, but I have knowledge of the book and it is one of my favorites. The homoerotic scene is based on opinion, so if I were you I would read this book or the scene ahead of time to form your own opinion on whether it is homoerotic or not. I do not think it is, I've read the book three times-but of course you should decide for yourself. Good luck, I do believe however that 14 and 15 year old students will only appreciate this book fully if they have a great teacher!


Gary You won't find anything in Gatsby that can't be found in the Bible.

In fact....


Monty J Heying Gary wrote: "You won't find anything in Gatsby that can't be found in the Bible.

In fact...."


True, in fact, there's a great deal worse in the Bible.


Christine Mary, I think I know what you are asking and I also know a good deal of Scripture. First of all, I can see why, as a parent, you are concerned.

The novel contains: extra-marital affairs, domestic violence, illegal activities and excessive alcohol consumption. (There is implied homo-eroticism, but believe me, you son NOT pick up on this. No high-schooler ever does. It takes a lot of reading between the lines, and there is a constant 'scholarly debate' as to whether homo-eroticism is even actually intended.)

Please note -- every activity I just named can also be found in the Bible.

You say your son is attending a 'private Christian school' and this school has chosen the novel. I'd ask, if the Christian school chose it, how bad can it be?

I, also, attended a private, Christian, all girls high school and read The Great Gatsby at age 15. It didn't ruin me :)

You could disallow your son to read the book, and therefore attempt to hide him from many things he will inevitably see in society as he grows up. (That is if he lives in America and owns a computer or i-phone.)

OR -- you could allow him to read the book and assume his upbringing has taught him the values you are trying to instill in him, and he is therefore intelligent enough to shun the elements in the novel which would be considered 'sinful'. Also, in allowing him to read the book you will assume he is strong minded and discerning enough to not take direction from a novel. In other words -- just because your boy reads The Great Gatsby does NOT mean he will go out and become a wife beater, a cheating husband, a criminal or an excessive drinker.

From an academic standpoint, if your child reads the book, he will be better prepared for his ACT and SAT English tests. The plot structure, use of metaphor, study of theme and motif, vocabulary, ties to American history, and call to deductive reasoning are important and worthwhile. These are extremely valuable for his higher order thinking and language skills. The Great Gatsby is in the canon of great American novels and therefore generally assumed as prerequisite reading for further studies in American literature.

I cannot tell you what your decision should be, but those are the facts as I see them. Luckily, if the novel will not be used until Spring, you have plenty of time to read it yourself and decide. (It is a very short book, less that 180 pages.)

Kudos to you for being a concerned parent! :)


message 7: by Monty J (last edited Nov 25, 2015 04:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Monty J wrote: "My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English ..."

The McKee scene is controversial, but there are enough people who see it as clearly homoerotic that it is bound to be discussed, whether in the classroom, lunchroom, schoolbus, playground or wherever.

If you want the full analysis, go to my article here:https://www.wattpad.com/story/1885462...

My Wattpad article on Nick's homosexual implications has received 20,000 hits in one year from all over the world. My earlier version on Academia.edu has over 5,000 hits and is in the top .5% of all articles published there on any subject. So there's a high level of interest, which I expect will grow as gay rights improve worldwide.


Karen Christine wrote: "Mary, I think I know what you are asking and I also know a good deal of Scripture. First of all, I can see why, as a parent, you are concerned.

The novel contains: extra-marital affairs, domestic..."


Good response Christine!


message 9: by Paul Martin (last edited Nov 25, 2015 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul Martin In danger of flogging a dead horse: How can you have qualms about your son reading a book with a single ambiguous gay reference (if I can even call it that), but have no problem with the bible? No offence, but the latter is a sex-crazed, extremely graphic and disturbing piece of work compared to TGG.


message 10: by Monty J (last edited Nov 25, 2015 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Keri wrote: "...I don't recall the homoerotic scene at all. So if it's there, it must not be that obvious for someone who isn't looking for it."

Correct. The reference is very subtle, as would be expected in a mainstream novel during a time when references to homosexuality were a violation of obscenity laws.

But read the scene and decide for yourself. It is not even 1/4 page.

