Mills AP Lit and Comp discussion

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June Post #1: Perfection and The Great Gatsby

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message 1: by Mr. Eric Mills (last edited Jun 11, 2016 07:27PM) (new)

Mr. Eric Mills | 9 comments Mod
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby and perfection

When Fitzgerald set out to write The Great Gatsby, he set his sights high; he intended to write the perfect novel. In nine chapters--three prior to Gatsby, three with Jay Gatsby, and three after Gatsby--Fitzgerald comes very close, arguably, to achieving what he called a “‘consciously artistic achievement,’ something ‘beautiful and simple and intricately patterned,’” according to the book’s forward, written by Charles Scribner III. That said, many critics have found fault with a number of aspects of the novel. (That is, after all, the telos of a critic). Therefore, in two to three succinct and well thought out paragraphs (it is summer, after all), explain what you would consider the one fault in an otherwise perfect novel. Choose one scene, character, description, event, or any other aspect of the novel, and (pretending you find the rest of the novel perfect) explain why this ONE aspect is what keeps the novel from achieving perfection.

Respond to this post using the comment link below. At the top of your post, please include your first and last name, and what class period you are in if you remember.

message 2: by Natalya (new)

Natalya Hill | 7 comments Natalya Hill period 1
The one aspect that keeps F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby from reaching perfection is that Nick Carraway is used more as a lens in order to see the story rather than be involved in the story as he claims to be, making him 2-dimensional and unrelatable. For instance, though he claims to hold honesty as a virtue (an important quality to have in any narrator) he also claims that despite having “given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me” (55) and that the events at Gatsby’s were “merely casual events in a crowded summer”(55), the information chosen to tell centres mainly upon Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy, and devotes only a few paragraphs to drone on about work and short-lived relationships with undescribed women. This ultimately gives the impression that Nick’s life revolves around the main drama of the plot, and nothing else substantial.
Nick often discusses this feeling of being an observer, especially in the apartment with Myrtle and Tom. He identifies with “the casual watcher in the darkening streets,” (35) and both being“within and without” (35) the scene. Nick introduces himself, even before mentioning his background and appearance, that he was often “privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men” (1), which is exactly the nature of a narrator. Furthermore, Fitzgerald continues to fit him into this category by mentioning that Nick writes occasionally (positioning this protagonist as a natural observer and storyteller). The book is written in past tense, in the lens of a reflection, and this only contributes to the use of Nick as a tool only to view and judge the story before him.
There is nothing wrong with having a narrator in and of itself, but what is bothersome about the development of Nick Carraway as a character is that he makes little-to-no impact to the story itself, making him a passive protagonist and distancing the reader from the story. Nick is always conveniently witness to, invited to incite, or confronts the situations that Daisy, Tom, Gatsby and the rest of the cast of characters are found in, but if he were to be removed from the story, the plot would not be significantly altered. The pretense of Nick having a story separate from the dramas he witnesses, and thus acting as though he is a fully realistic, fleshed-out character despite the fact that he is very clearly not, prevents The Great Gatsby from achieving perfection.

message 3: by Izzie (new)

Izzie Hicks | 7 comments Izzie Hicks
Period 2
In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s editor Max Perkins, the esteemed author confesses the fatal flaw of his novel: “If... The Great Gatsby fails commercially it will be from [the fact that]... the book contains no important woman character, and women control the fiction market at present. I don’t think the unhappy end will matter particularly.” As evidenced with this quote, Fitzgerald himself is inherently criticizing how his main female character, Daisy Buchanan, is portrayed in the novel. For decades critics have dissected Daisy and her personality traits that make her unpleasant. Yet the fact is, none of the characters in the novel are particularly likable—that is Fitzgerald’s intention. The central fault of The Great Gatsby is not necessarily Daisy’s unlikability, but is instead the fact that she exists simply to act as a plot device, not as a developed character. Differing from Daisy, the novel’s other main characters function as more than merely plot devices. Gatsby himself is the protagonist who drives the plot forward, his love for Daisy inspiring him to achieve wealth through illegal bootlegging. Nick is the perfect narrator, one detached from the central action, and is imperative for the reader to understand key themes such as the undeniable difference between the east and west in the 1920s. Tom, an extremely hypocritical and despicable man, symbolizes old wealth and ultimately is Daisy’s choice over Gatsby; despite his dislikable tendencies he is still a developed character that the reader can understand.
Daisy differs from the rest of the main characters. She exists exclusively to drive the plot forward—specifically Gatsby’s character arc. Gatsby’s longing for Daisy precipitated his quest for wealth through illegal activities, and eventually his large parties to attract his love interest from East Egg: “Gatsby bought [his] house so that Daisy would be just across the bay” (78). His death is ultimately Daisy’s fault, as she allowed him to take the blame for the car accident that killed Myrtle. Daisy is necessary only for these two major events and thus serves only as a plot device. Daisy is portrayed as a “flat” character: she is solely obsessed with money, which is demonstrated by the fact that she got tired of waiting for Gatsby and chose to marry Tom instead, a wealthy man that “gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars” (76). In addition to her misplaced morals, she always appears to be putting on a show for those around her. Nick showcases her personality by saying, “I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming” (9). She is artificial and acts as though everyone is in love with and adores her. Ultimately, what makes critics disgusted by Daisy is the fact that she does not take responsibility for her actions, allowing Gatsby to take the fall for the car accident. All of her unlikeable traits combine into one stark and undeniable aspect of her character: the reader can never really figure Daisy out. As a flat character, she functions merely as a plot device. As addressed above, even Fitzgerald himself does not see Daisy as an important character. Daisy’s negligible purpose in the novel as a character is The Great Gatsby's one flaw, one that hinders it from achieving perfection.

message 4: by Veronica (last edited Jun 16, 2016 07:17PM) (new)

Veronica (veeleen) Veronica Nation, period 1 (I think)

The Great Gatsby is a seemingly perfect novel, full of well-written characters, scenes, and events. However, there is one large flaw that many fans might ignore: the much too obvious use of imagery. Imagery creates pictures in a reader’s mind, it fills their thoughts with color and shape. When it becomes too much, too jumbled, the reader loses those pictures and ends up re-reading a passage multiple times or skipping over it as a whole. Though imagery is one of the best parts of writing because of its power and its ability to create symbolism throughout an entire novel, it can certainly become too much if overused.

Of course, there is necessary imagery (take the green light, for example (193, 100), or gold as a symbol of wealth (6, 90)), but there is one long, drawn-out passage that takes the idea of imagery and cakes it with adjectives. It is hard to ignore because it is so loud. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about … like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees” (172). There are so many adjectives, it takes the reader a bit of time to go through every description and to actually picture what Fitzgerald is describing in the first place. What does “scarcely created grass” really serve in the purpose of this passage? What are “poor ghosts” and do they really mean anything compared to the rest of the book? There are too many questions in this one part of the book; it takes away from quite a bit of the rest of the paragraph and the rest of the page. It is not a flash fiction piece, and therefore does not need to only have necessary description that pertains to the entire story, but it is a great novel, and great novelists must pay attention to every passage they decide to put in their books. Otherwise, the reader does not attach themself to the story as much as they might have, had every part been succinct.