Jay Gatsby loses (view spoiler) the love of his life because of his corruption, the "foul dust that floated in the wake of his dream." The Great Gatsby would be ideal reading for a fundamentalist Christian, because: a) blasphemy is rare, b) the story's central theme is moral, the dire consequences of Gatsby's corruption, and c) Nick's homosexuality is hard to detect and shown in a negative light as an element of corruption, clouding Nick's judgment of Gatsby. (Bear in mind that, being a former Baptist and now Episcopalian, I do not share the view expressed by Fitzgerald in this regard, but I understand his reasoning and feel that it reflects the social mores of his time, contributing to the novel's realism.)

Gatsby is a very important book because it puts the American Dream on trial and convicts it of corruption, a premise that is more relevant today than ever. The soul of our country is at stake.

In my view, no novel speaks to the heart and soul of America better than The Great Gatsby; so to exclude it from any American's education would be a travesty.


message 11: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary Keri, and everyone else, thank you very much. Keri, we could read and pray over Romans 14 for a very long time and never reach the fullness of it, it's such a blessing to us in the world.

It's been very informative, this website, and Keri, yes, that's our intention to discuss this with the other members of our church family. This site was mentioned to me and it has been very helpful. Of course, we will read both books and make a considered decision. (Keri, just saying that bring us round again to Romans, doesn't it?)

Thank you all for your time.


Monty J Heying Paul Martin wrote: "No offence, but latter is a sex-crazed, extremely graphic and disturbing piece of work compared to TGG."

I agree completely.


message 13: by Petergiaquinta (last edited Nov 25, 2015 09:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Petergiaquinta Paul Martin wrote: "but have no problem with the bible? No offence, but the latter is a sex-crazed, extremely graphic and disturbing piece of work compared to TGG. "

Paul (you've got the perfect name for this discussion), one possible reason for what you ask is that the Bible is an awfully big book with lots of pesky words and one's reading of it (even in the most fundamentalist sects of Christianity that still promote close reading of the scriptures in our post-literate world) is pretty selective in our churches. What gets read and and taught and memorized in Sunday school leaves out any of the sections you are talking about. What gets preached from the pulpit works around most of the prurient, disturbing content. Catholics, for the most part, don't read the Bible at all, and most of them would be rather surprised to find out what's in the Bible. And what passes for feel-good evangelical mega-church Christianity these days in America claims to be Bible-based, but isn't really interested in reading anything in the Bible that would make them too introspective, so they leave out all that disturbing content as well. And what gets covered gets a pretty shiny gloss. Sadly, what passes for mainstream Christianity in America these days is closely aligned with the forces of capitalism and conservative politics. Jonathan Edwards would not approve...nor Jesus himself, if I might be allowed a teensy bit of blasphemy here.

I'd also like to think that we ungodly folk can still give some good advice about books!


Karen Petergiaquinta wrote;
"I'd also like to think that we ungodly folk can still give some good advice about books! "

Yes we can!!


Karen Paul Martin wrote: "In danger of flogging a dead horse: How can you have qualms about your son reading a book with a single ambiguous gay reference (if I can even call it that), but have no problem with the bible? No ..."

Good points Paul


Christine Karen wrote: "Good response Christine!..."

Thanks Karen! Just my two cents :)


Christine Monty J wrote: " it is bound to be discussed, whether in the classroom, lunchroom, schoolbus, playground or wherever. ..."

Ah, if only high school kids would take such interest in American literature. (sigh) That would be an English teacher's DREAM :)


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I think this lady will do the right thing. She wasn't a GR person, she said, and that her own reading was limited. I liked that she twigged to Romans 14, which most christians (I'm not one, not that it's anyone's concern) would prefer didn't exist.

I look at the bible as a repository of pre, mmm, well, of myth, pre-science, pre-psychology, just full of humanity. Like all religions that are based on taking responsibility off of humans and, oh, projecting responsibility for good and evil acts outward from individual humans and blaming good and evil spiritual beings for human's actions, people act more nakedly in the bible, because good comes from god and bad from the devil, and the poor human is merely possessed by one or the other, not necessarily of her own volition.

True, most people don't read the bible. Onan, for instance (think "onanism") is universally preached as a lecture against masturbation, when actually it's about property and inheritance rights. Even the way the bible is misread and/or ignored is psychologically interesting.

And, of course, as Christine mentioned about school, the more poorly educated people are, the more intimidated they are by the written word, and thus the more easily led about by the nose by anyone who claims to be "educated."

I like somebody who likes Romans 14. I think Mary and her kid will be okay. Hey, she asked, which is more than a lot of people do.


Paul Martin @Peter,

I suppose you are right. I guess I am just hopelessly out of touch with Christian practices.


Petergiaquinta You say that like it's a bad thing...


message 21: by Marian (last edited Nov 26, 2015 11:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marian Hi Mary - I speak from experience when I say that there is a broad range of what Christian conservatives consider to be appropriate reading, since every family has (understandably) its own standards. I would definitely second the other commenter who suggested reading it first (it is very short) so that you know what's coming and can use it to create valuable discussion time.

Indeed, there is plenty of objectionable content in the book - the main ones I noticed were adultery, racism, and general selfish behavior on the part of the main characters. That said, I don't think Fitzgerald was trying to glorify it, which is key. Rather, though I felt some sympathy for the character of Gatsby, I was left more convinced of the tragedy of his bad choices. Also, it gave me a more balanced view of the roaring 20s...the "good old days" weren't so good entirely, it seems.

I will just add that the new movie (2013) is much more risque than the book, so though I found the book worthwhile, the movie one can pass without loss.


message 22: by Monty J (last edited Nov 27, 2015 04:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Marian wrote: " I was left more convinced of the tragedy of his bad choices."

This, to me, other than Fitzgerald's atristry, is the great value of the book. The "Great" in the title is irony. Gatsby could have been great had he not ruined his life, and his dream, by being corrupt.

And Gatsby echoes Fitzgerald, who wasted his talent on riotous living during his younger years. Hemingway himself lamented that Fitzgerald didn't realized how good he was and was wasting his talent money-grubbing with short stories instead of writing novels.

I would like to see, and I may even do it myself, a screen rendering--perhaps a stage version too--of The Great Gatsby that emphasizes t the moral failures and lessons in the book, which I feel is truer to Fitzgerald's intentions that any of the films that have been produced.

Fitzgerald said that all of the reviewers, even the most favorable, didn't have the faintest idea what the book was about. They all missed the point. I suspect this is true even to this day, and am striving to prove it, to the extent possible, given the author is deceased.

America is in desperate need of the kind of story about the 1% that this novel tells. It is a story of tragically squandered ambition, hope and possibility, which is what has been happening in America.


message 23: by Karen (last edited Nov 27, 2015 07:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen Monty wrote;
"Fitzgerald said that all of the reviewers, even the most favorable, didn't have the faintest idea what the book was about. They all missed the point. I suspect this is true even to this day, and am striving to prove it."

Prove what? You can't, you're not the author of the book- unless you find something Fitzgerald wrote telling, in his words, what the novel is about. Good luck with that. Let me know, I'd love to read it.


Karen Paul Martin wrote: "@Peter,

I suppose you are right. I guess I am just hopelessly out of touch with Christian practices."


Me too


Geoffrey Monty, you need to walk back from the usage of the word, ¨prove¨


message 26: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Mary wrote: "I'm not a member of this site until today.

My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English class in the ..."


If you're that concerned about a book, that your child's Christian school chose for him to read, why consult with a public chat forum instead of reading the book yourself and making your own judgment call based on your personal beliefs? If you don't trust the opinion of your child's Christian school than none of these posts should bare much weight either... I wouldn't think.


message 27: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary Jordan wrote: "Mary wrote: "I'm not a member of this site until today.

My son is 14 and will be 15 in the spring. His curriculum has just been released, and the Great Gatsby is one of the books for his English ..."


Well, Jordan, thank you, of course, as I said, we'll do all these things. I didn't anticipate causing such a furor here, it was just one more source for me. I read one person's comments which have since been "edited" that spoke about a "poor kid." I'm sorry to run into this, but it happens all the times.