There are strengths in this excerpt, of course, but the overall meaning is covered by the use of odd and unnecessary adjectives. The convoluted pieces of any story take away from the whole of any piece of writing, and unfortunately, this is the great flaw of The Great Gatsby, the flaw that keeps it from reaching absolute perfection.

message 5: by Mr. Eric Mills (last edited Jun 19, 2016 10:56AM) (new)

Mr. Eric Mills | 9 comments Mod
Natalya wrote: "Natalya Hill period 1
The one aspect that keeps F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby from reaching perfection is that Nick Carraway is used more as a lens in order to see the story rather than b..."

Testing the reply function to see what it looks like. I agree that Nick is a bit of narrative contrivance. I especially dislike how Baz Luhrmann placed him in an asylum in his adaptation of the novel. Hmm, I wish the replies would be nested under the original posts. Oh well.

message 6: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bridgeygelato) | 7 comments Bridget Galaty
Period 2

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby seeks to achieve perfection. While the story and characters are well crafted, the novel strays from this aim due to its setting. A perfect novel should be relatable across time and space; Gatsby relies too firmly on its setting in the United States during the 1920s. (To clarify, though Fitzgerald himself may have claimed to have the perfect novel, his book has often been called the “Great American novel” and in this name the location may be admissible.) This backdrop serves as a structure for the entire novel and makes the book inaccessible to people who do not have prior understanding of the context.
One of the great mysteries of The Great Gatsby is the true identity of its titular character. It is speculated that he may have fought in “the war” (44), or perhaps that he may be of some relation to “Kaiser Wilhelm” (32); it is even proposed that he may have “killed a man” (44). Given proper historical knowledge, these rumors add a weight to the character of Gatsby, painting him as a hero, a noble, or a villain. Yet, not all people possess this same background. It is true that today most Americans know enough world history to think back 100 years to World War I, but, expanding the scope of the novel to its global impact and its expected continuing readership in the future, these allusions are likely to lose their meaning. Similarly, a key plot point is Gatsby’s murder. The novel reveals that Wilson was relatively unconsoled by the police, which allowed for his pain to fester and ultimately manifest as homicide. Following Gatsby’s death, the police continue to do little after an initial investigation while the media takes charge for most of the coverage. I would have liked to say that these events taken out of historical context seem unrealistic. Unfortunately, given the current state of American gun control, I cannot. That said, in the future, once homicidal vengeance is more infrequent, these actions will seem fantastical; in a novel that otherwise seeks to preserve reality, having unchecked killings will break from the flow.
For Fitzgerald to attain true perfection, it would have behooved him to set his novel either in a different time and place and/or to separate the plot from this setting. In doing so, he would make the novel more relatable to people who do not have knowledge of America during the Roaring Twenties.

message 7: by Elise (last edited Jun 27, 2016 10:17AM) (new)

Elise | 8 comments Elise Todd
Period 2

The Great Gatsby is no doubt a literary achievement. When great American literature is mentioned, The Great Gatsby is definitely one book that pops into your mind. The premise of the book is perfect. It is about a man who is in love with a girl he can't have. What better subject than forbidden love? However, there is one flaw: For the book being about love, Fitsgerald does not include enough passion betwen the lovers. For example, there is only one time in the whole book that we see them kiss and that is near the end when Daisy does so flirtatiously and quickly while her husband is out of the room. There is one other scene when they migt have possibly kissed, but that is when they are at Nick's house and he goes outside to leave them alone. When he returns, he sees them "sitting on either end of the couch, looking at each other as if some question had been asked, or was in the air, and every vestige of embarrassment was gone." (90) This makes it seem that they had kissed, but because Nick leaves, the reader is deprived of the passion of the event.
Fitzgerald would have gotten an even better response to his novel if he had gone deeper into the true yearnings of the pair of lovers. He does a great job at making Gatsby seem anxious and eager to advance on Daisy, but Daisy's attitude toward Gatsby and the chemistry between them once they are reunited is lacking. This might be because there really is so little time in the book when Daisy and Gatsby are together. Much of the book is dedicated to setting the story up and describing Gatsby's wealth. Perhaps if Fitzgerald had increased the time the lovers had together, he could have developed their relationship further.

message 8: by Bella (new)

Bella Speelman | 7 comments Isabella Speelman
Pd 2

In writing The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald set out to create the perfect novel--one that unlike his literary debut, This Side of Paradise, is focused and meticulously polished. Although selling very few copies in its first 20 some odd years, it has yet to be out of print since about 1945, becoming an American masterpiece. Gatsby is indeed one of the most beautifully constructed novels of the 20th century, however, Fitzgerald fails to include any sort of human emotion within the novel. Not a single character in the novel is particularly likeable, though none of them are exactly dislikeable either, and he fails to include any emotion most egregiously where it matters the most: the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan--the relationship on which his entire plot turns.
Fitzgerald himself admitted to this fact, saying that he "gave no account to the emotional relations between Gatsby and Daisy", instead focusing on crafting his plotline and carefully manufacturing a cornucopia of symbols. I believe a major part of this is the fact that Daisy is never really included within the plot as more than merely a device, for she serves as merely being Gatsby's lost love. Unlike every other character in the novel, she is never really illustrated and developed by Fitzgerald. He pays what should be his leading lady no attention, and therefore from the very prohibits there from being any real emotion and love within the Gatsby and Daisy affair. This flaw ends up keeping Fitzgerald from achieving perfection in an otherwise perfect novel because he lacks any human emotion, even within his most important relationship. This is a fatal flaw in any novel, as it ends up making the characters very two-dimensional, therefore causing them to come across as unrelatable and prevents Fitzgerald from achieving the perfection he sought after.

message 9: by Marah (new)

Marah | 7 comments Marah Herreid Period 3
As many have already discussed, some of The Great Gatsby's most evident flaws are in its dependence upon narration rather than character, and the redundancy of spectacle--(i.e. description of the parties, the house, all bases solely on senses)--to make up for a lack of more dimensional story. Thus, despite its rich images and what appears to be a very intricate plot line, what lies behind is a the story that is overall shallow and disconnected from its readers.
Fitzgerald is, of course, extremely gifted a crafting very interesting, provocative characters. Take his first introduction of Gatsby, for instance, in which he states, "He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life." Nevertheless, never does his audience truly learn to relate to Gatsby, nor any of the characters, who all remain either flat or unlikable. The beautiful mysteries he seeks to create around his characters, despite being with impeccable narrative style, are only an illusion of complexity, where behind the intrigue usually lies flat, plot and symbol-dependent characters such as Daisy, preventing the novel from truly reaching is full potential of perfection. Without the connection between reader and character, the story is only a story, not cor-responsive between these two, or even emotionally impactful as a result.
Therefore, with Fitzgerald's substitution of extravagance rather than substance, his most famous novel, Gatsby, is unable to achieve its intended status of the perfect American novel.

message 10: by Talia (new)