There are non-prejudiced, liberal Christians in the world, who work for universal human rights on all fronts, all fronts, and who aren't shocked by what apparently some people think we should be shocked by. I'd like to think we are some of those. I trust my son utterly, as I do myself and my husband. Someone mentioned this site to me. I didn't realize it would be quite so condemning without any real knowledge or so argumentative. I have no interest in raising my son in a bubble. I want him out in the world, being who he wants to be.

I'm not shocked by anything I've read here, I'm just disappointed. But that's what the world is like. I know now that this site is not for open discussion, and I won't use it any longer. Too many assumptions. I thought there might be other "left-wing Christians" here, as my husband likes to call us, but I guess not.


message 28: by Monty J (last edited Nov 29, 2015 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Monty, you need to walk back from the usage of the word, ¨prove¨"

I will qualify my comment with "to the extent possible, given the author is deceased."

I think The Great Gatsby occupies a unique position in American literature, to wit: a)Fitzgerald essentially threw down the gauntlet, practically daring anyone to solve the riddle of The Great Gatsby.

It is human nature to see what we look for or are conditioned to see. It's not that we're wrong, we're just blind to part of reality because of reliance on habitual thought patterns.

I have shown two glaring examples where a prominent academic literary thought leader invented things that don't exist within the covers of The Great Gatsby: a) that Gatsby's parties were "solely" to attract Daisy and b) that his love for Daisy is what drove Gatsby to become wealthy. And there's more evidence of similar distortion by Professor Bloom and other literary critics and analysis. When it's all added up, a story of social decay unfolds, rather than a celebration of the American Dream.

There are two basic types of reasoning, inductive and deductive. I'm taking more of a deductive approach than Bloom, who clearly was heavily influenced by Fitzgerald's biography, which is inductive.

Art (actually, all of reality) is experienced on two basic levels: emotionally and rationally. Once we've read the book one way, it becomes so anchored within our emotional memory that it can be extremely difficult to read it differently. I'm just providing some guideposts, straight from the book, that make that transition easier. A pathway of rational logic.

I've never done anything like this before. It's quite an adventure.


Petergiaquinta No "furor" here, Mary; this is just another extension of an ongoing discussion of Gatsby that has been evolving and mutating and crossing threads over the past five years or more. If you want to see "furor," check out the hundreds and hundreds of posts at "Is Nick Carroway gay?"!

But discussion threads are not places for the faint of heart. You need a thick skin to engage in the realm of ideas with others online. You need an open mind, a good sense of humor, a profound sense of irony, especially self-irony, and a willingness to engage with points of view quite different from your own. You don't need to accept or agree with everything you encounter, but neither should you take quick offense at ideas that contradict or question your own.

The back and forth you call "furor" is how we engage with others here to hopefully arrive at knowledge and understanding of a complex text. And it's fun.


message 30: by Monty J (last edited Nov 27, 2015 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Mary wrote: " I know now that this site is not for open discussion,"


Too bad you feel that way. I feel it's just the opposite. WIDE open.

We can't expect people not to fight for what they're emotions are invested in. Slings and arrows are the price of free discourse, if it's truly free.

Holding back has its own price--to be unheard.


Paul Martin Mary wrote: I have no interest in raising my son in a bubble. I want him out in the world, being who he wants to be.

Then reading TGG will be the least of his problems.

If we have the same definition of "world", that is.


Karen Mary I think you are doing your son a favor by wanting him out in the world, and I agree with Paul.


message 33: by Philippa (new)

Philippa Me and one of my brothers (I'm one of four) read the entire bible as Children and more than once I may add. We were the kids who won scripture trophies.

My Grandparents were ministers and my parents took us to church every Sunday and Tuesday and Thursday evenings for youth activities.

My point being we were brought up in the faith.

However our parents allowed us to read what ever book we wanted (as long as it was not to challenging for us). We picked our own reading material (except for the book we had to read for school) from the moment we could pick up a book. We were bright kids and our parents read to us every night until we turned 11 or so. They interacted with us and talked about what we were reading.

We are all well rounded people and just like our parents intended for us have wide open minds. We care for people and get frustrated when we see injustice. All four of us are good honest people.

I know plenty of people who were not allowed to read certain books or listen to certain music, watch certain films. A lot of them went way overboard once they left the nest jumping right over so many lines because freedom. Other had social issues from lack of topics to discuss with their peers. I'm not saying this will happen to your son just pointing out some of the things I have noticed.

Your son will read the books eventually, it's human nature to want to read something someone says you can't. So decide if you want him to read it under your roof and talk to you and his classmates in a controlled environment or on his own? (this goes for all media).

Also TGG is pretty tame compared to some of the other stuff a 14 to 15 year old can gets his hands on to read.

Good luck with your Lad, I'm sure he is a mature young man who can see a work of fiction for what it is.


notyourfriend I'm not a parent, but I'm a Christian that goes to public school and I had to read this book when I was 16 (I'm 17 now). So I read the book for school a few months ago technically, and I have no idea what any of you are talking about by a "homoerotic scene". I mean, the book definitely shows you how you shouldn't live. I kinda hated it because I thought the characters were annoying and ruining their lives. There was adultery, partying, lots of lying, etc. I think a good part that can be taken out of it is how everything ended up. It showed how If you're not rooted in God, you'll easily get sucked into a life full of chaos which ultimately led to tragedy. Could it all have been avoided? Absolutely, and I think that's the point. The reason why all the bad stuff in the book may seem like it's being glorified is because you also have to keep in mind the timeline. This was the Roaring Twenties. The book kept it realistic. So, I don't know about that homoerotic thing because I didn't see it at all actually.

To Mary: I don't think you should substitute this book for your son. I get that he's young and this stuff isn't a good example, but like I said, he'll see that And it'll be fine. You can't keep him in a bubble. You have to know wrong in order to see the difference between right and wrong.


message 35: by Monty J (last edited Dec 01, 2015 07:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "So, I don't know about that homoerotic thing because I didn't see it at all actually."

It's at the end of Chapter II. Very subtle. Nick goes down in the elevator with McKee and stays from about midnight to 3AM or so. McKee is in his underwear between the sheets, showing Nick a large portfolio, ostensibly of his photos. In order to view the portfolio, Nick would have to be either sitting next to him or kneeling close by. One doesn't have to take off one's clothes and get in bed to show photos. I have analyzed it in detail here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/1885462...


notyourfriend Monty J wrote: "Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "So, I don't know about that homoerotic thing because I didn't see it at all actually."

It's at the end of Chapter II. Very subtle. Nick goes down ..."


O.o Who is McKee? I don't remember that at all.


Paul Martin Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "It showed how If you're not rooted in God, you'll easily get sucked into a life full of chaos which ultimately led to tragedy"

Such an important lesson, that.


message 38: by Monty J (last edited Dec 01, 2015 08:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "O.o Who is McKee? I don't remember that at all."

The McKees were at the party in Myrtle's apartment. They lived one floor below Myrtle. He's the photographer upon whom's neck Nick noticed a speck of shaving lather when they met. Later, when they'd all been drinking heavily and McKee was snoozing on the couch, Nick wipes off McKee's speck of shaving cream, a gesture of intimacy foreshadowing what is to come. Then, in the confusion when Tom breaks Myrtle's nose, McKee "awakes in a daze from his doze," grabs his hat from the chandelier and heads for the door, with Nick right behind.

"...I don't remember that at all."
Neither did I at first, until someone called attention to the scene. Then it was clear as a bell.

Homosexuality was a crime when this novel was published, and to avoid an obscenity trial and having the book banned, Nick's bisexuality had to be revealed very carefully, in subtext, as Hemingway did the subject of abortion in "Hills Like White Elephants," published around the same time.

James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence had books banned because of sexual content. Fitzgerald was flaunting his art in the face of propriety in a way that was impossible to be held accountable. A "stroke" of pure genius, for by showing McKee as bisexual, he at the same time reveals Nick as bisexual, casting a shadow on Nick's judgment of Gatsby.

On page one Nick says he "reserves all judgments," Fitzgerald's way of putting us notice that judgment is critical because Nick is the narrator.

"Love is blind" explains Nick's inflated regard for Gatsby and forces the reader to scrutinize everything Nick says concerning Gatsby.