Talia Gordon | 7 comments Talia Gordon, Period 1

The Great Gatsby is arguably one of the most objectively “perfect” novels ever written, particularly with regard to narrative structure and style. However, there is a glaring infirmity in the characterization of Gatsby, or rather the way Nick Carraway characterizes Gatsby in his internal monologues (separate from the conclusions we draw from both their actions). Throughout the novel Carraway appears to be unable to decide whether he supports and respects Gatsby or whether he finds the man intolerable, ignorant, and finds his actions faulty. There is nothing inherently wrong with this point of view-- often we as people are unsure of the way we view others-- but there is something wrong with the fact that Carraway never recognizes that he holds contradictory positions.
Nearing the end of the novel, Carraway says of Gatsby “...I disapproved of him from beginning to end,” (p. 154). However, throughout the novel we see Carraway disprove this in both words and actions, from implicitly approving of his neighbor’s romancing of his own cousin to genuinely believing Gatsby every time he was told an outlandish story. The disconnect between what Carraway tells the reader and how he acts around Gatsby leaves the reader not entirely sure as to Gatsby’s character-- if he is the man that Carraway supports or retroactively condemns.
Ultimately, this contradiction weakens the novel as the whole in that it compromises the way we view Gatsby’s eventual failure to secure his desires. In one reading, Gatsby’s death is inherently tragic because both he and his actions were good. In another, the death becomes an almost inevitable to end to a wrongful path, making not Gatsby’s death tragic but rather his life. Neither of these meanings make the novel bad, but their simultaneous existence weakens whichever message Fitzgerald intended. Carraway’s inability to cohesively characterize Gatsby leaves the novel as a whole far short of perfection.

message 11: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Freedman | 7 comments Ryan Freedman
Period 1
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby can be viewed as a near-perfect novel, although there are inevitably flaws in any piece of literature. From the standpoint that the novel is otherwise perfect, the one major flaw in Gatsby is the almost singular focus on Jay Gatsby in the novel. This is despite Nick’s mentioned interest in other aspects of his own life, such as his business and the rather shady dealings he is invited into. Fitzgerald creates an interest in Nick’s life in the introduction and makes him seem like an interesting character, such as when he mentions his decision to get into the bond business: “All my aunts and uncles talked it over...and finally said, ‘Why- ye-es,’with grave, hesitant faces” (3).While Nick’s family does not seem to support his decision, the issue is never revisited.We become interested in many such references to Nick’s life, and those references are never elaborated on. While this does contribute to the novel’s simplicity, it makes Nick seem like less of a character, and more of a lens for viewing the life of Gatsby. This lens, however, is almost distracting because of Nick’s small references to his personal life.
Were Nick a better-developed character, these references would be less distracting, but Fitzgerald instead chooses to use Nick only as a vehicle for someone else’s story. Nick’s short remarks on his outside life are not really necessary, but had they been elaborated on, they would have made the story a great deal more interesting. We would have have had a better chance to view the effects of Gatsby on Nick’s life, whereas in the current novel, we see very little of that, with only a few references to even Nick’s opinion on Gatsby: “I disapproved of him from beginning to end” (154).
This use of Nick as a vehicle does, however, provide a unique viewpoint for the story, which is a benefit. The reader may be confused by the lack of elaboration on Nick’s character, but the novel is otherwise bettered by this unorthodox style of storytelling.

message 12: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Eisenberg | 7 comments Jenna Eisenberg
Period. 1

The Great Gatsby, a novel praised and perceived by thousands as “perfection,” lacks important insight to individual and relational emotion. There is no personal connection or likeable qualities in any of the characters, though none of them express unfavorable qualities either. Their lack of character depth is off-putting. Fitzgerald fails at depicting the characters in a more advanced psychological manner. His characterization process doesn’t include an intimate linking to the ideas of the American life he is trying to portray: capitalism, organized crime, and that money is power. Fitzgerald denies the audience access to the interior and very personal journeys and pasts of characters but attempts to script an emotionally compelling story. One example is Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship throughout the novel, “Who wants to got o town? Demanded Daisy insistently. Gatsby’s eyes floated toward her. Ah, she cried, you look so cool. Their eyes met, and they stared at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table. You always look so cool, she repeated” (119). This is the most insight into their relationship that the audience experiences throughout the entire novel. Their association and bond with each other is constructed of nostalgia and a vague past, leaving out physical adoration and tangible relation. The grand extenuating and passionate love that the whole novel is thought to be about, is actually lacking in emotion and knowledge of the expressive affairs between the two lovers.

The Great Gatsby is set over the time of one summer, three months split into three separate chapters. Throughout the story, nearly everything is a representative and figurative symbol, for instance: the cars, the respectable Midwest and malicious East, the parties, and the immured mansions. Ethical meaning needs ethical commitment: discomposure, wisdom, and change. Fitzgerald brilliantly involves these elements into his novel, but lacks in the extensive exploration of the details of the relationships between the characters and their involvement to their pasts.

message 13: by Ray (new)

Ray Hootman | 7 comments Ray Hootman
Period 2
The Great Gatsby, a novel complete with alluring imagery and a suspenseful plot, was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald with the hopes of perfection. This feat would be difficult for any author to achieve. Fitzgerald came remarkably close, but the lack of development of the main character's pasts, and the absence of a character that the reader can root for caused the narrative to come up short to its original goals. The Great Gatsby introduces the world to perplexing characters who are struggling to find their place in love and work, but fails to give sufficient backstory. We meet many characters who we have little to no information about, and who lack depth. Fitzgerald presents Nick, who narrates the story, by writing, "I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War...I decided to go East and learn the bond business" (3). After reading the first few pages it is evident that Nick is a well educated man who sells bonds and happens to know many eccentric people. With only this information Fitzgerald proceeds to delve in to the story and introduce other characters. In order for a reader to be truly engaged in a novel one must relate to a character or their personal arc, but Nick has very little substance. He lacks a prominent arc, and doesn't show outward emotion throughout the novel. Fitzgerald doesn't show us Nick's true intentions, and in the end we know little about him and are left with many questions concerning his experiences. What we do know about Nick we don't learn from his attitude or actions, we actually learn from Gatsby.
The same can be said about Daisy. Jordan tells Daisy's backstory by explaining, "The largest of the banners and the largest of the lawns belonged to Daisy Fay's house. She was just eighteen, two years older than me, and by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville" (74). We know that Daisy is a well-off woman in a struggling marriage, who had previous relations with Gatsby, but this information doesn't help the reader understand a different layer of Daisy. It only reveals her love for money. Daisy is largely an unappealing character. This is partially because she fails to take action. Daisy is very much aware of her husband's infidelity and won't move from her "enormous couch" to make a change. Gatsby has also professed his love to Daisy through actions and words, but Daisy won't make up her mind. As readers, we originally assume that Daisy and Gatsby are meant for each other; that The Great Gatsby is the story of two lonely people finding one another. However, as the story progresses, we learn that Daisy isn't who we thought she was. There are very few redeeming qualities in her, and in the end she runs away with Tom and we never hear from her again. Fitzgerald's novel doesn't provide enough backstory, depth, and positive qualities in many of his characters. Because of this, the reader struggles to find someone to root for. Even the book namesake, Jay Gatsby, has major faults. He is honorable; he is seen as the self made man and the embodiment of the American dream. That being said, he makes his money through crime, and lives his life in an unrealistic illusion. These negative qualities, and his mysterious and unknown nature makes it hard for the reader to support him in his quest for love.
The Great Gatsby exemplifies the American novel, and came close to perfection. The major flaw in F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing was seen in his characters. He did create fascinating characters who challenge each other and create great drama, but these characters lack substance and the audience lacks the information and drive to champion them, as shown in Nick, Daisy, and Gatsby.