Nick's romantic misplaced trust in Gatsby, which Gatsby senses and exploits, mirrors society's inflated regard for the American Dream and those who appear to have achieved mythic "greatness" by acquiring wealth. (Indeed, Gatsby virtually screams "Watch me get away with murder" when he doesn't stop his car and Nick believes his line about Daisy being at the wheel.) The valley of ashes symbolizes the decay and destruction they leave in their wake.

The extent of Fitzgerald's greatness is yet to be recognized, 90 years after the fact.

(Such is my thesis for the article I am writing.)


notyourfriend Monty J wrote: "Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "O.o Who is McKee? I don't remember that at all."

The McKees were at the party in Myrtle's apartment. They lived one floor below Myrtle. He's the p..."


Okay, I remember the McKee' s now, but I don't see how all of that proves anything. Why can't Nick just be a nice straight guy? If anything, it's more believable that Daisy liked Nick rather than suggesting that the story holds hidden homosexual ideas.


message 40: by Karen (last edited Dec 01, 2015 05:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karen Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "Monty J wrote: "Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "O.o Who is McKee? I don't remember that at all."

The McKees were at the party in Myrtle's apartment. They lived one floor below My..."


Exactly, I've read the novel three times and I din't believe it was a homosexual encounter between Nick and Mckee. But Nick is Daisy's cousin, and I don't read any romantic anything between them.


message 41: by Monty J (last edited Dec 01, 2015 10:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "Why can't Nick just be a nice straight guy? If anything, it's more believable that Daisy liked Nick rather than suggesting that the story holds hidden homosexual ideas."

It is human nature to see what you want/need to see in a story, a phenomenon Hemingway calls the Iceberg Principle.

But for some of us it is important to look past our own bias and try to understand more fully what an author is attempting to convey in subtext, to avoid censorship for example.

Fitzgerald put McKee in that scene for a reason. He put the spot of white shaving cream on his neck for a reason. He had McKee interact with Nick in a particular way for a reason. It behooves people like me to strain a few brainwaves to try and understand why.

It can be uncomfortable, but staying within our shells of comfort is how bigotry and prejudice gets perpetuated. Thinking about homosexuality makes a lot of people uncomfortable. As does racism. Sexism. And so-on. Muslim extremism exists to this day in part because of a limited scope of thinking.


notyourfriend Monty J wrote: "Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "Why can't Nick just be a nice straight guy? If anything, it's more believable that Daisy liked Nick rather than suggesting that the story holds hid..."

I don't see what I want to see. I see what's there. Though I do suppose that you are doing so in order to prove this theory of yours yea?


message 43: by Monty J (last edited Dec 01, 2015 01:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "I don't see what I want to see. I see what's there."

You didn't remember McKee at all until I pointed him out. We tend to remember what we see as important and filter out what we see as unimportant or irrelevant or confusing. Our mental filters are at work 24-7. Otherwise we'd go stark raving mad. Our filters are created based on our value system, which begins forming in infancy. A severely traumatized child will see the world differently than a child that's never even been stung by a bee.

Everyone sees what they can/need/want to see. It's human nature. The advertising industry depends on it. Camouflage in nature depends on it. Magicians depend on it. Lawyers depend on it, especially in jury selection.


"Though I do suppose that you are doing so in order to prove this theory of yours yea?"

Just like everyone else, I'm doing what makes sense to me.


notyourfriend And yet there is still the lack of relevance to the topic at hand.


message 45: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 01, 2015 02:38PM) (new)

Cαiтℓуn ~ It's you I'll be fighting for ~ wrote: "And yet there is still the lack of relevance to the topic at hand."

Nearly 100 years after its publication, Cαiтℓуn, I have to see your point as to relevance. It has little relevance, a discussion at this depth, in this thread, probably. Also, in many circles, such as those in which I live my life, homosexuality no longer carries the same social or legal burdens it once did; this will differ from person to person.

The question is whether Nick was attracted to Gatsby and, if so, did this render him incapable of telling his story without bias toward Gatsby. There is, after all, the scene toward the end where he calls out to Gatsby in the dark, "You're better than all of them," or words to that effect, and walks away being glad he said it, even if he wasn't sure that it was entirely true, or that being the best amongst a group of cads was something worth taking comfort in.

All in all, the question of Nick's sexual inclinations and resultant bias towards Gatsby (or lack thereof) is secondary. It's something one can decide for oneself as one reads, and decide whether you think Nick described Gatsby as better than he was, believed him when he shouldn't have, or was, in general, an unreliable narrator. That is for you to decide.

This novel is not a still pool of water to be observed and clear impressions taken away. There are enough noisy characters of various degrees of moral persuasion to make a lot of waves, a lot of cloudy water, and many illusions. We can't coast above these waters in a glass-bottomed boat and see everything as if it had been captured in surveillance films.

Interesting questions, some more scintillating when written than now, but the first question after finishing a book with a single narrator is "Do I trust this person's vision of events?" Sexual preference without any involvement between the two men in question is a little inconsequential for me. Certainly looking at a book like The Great Gatsby as if it were a kaleidoscope with all the glass pieces glued in place, never changing, is a great bore. It's wonderful to look at the story from all angles, no one less interesting than another.


Karen Great post AnnLoretta!


Monty J Heying AnnLoretta wrote: "...looking at a book like The Great Gatsby as if it were a kaleidoscope with all the glass pieces glued in place, never changing, is a great bore. It's wonderful to look at the story from all angles, no one less interesting than another."

Yup. It's fascinating.


Petergiaquinta "The Iceberg Theory" doesn't really have anything to do with seeing what you want to see in a story or reading a story through a filter based on your own experiences and projecting that on the story...that's something else entirely which should not be referred to in this way.

Hemingway's so-called "Iceberg Theory" refers to how we only see a small portion of the iceberg itself above the surface, although there is much, much more there below the surface. And what is there below the surface isn't subjective on the reader's part at all; the writer has carefully written it into the story, even though it's not visible to the eye.

Hemingway is the master of this. I'm not sure the concept really applies to Fitzgerald or Gatsby at all; certainly not in the same way that Hemingway is talking about. For example, Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River" is about the lasting effects of war on our returning vets (what today we'd call PTSD), although war is never mentioned by name in the story and this idea is never overtly expressed. The story seems to be, on its surface, about fishing in Michigan. That's just the part of the iceberg you see. Or, in "Indian Camp," Uncle George (is that his name?) has impregnated the Indian woman and this is the reason that the woman's husband kills himself, although there is very, very little in the story peaking above the surface that tells us this.

For a better understanding of what Hemingway is doing with this concept, one should read some literary criticism, but in the absence of this, Wikipedia's article is pretty decent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceberg...


message 49: by Monty J (last edited Dec 01, 2015 03:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Petergiaquinta wrote: ""The Iceberg Theory" doesn't really have anything to do with seeing what you want to see in a story or reading a story through a filter based on your own experiences and projecting that on the stor..."

With all due respect, au contraire, mon ami, it has everything to do with it.

The hidden part of the iceberg represents the imagination of readers that is invoked when an author doesn't specify everything in the text.

It's the universe of details that readers bring to the book from their own vast storehouse of experience. When a writer (or any artist) omits something relevant, he/she surrenders a degree of control to the audience.

This is from your Wiki link:
Zoe Trodd explains that Hemingway uses repetition in prose to build a collage of snapshots to create an entire picture. Of his iceberg theory, she claims, it "is also a glacier waterfall, infused with movement by his multi-focal aesthetic".[11] Furthermore, she believes that Hemingway's iceberg theory "demanded that the reader feel the whole story" and that the reader is meant to "fill the gaps left by his omissions with their feelings".

Francis Ford Coppola acknowledged this when he said, "What's on the screen isn't the real movie. The real movie is what goes on in the heads of the audience." (or words to this effect.)


Petergiaquinta Monty, you have a lot to figure out about this stuff...try looking at what Hemingway said, and spend some time studying these things..what Coppola is saying and what Hemingway is saying are two very different things.

What the reader brings to the story is not the Iceberg Theory...it's something entirely else. Go ahead and look into it. The iceberg is there below the surface. It has nothing to do with the reader's feelings about what's beneath the surface.

And P.S. Who the hell is Zoe Trodd anyway? Lololo...


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