message 14: by Sam (last edited Jun 26, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

Sam Altman | 7 comments Sam Altman
Period 1
The first time I read this book I came away with the impression of a heart wrenching artsy romance, in which takes place within the lavish 1920s American backdrop. This backdrop hides the many imperfections that occur within F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby". One of them being the lack of character development throughout the novel. J. Gatsby, the main protagonist of the book is introduced upon Nick Carraways arrival to his new home in West Egg. The reader is left to the mystery of Gatsby throughout much of the novel. Nick visits his cousin Daisy, which soon evolves into speculation of the mysterious man that lives across "the bay", "Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once" . These instances provide Nick and the reader with very little information on Gatsby's past. So far Nick and the reader understand he is a mysterious man, but Gatsby never evolves from this mystery that plagues him. This weakens Gatsby as a protagonist especially since the reader has no emotional connection for Gatsby until the end of the novel. In fact, Fitzgerald sums up most of Gatsby's life within a very short section of the entire novel. Its almost as if the reader is thrown into a setting that celebrates shallow, money obsessed culture; and then expected to understand Gatsby's longing for Daisy in the "thick" of this complex plot which happens to be a failed attempt at love.

Confusion is the best word to describe the majority of the novel. Now I must applaud Fitzgerald at his attempt to create a complex plot that makes the reader want to investigate and learn more about each character. But, that interest and mystery is soon discouraged by the lack and or creativity of the characters such as Daisy and Tom, who prove to be dull characters that lack depth which makes the novel another cliche love story. The most emotion Daisy shows is over material wealth, "They're such beautiful shirts," she sobbed, her voice muffled in the think folds. "It makes me sad because I've never seen such – such beautiful shirts before". and this happens to me a reoccurring theme in her obsession with material wealth which proves to be the downfall of her relationship with Gatsby. Tom, as expected is the dominant, hulking, Eugenicist that showers Daisy in wealth and riches to hide his affair with another woman named Myrtle. He nodded sagely. "And what's more, I love Daisy too. Once in a while I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time." Tom is the man that seems to have everything but proves to be ignorant and naive of what he has. Sadly the ending of this novel doesn't come as a surprise, the good guy, being Gatsby is left alone to die after risking everything for Daisy, and the bad guy, being Tom wins the girl because of his wealth and controlling demeanor. Which satisfies the readers expectation if you caught on to the cliche plot. The good guy always loses in this case.

To conclude, Nick Carraway is the saving grace when it comes to character progression and plot line. He is the outsider looking into a world that is very foreign to him. He isn't from "old money' and he is by know means wealthy. So he represents the common man throughout this novel which gives this love story a different point of view. The Characters plagued by the lavish wealth of the 1920s are Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy, but Fitzgerald's attempt to create a character in which was meant to grab the readers emotion and give them someone to root for fell short because of the lack of character development.

message 15: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 7 comments Lauren Page Period 1
Great Gatsby is regarded as a brilliant piece of social commentary, offering a vivid peek into American life in the 1920s. Fitzgerald carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups which was thought out to make the novel a “perfect novel”. However, Fitzgerald lacked character development in the story, therefore not quit suiting its “perfect novel” title. You do not need to have read the book or even seen the film to feel a thrill at the word ‘Gatsby’. More than a novel, a film, or a character, ‘Gatsby’ is an aspiration. The golden age of jazz, cocktails and evening dress, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is one of those works which has been formed and overtaken by its own myth. Strip away this melodrama and what are you left with? A mysterious central character for whom it is hard to have much sympathy and then the only thing anyone really remembers: the parties.

It wasn't exactly the prose style that failed to grab me. More than anything, I never connected with a single character. Daisy is just one character in the novel who is never fully described and introduced, it was hard to ever connect with her or feel anything from her because of the format of the book. In a novel the narrator is the vehicle, the one telling the story to the reader. Laying out critical information, describing the setting, creating mood and atmosphere, and generating information upon which we create our opinions on characters and events in the novel. These are classically what we associate the narrator with regard to the novel and its progression. The characters that the author describes are supposed to be the major focus of the novel. What makes The Great Gatsby such a unique novel is the fact that besides the narrator, none of the characters develop through the novel. None of them change or grow as people they just continue to function as they always have, staying exactly the same. The narrator, who in most novels would play a small part, is the only character who makes any kind of change. Because of this it is extremely difficult to feel for the characters or to truly understand what they are going through. The author tells the reader of Gatsby's love for Daisy, but fails to dig deeper into both lovers true emotions and feelings towards each other. "He hadn't once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes.", only a few times in the novel were Daisy and Gatsby together, and when they were he should have elaborated on their love for each other. This causes the reader to never connect to the characters in the story.

message 16: by Gianna (new)

Gianna Neathammer | 7 comments Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it seems that the main character Jay Gatsby is placed as an imperfect character in an otherwise perfect novel. At first, he is portrayed as a man of power and confidence, important qualities of the protagonist of a novel. However, as the novel evolves, Gatsby’s imperfections are revealed. Fitzgerald acknowledges Gatsby’s insecurities as a hopeless romantic, and unrealistic ideals for his happiness. Once these imperfect traits are explained, it no longer seems that Gatsby is fit for the part of the main character. Although other important characters such as Daisy and Tom Buchanan have imperfections as they are blinded by their many riches, Gatsby takes it to the next level. Gatsby’s character is introduced as a mysterious man of many luxuries. He is shown at the beginning as a rich man, known for living detached from the rest of society - a mysterious lifestyle. However, it had not always been that way. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people - his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (98). This displays the early life of Gatsby. Fitzgerald shows that his life was not always made up to be so successful. As Gatsby explains his early life to Nick, the narrator of the novel, it becomes clear that Gatsby is insecure about the way his life used to be. Therefore, it is important to Gatsby that he maintains the success in his life - money and fame. It seems as though part of his happiness revolves around his money. These unrealistic ideals show that Gatsby does not have as much power and confidence as expected in a main character.

Gatsby has an almost perfect life in the reader’s eyes. But he also has one ultimate goal in his life - to be with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, who once loved him before his many financial successes. One of Gatsby’s flaws as a main character is having the mindset that he can re live the past “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,’ he said, nodding determinedly. ‘She’ll see’” (110). Gatsby has the unrealistic ideal that Daisy will want to love him again as she once did, even though she has devoted herself to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby’s overall insecurities along with his unrealistic ideals for his life are traits that should not belong to the main character of a novel, and results in the imperfection of The Great Gatsby.

message 17: by Caitie (new)

Caitie Smith | 5 comments Caitie Smith Period 2 The novel The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald was complete with utter romance and a very well thought out plot; it reached almost perfection. This wonderful novel, though, lacked character development. Reading deeper and deeper into this novel we the readers barely learned more about the characters or were brought deeper into their lives. We were only informed of the basic traits these characters held, rarely did we learn more, and if we did it was quite vague. This being said, it was hard to mentally connect/attach to any of the characters seen throughout the entire novel. Even connecting with the narrator, Nick Carraway, was hard to do. After reading the entire novel the reader is still left with a poorly developed narrator whom they have "been with" throughout the whole experience of the novel.

The title of this brilliant novel is "The Great Gatsby" and Gatsby himself is undeniably "great", but as a reader we know little to nothing about who he actually is. Yes, we know he loves Daisy and always will, and yes, we know he's rich and throws the most magnificent parties anyone will come to know, but we don't know much else of what this "great" man composes of. With the novel being set in the roaring American 20's, with the overdone parties, the music, the fashion, the drinking: one can easily fall in love with the novel, for it blinds you from what you're actually missing out on. We are hypnotized into thinking we know who this character Gatsby is known to be. His name itself can excite anyone who has heard of him in literature. Take away the one thing we really know about him (his love for daisy), and we the readers are left with remembering Gatsby for his parties, his money, and the sophisticated glamour he brings to the book. Gatsby himself is the most perfect example of the lack of character development in the novel. The Great Gatsby is written in almost perfection: its lacking ability to develop characters to the point where readers can find a mental connection is its one perfection breaking flaw.

message 18: by Isa (new)

Isa Harris | 7 comments Isa Harris: Period 2
The one aspect that keeps F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel from reaching perfection is his lack of character development. Fitzgerald elongates his explanation of character's, but in some cases uses their personality traits as plot fillers, not going in-depth to develop them as a human beings within his novel. For example, Daisy Buchanan does not display prominence within The Great Gatsby, but instead is a women pleased by material items and wealthy men. Fitzgerald centers upon the faults of persons within his piece and the unpleasant nature surrounding the characters lives.
Fitzgerald elaborates more upon the male leads within the piece rather than Daisy and surrounds her with three strong leading men. Gatsby a man with capabilities beyond his reach is the protagonist within the novel and Daisy’s ‘one true love.’ Nick Carraway is the ideal narrator based upon his relation to Daisy and the connection he creates with Gatsby throughout the novel's progression. Tom, the man Daisy ultimately selects over Gatsby is an overly critical man with a reprehensible personality; yet his character is one the reader can still understand. Gatsby’s goal is to attract Daisy to his extravagant parties and make himself noticeable to only her. For example Fitzgerald writes, “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.” (78) His infatuation with the girl is what drives him to be a better man, but Daisy only lives for money and since she got tired of waiting for Gatsby decided to marry Tom instead because he was the next best thing. The reader can never distinguish Daisy’s personality traits because she is solely a plot filler that appears relevant for large events and disappears for the merely quaint happenings. She believes that her actions are inconsequential and don’t have consequences. Daisy’s lack of character arc is the one flaw within Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and prohibits the novel from reaching perfection.

message 19: by Molly (new)

Molly Worford | 7 comments Molly Worford
Period 1

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby in pursuit of the perfect novel, but failed to do so because of one fatal flaw: the lack of chemistry and romance between Daisy and Gatsby that leaves the reader emotionally detached from the story. Although the point of the novel is to address a greater theme, the romance between the pair drives the action and is supposed to compel the reader. However, it fails to do so, as Fitzgerald leaves their relationship undeveloped.
The story revolves around the great romance between Gatsby and Daisy, but, with the greater theme in mind, Fitzgerald failed to convince the reader of the merits of their relationship. He wrote the novel with such strategy and precision, almost medically, so that each detail would fall into the greater meaning of the piece, and in that process forgot to focus on the immediate story at hand: one of supposed love and desire. Because Fitzgerald put little effort into developing their relationship and connection, the reader is left with no emotional attachment to the story. The backstory of their relationship is explained, but we hardly get to witness any real interactions between them. In fact, the first time they meet, the scene is visibly uncomfortable, as the two of them sit on opposite ends of the couch and don’t speak to each other for several minutes. Gatsby is set up to be the underdog who the reader roots for when Daisy chooses between him and Tom, but Fitzgerald did not make it urgently important to the reader that Daisy and Gatsby end up together. Therefore, the reader is not emotionally invested in the plot, which ultimately takes away from the ending of the story and the impact it is supposed to have on its audience. Without this flaw, The Great Gatsby would undoubtedly be the great novel Fitzgerald set out to write.

message 20: by Kaeley (new)

Kaeley Cahill | 7 comments Kaeley Cahill Period 1

One aspect keeping The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald imperfect would be the setting for the novel. Fitzgerald wrote a book about the struggles and times of which the people of East and West Egg were trying to find their way through the world. He wrote about searching for clarity and what makes someone important to the world yet placed the story in a time when America couldn’t have been more unclear. 1920’s New York was a time when Americans were lost in all things lavish and lustful. Americans didn’t care about anything but extravagant parties and drinking, the crime rate was the highest in history and people only cared for themselves. Fitzgerald states, “I spent my Saturday nights in New York, because those gleaming dazzling parties of his were with me so vividly that I could hear the music and the laughter, faint and incessant.” (pg. 179) It was a time when everyone lied to themselves to keep the party going. Fitzgerald’s characters go on a journey that requires nothing but truth, when in reality the book is set in a time full of lies.

Fitzgerald talks about the differences in people of East and West egg but there’s no actual description of each place itself, only the people inside them. Fitzgerald is constantly describing the types of people that come from these places but never explains the reasons for that in a physical sense. By doing this, the readers lack a bit of insight to the characters and are less able to understand and connect to them.

message 21: by Alec (last edited Jun 29, 2016 11:59PM) (new)

Alec | 7 comments Alec Farmer Period 2?

Perfection is an idea that many try to obtain; however, this is almost always unachievable. In 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald set out to create the perfect piece of American literature. The culmination of this endeavor can be found in the novel The Great Gatsby; however, the novel is unable to achieve perfection. The root of this failure is found in the use of an unreliable narrator. While this can be an extremely useful and telling literary device, its implementation in the novel only works to confuse the readers and narrative itself. In most instances the unreliable narrator is somebody who appears to be unsure, and can thus easily be challenged by their own beliefs and experiences. F. Scott Fitzgerald writes Nick Carraway as a narrator with excellent academic prose whose scholarly diction sounds very sure of itself. By combining these two literary tools suddenly the narrative loses its simplistic structure, and the various character maps become very confusing. All the contrasting character traits seem real when the narrator, Nick Carraway, himself believes “I’m five years too old to lie to myself” (Fitzgerald 177).

Jay Gatsby is the titular character of the novel, but finds many of his traits to be contradictory to one another. While many of his descriptions during the first party are meant to show great confusion and mystery surrounding the character, later in the novel there are many traits brought up about Gatsby that are told with such authority that they all feel as though they could all be real. During lunch one day Nick is told by Mr. Wolfsheim that “Gatsby’s very careful about women. He would never so much as look at a friend’s wife”, and this paints a picture of a man who is very careful never to interfere with another relationship and is weary others. (Fitzgerald 72). This line is told matter of factly and is followed by the line “When the subject of this instinctive trust returned”, and this line helps to draw the conclusion through its sophisticated and unwavering diction that Gatsby holds these values true to himself (Fitzgerald 72). However, this idea is obviously contradicted by the remainder of the novel where Gatsby reveals his love for Daisy, a married woman. This love affair comes to its height when Gatsby says to Daisy's husband “Your wife doesn’t love you… She’s never loved you. She loves me,” yet again the line and its surrounding lines are told without hesitance and thus build a paradox of a character (Fitzgerald 130). While this may build up Gatsby as an intricate character it detracts from his story, as the reader may be following these contradictions blindly.

Another character who falls into this sense of an uncertain identity is Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is shown to be a very well mannered and elegant individual for the majority of the novel. Her descriptions usually fall along the lines of “Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth,” and “a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words”, both of which characterize someone of true elegance (Fitzgerald 9,14). This feeling of true elegance is broken throughout the novel as seen when she is put in a tense setting with her husband Tom and her lover Gatsby, “Open another window,” commanded Daisy, without turning around,” and while it’s brief it shows a very distinct character departure for Daisy (Fitzgerald 126). The scene itself is very tense with the growing strain between Gatsby and Tom, and the growing heat wave. All of which adds tension to the novel, and thus allows Daisy to break character while still keeping in touch with the scene. While some may consider these layered characters examples of great writing it takes back from the story itself. The main issue with this use of an unreliable narrator is that it detracts from the novels perfection of a simple narrative. Instead of allowing the reader to truly grasp the themes of love, lust, friendship, and wealth, the reader instead is preoccupied with sorting out the various character maps. Thus the novel loses its chance at being a perfect simple narrative, which details a period of time in America using timeless themes.

message 22: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Page | 7 comments Taylor Page Period 1
Fitzgerald had his sights set high when writing his novel The Great Gatsby; he intended to write what he believed to be the perfect novel. However, one major flaw that Fitzgerald lacked when writing the novel The Great Gatsby was the characterization of Nick Carraway. Nick is both the narrator and a participant in the novel. This makes reading the story hard to follow at some points and only lets the reader see inside Nicks head while the story is progressing. The whole story is a collection of Nicks perception on various events and his personal opinion on them. Looking at the way Nick narrated the story, it's easy to see that he is impartial and biased towards Gatsby. Nick says that he is a man who is inclined to reserve all judgments (7), when in fact throughout the story he has been making negative judgments towards the other characters except Gatsby. He called the other characters a rotten crowd and that Gatsby is worth a whole lot put together (160). This shows that Nick thinks better of Gatsby than of the other characters in the story, putting him on Gatsby’s side. As a result of their strong friendship, Nick’s narration of The Great Gatsby becomes heavily biased towards Gatsby’s favor, often highlighting the events that show Gatsby’s good character in a good light, whilst downplaying the unfavorable ones.

Some of Nick's thoughts and references are left unexplained and leave the reader wanting to know more. Also, things drag a little at the beginning as Nick gets to know his profligate neighbors. It takes a while for the reader to understand who everyone is and their relationship to each other. The affair between Nick and Jordan was a bit odd and ended abruptly and. Plus, Nick is pretty lame and slightly boring. Why would Fitzgerald create a main character like Nick Caraway for a novel that was supposed to be perfect? Nicks's biased opinion, narration of the story, boring personality and the fact that he is blinded by of his admiration of the wealth result in the imperfection of the novel The Great Gatsby.

message 23: by Devan (new)

Devan Nagy | 7 comments Devan Nagy
Period 2

The Great Gatsby, with its exquisite descriptions of The Jazz Age and riveting plot, is an American classic that is best known as being the high point of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career. Although it is characterised as a “perfect novel,” Fitzgerald fails to include characterizations of the women throughout the story, therefore causing the reader to have to make assumptions. The main focus of character development is centered on male characters. Fitzgerald chose to describe his female characters mainly by their appearance, leaving large gaps of curiosity toward background stories and personality traits for the reader.
This can be first seen through the introduction to Jordan Baker. The reader receives multiple descriptions about Jordan’s appearance, such as how “she was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backwards” (11). Fitzgerald explains Jordan’s physical appearance in immense detail, however, he fails to include other information of her life, as well as personality traits. This therefore causes a series of questions to rise about her character, sparking confusion in the novel’s details. Jordan and narrator Nick Carraway’s conversations revolve around information regarding Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Instead of hearing details about Jordan’s life, the reader is further enriched in the character development of the novel’s male characters. Fitzgerald could be using the role of women, such as Jordan Baker, to provide information about his important characters, such as Gatsby. However, in doing so, he is lacking information to provide answers to the reader’s questions about other mentioned characters. This therefore makes the novel imperfect in the sense that too much curiosity is created.
Daisy Buchanan also fits this statement. Throughout Daisy and Gatsby’s reunion, the reader is almost solely informed of Gatsby’s feelings toward the situation, instead of both characters. When Gatsby and Daisy see each other the afternoon of tea with Nick, “the expression of bewilderment [came] back to Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years!” (95). Fitzgerald describes the situation from Gatsby’s standpoint, but fails to include detail as to what was rushing through Daisy’s mind as well. Just as it did with Jordan Baker, this creates unsolved curiosities for the reader about Daisy’s feelings toward Gatsby. Daisy can be seen as a character that is being used to showcase Gatsby’s ability of deep love and affection. Gatsby is continuously developed as an important character throughout the novel whereas Fitzgerald provides barely builds Daisy’s character. The concentration of developing male characters instead of both genders leaves unanswered questions as well as a lack of unity within the given information. Therefore, this aspect of the novel causes the idea of this American classic to shift away from being a “perfect novel”. Fitzgerald needed to further develop the traits of his female characters in the novel in order to create a novel that embodies perfection.

message 24: by Greer (last edited Jun 29, 2016 08:59PM) (new)

Greer Ramsey-White | 7 comments Greer Ramsey-White
Period 1

The idea of perfection is just that, an idea. While perfection is always sought after, it can never be truly obtained. Perfection lies within an unrealistic dimension of reality that ultimately ends up being used as more of an aspiration. While F. Scott Fitzgerald embarks to write a “perfect novel” through The Great Gatsby, he fails to do so by the naïve and seemingly optimistic lens of Gatsby. Gatsby’s true desires are shown with a mindset to live back in a moment of the past with Daisy – a moment that due to inevitable change, can hardly be reached. As Gatsby proclaims, “Can’t repeat the past? [...] Why of course you can!” (Fitzgerald 110), his false perception of what he believes he can achieve blindsides him from reality.

From the help of the notorious wealthy lifestyle of the East, Gatsby falls into a comfortable lifestyle of power by using his resource of great wealth. With exceptionally high expectations, Gatsby manages to show that he believes with an enormous mansion, extravagant parties, and overall high-class living, he can get what he wants, Daisy: “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay [...] I think he half expected her to wander into one of his parties some night” (Fitzgerald 78-79). With this aspect in mind, Gatsby proves to live in an illusion of reality as he only focuses on his past.

Gatsby’s ultimate intentions of obsession over his past hinders the novel as it is, almost to say, too trusting in society and the world – especially in its setting of the 1920s with corruption everywhere. The flaw ultimately restricts him, as he doesn’t understand how Daisy is married to Tom or why she doesn’t leave him right away. It all weighs on Gatsby as he obsesses over his history and makes decisions solely in order to attain the dream he once had with Daisy. By this, it contradicts all of what Gatsby is admired and presumed to be: a knowledgeable and well-educated man (Fitzgerald 72) and instead, shows a vulnerable, naïve man. The credibility of Gatsby all comes into question throughout Fitzgerald’s novel that ultimately weakens his attempt at a “perfect novel.”

message 25: by Rose (new)

Rose Cobb | 8 comments Rose Cobb, Period 2

Though F. Scott Fitzgerald's intentions were to formulate the so called "perfect novel" in writing The Great Gatsby, this notion itself is inherently subject to his own individual perceptions and biases, meaning it never truly could be so. While, on many levels, this work can be considered a particularly strong literary achievement, it is by no means faultless, as the Author himself was of fairly questionable morals, if you look into it a bit. One major way in which this manifests, and what one could perceive to be a major flaw in this particular work of fiction, is the disparity between male and female characterization. This is significant due to the context of this era: the 1920's. Not unlike the 1960s, the 1920s were a time of unprecedented social upheaval, and the individualism of women was particularly prevalent among the plethora of social constructs that were being challenged at the time. This movement was a major part of creating the sexually liberated party scene that is commonly depicted in Fitzgerald's work, primarily in this piece through the lavish festivities depicted in the Gatsby home throughout the story. It is for this reason that one would find it to be somewhat peculiar the way in which Fitzgerald depicts his female characters as so painstakingly one dimensional.

The main example of this would be the depiction of his character Daisy Buchanan. She is described, through the lense of her cousin Nick, to be a woman of fabulous wealth and simultaneous beauty. When she is introduced, this is made clear: "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered 'Listen'" (9). While this is a well executed description, it contrasts with the way the narrator describes both himself and the other men within the story by a fair margin. The men are characterized by wit, intellect, back-story, and why it is apparent that these elements are present in his description of women, it is notable that they are a side note, at the very best. Women within his writing gain their autonomy of character primarily through physical appearance, surface level emotional reactions and little else. Their formulation is considerably superficial and executed with seemingly less thought. That does not mean that their role in the story is diminished, but yet again, they play an entirely separate role from the males. The character of daisy, in particular, is used to highlight the whims and desires of Gatsby himself, rather than directly contributing to the motion of a plot. She represents and thusly personifies everything with which Gatsby fascinates himself. She is wealthy, fabulously so, and the socialite lifestyle she embodies is consistently portrayed as the end-all-be-all in Fitzgerald's work. In addition to this, her emotional codependency, and a seemingly desperate need to be loved makes her the perfect plot device. She highlights the thoughtless pursuit of desire James Gatsby is known for, by being herself an accessory to his character. This is particularly ineffective due to the way she is idealized, and how so much of Gatsby is enthralled with her, which would be otherwise a successful plot point, if Daisy was not such a superficial installation to the story. This can be illustrated within the scene where she ends up crying at the quality of his shirts, just before he does so. "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" (92). This passage shows just how captivated by her, and further proves the point that for a plot that relies so heavily on the presence of women, they are simply not given the depth of character which their roles warrant.

message 26: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 7 comments Hannah Patrick
Pd. 1
(I read this book on a kindle so I couldn't cite page numbers because there weren't any I'm sorry)

When reading The Great Gatsby, a token novel of the roaring twenties and Jazz Age, the rich imagery, intricate plot and potent symbolism strike a chord with many readers as trademarks of Fitzgerald's unique and idealized writing style that culminate to create the "perfect" American novel. However, in a letter to Fitzgerald's editor Max Perkins, the author says, "“If... The Great Gatsby fails commercially it will be [because]... the book contains no important woman character." This quote brings light to the fact that, when read from a feminist view point, The Great Gatsby falls short in many ways, mainly rooted in the weak characterization of the female characters.

When Fitzgerald set out to write the novel, he intended all the characters to be used as symbols for different American values or concepts he used the novel to explore. However, even within this preconceived notion of symbolism, there is an evident dichotomy between the development of the female characters compared to the male characters. Where the male characters exist as people to experience the story, the female characters are scarcely more than devices to move the plot forward and receive few character traits beyond those essential to convey symbolism, most of which are simply different stereotypes of women. A main example of this is the way Fitzgerald characterizes Daisy Buchanan. She is described as a woman with extreme wealth and beauty, "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered 'Listen'" (Chapter 1), a woman with "a voice full of money" (Chapter 7). This beauty and wealth explain why Gatsby is enthralled with her, as an idealistic representation of the American dream at this time. The 1920s were a time of many social upheavals, including the rise of a women's liberation movement which caused many women to reject traditional societal norms. Judging by the way Fitzgerald talks of Daisy's past , breaking societal norms by traveling on wild escapades with many different men, it is evident that Daisy is meant to embody the new liberated 1920s American woman: a symbol for the American dream of freedom and wealth that men like Gatsby frivolously lust after. However, despite Daisy's liberated nature, Fitzgerald gives her little to no depth in the form of emotional turmoil, strength or weakness. She is not sympathetic as a person, rather exists as an accessory to Gatsby's character and a device to move the plot forward.

The usage of Daisy, the new woman of the time, as a symbol for a frivolous idea of the American dream is a unique way to explore the themes Fitzgerald was writing about in The Great Gatsby, however it manifests itself as the main weakness because Daisy is not given characterization beyond the superficial, and objectifies women because they are treated as plot devices and symbols rather than people with complex traits like the male characters have.

message 27: by Brynn (last edited Jun 29, 2016 04:36PM) (new)

Brynn Gauthier | 7 comments Brynn Gauthier
Period 2
F. Scott Fitzgerald sought perfection in 1925. Fitzgerald sought perfection in a 1925 literary scene dominated by male perspectives. The male perspective is not void of creating something beautiful and simple and intricately patterned. But male definitions of perfection are often polluted by an infatuation with their own voices, with such a strong conviction in their truth and how they portray it. Fitzgerald’s tendency to get carried away in his own prose in pursuit and in sureness of the power of his individual voice is often at the expense of characterization, coherency, and verisimilitude.
Fitzgerald’s propensity to stray from storyteller to narrator are first evident in his meticulous account of the partygoers (39-42). It is purposed for excess, for thematic symbolism that overwhelms the audience. And it does. This stylistic departure is verbose and indulgent and indeed excessive. And when it is all over, when the audience begins to understand that maybe Fitzgerald himself is narcotized by the “prodigality” of this “cheerful world” (40), we are left with flummoxed senses and no further insight into the dimensionality of this world. Here is intrigue, but false complexity.
This dependence on narration and redundant symbolism creates an illusion of rich storytelling. Like that golden moment between Daisy and Gatsby, the sensation is fleeting. The Great Gatsby is wealthy in capability and elegance and structure and a feverish intoxication, but perfection cannot be bought without consistency of narrative intention.

message 28: by Simone (new)

Simone Elkins (princechrom) | 6 comments Simone Elkins Period 2(?)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is set in a gilded age, referencing a beautiful outside of gold with a layer of dirt beneath. The book itself reflects this idea, however the gold is gracefully woven through the novel, a captivating and scandalous flapper who at the very end falls short. Though he is the reason for the book’s title, in the end of chapter 8 Gatsby’s death is little more than implied. It is written as a somewhat irreverent series of images, and given the entire ending chapter is written as the aftermath, this is disappointing to an engaged reader. Gatsby is a man of decadent circumstance, and the irony that he would not die with such flourish is unsatisfying. He has no closure with Daisy, nothing that truly clips the wings of the dreams he has embraced the length of the novel. The build-up is predictable, but the conclusion presents nothing new. Wilson is treated equally indelicately, but for his character this makes sense. A single parting line for a man torn ragged already in “Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass” (location 2009) suits him, but Gatsby in the deflating pool mattress does not.
Following this is the unfortunately lengthy ending chapter. The last few and ever so quotable lines are quite lovely to be certain, but the allegorical ramblings on snowy nights in Wisconsin courtesy of Mr. Carroway miss the shot. If only Wilson had, too. The entire book revolves around the New York lights, with the drastic two year time jump comes only recollections of soggy fields and overcast skies. Certainly, this could be credited to the lustre of Gatsby himself, but if he was truly all that was golden to Nick, the statements of dislike in chapters 7 and 8 would not have made sense. Furthermore, the details of the funeral attendance besides the contrast of Gatsby and his father seemed containable to a few sentences, not an entire chapter. The ending seems more fitting to a chapter that did not so distantly circle the man which it has held so tightly, the sudden exit of Daisy and Tom unrealistic as both would likely have said parting words to Nick. Given such negativity as Tom felt toward Gatsby in the ending chapters, if the Buchanan man had spat on the grave there would have been no surprise. For a book encased in dreamlike phrases, it is truly unfortunate that the reader must be startled awake with such a disenchanting ending.

message 29: by Josette (new)

Josette Axne | 7 comments Josette Axne Period 2

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby captures the existential beauty of the 1920’s. His imagery of Gatsby's thrilling parties full of booze, jazz, and the noise of beaded pearls being whipped around by beautiful girls in sparkly flappers create a colorful aesthetic that is easy to divulge into. Also, Fitzgerald's utmost tranquility of the narration of the opening pages, the symbolic purposes of the East and West, automobiles, and the eyes of Doctor. T. J. Eckleburg, serve to an idealistic image of the American Dream. Readers see all these things and conclude to Gatsby being a perfect novel. Even though the imagery and symbols serve a purpose to the story, and is pleasant to look at, The Great Gatsby fails in a way. Underneath all the colorful imagery and purposeful symbols lies a fault in the characters and how they lack human emotion and are therefore non-likeable.

Indeed, the characters in the novel do lack human emotion, and it's not like they're immediately disliked but, the characters certainly aren't likable. As a reader, Fitzgerald writes these confusing sentences and passages that connects to the characters which is then ultimately left for you to figure out. “...But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room…”(89) This sentence is quite easy to understand but, throughout the novel, I find that the narrator only describes and tells us about Gatsby’s unique nature. The character himself never actually demonstrates his true personality and his feelings towards others. It's almost like Fitzgerald leaves it up to us to imagine the characters personalities, emotions, and especially reactions towards others. The consequences from the fault of characters in the novel merely lies in the relationship of Daisy and Gatsby. Daisy herself isn't a strong woman character so when it comes to her revealing emotion she becomes afraid and ends up hiding from them. In chapter 7, when Gatsby is confessing to Tom that Daisy doesn't love him, the whole time Daisy is nervous and contradicts what she says. She becomes so nervous that she even drops a cigarette on the floor. After Gatsby ultimately wins Daisy she yells “Please, Tom! I can't stand this anymore.” and it is noticed that “Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage she had had, were definitely gone.” (142) Instead of Daisy standing up and declaring her love she holds back and ends up losing her chance of “happiness” because it's the easiest thing to do. The reason why Gatsby’s and Daisy’s relationship lacks emotional connection is because that whole relationship is based on the past. The novel illustrates the relationship as a type of nostalgia and revealing that nostalgia through narrative. So therefore, there is no love, desire, and connection. Even Fitzgerald himself when reading reviews about the lack of emotional connection admitted, “I gave no account (had no feeling about or knowledge of) the emotional relations between Gatsby and Daisy.” So instead of figuring out the characters he looked towards symbols, imagery, and the ultimate theme of the novel. So when it comes to the plot of the story it lacks the transformation of the characters and what they go through based on their emotional relations.

As a reader, one can still be mesmerized by the purposeful symbols, the creative imagery, and the ultimate theme of the novel and what it reveals and confirms but, without the strong characters, and what they are going though, it's hard to be connected to the story and ultimately moved by it.

message 30: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 7 comments Kyle Friesen
Period 1

Given that The Great Gatsby is read by a majority of high school students, there is obviously something that many teachers think should learned from it. With fantastic syntax, well-developed characters, and an accurate description of the Roaring 20’s, it’s clear why F Scott Fitzgerald is part of modern America’s literary canon. While the book is seemingly flawless in terms of technique, it remains unclear what the purpose of the book is just from reading it. Without researching what Fitzgerald or his editors or literary scholars have said on the matter, you could take anything from the plot. It could be a warning against the dangers of riches, a parable about choosing the right kind of friends, or even a sardonic commentary on love and relationships.
The first scene that seems to have no direction is when Nick gets drunk for the second time and meets Myrtle’s sister and neighbors, (39-46). Even in retrospect, it’s hard to see why Fitzgerald had Nick engrossed in Catherine’s gossip about Tom and Myrtle’s marriages (42) or an entire paragraph of things that Myrtle wanted to do (44). With these two separate moments, it could be said that Fitzgerald means for the scene to illuminate the toxicity of 1920’s social interaction with the former or he could be commenting on his perception of how women make men’s lives harder with the latter. Or, the scene, even the entire chapter for that matter, could be there solely to develop Tom and the Wilsons’ characters, or even simpler, just to introduce Myrtle and George for the roles they play at the very end of the book. This ambiguity along with the fact that the entire chapter takes place in a setting unfamiliar and underdeveloped for the reader makes this section of the book seemingly have a lack of direction. Even when it is later shown how the Wilsons factor into the story, on a first reading it clears nothing up about the overall purpose of the book. Similarly, the scene in which Wolfshiem is introduced (69-72) seems to be purposeless, and direction is up in the air for the narrative until Gatsby encounters Tom.
The Great Gatsby has a concrete plot. Chapter 7 is an obvious candidate for the climax when the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom comes to a head, and the minimalistic and abstract way that Gatsby’s death is handled lends itself to a neat and quiet resolution. When we reach the resolution, however, it’s unclear where we’ve arrived or why we even were going there in the first place. This is the largest flaw with this otherwise fantastic book. Most non-academic readers come off of the story with a feeling they haven’t gained anything from the book; there’s barely any reason to recommend this book to your friends except its technical brilliance.

message 31: by Evan (new)

Evan Austin | 7 comments Evan Austin
Period 1

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel acclaimed for its perfection and the meticulousness of the author. Contrary to many critics’ beliefs, refraining from developing otherwise static characters throughout the novel allows the reader to be an unbiased onlooker into the story that Fitzgerald presents. Although the book is held in the highest regard, the hamartia that subdues The Great Gatsby from flawlessness is the diction.

Contradictory, extraneous, and pretentious, the word choice not only alienates less educated readers from grasping the novel’s intent, but also hinders on the other “perfect” aspects of the novel. Nick Cararway presents himself as an educated man but equally a very humble one. He identifies heavily with his residence in West Egg, the less flatulent of the two Eggs. However, he often writes sentences such as, “This quality was continually breaking through his punctilious manner in the shape of restlessness,” (64) which fails to keep intact his humble opinions of himself. Along with this, readers with a limited vocabulary are unable to comprehend pivotal plot points due to the diction, “His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control,” (125). Since many people are unable to understand the language (and those that can think of the diction as a nuisance), the word choice proves to be the element of destruction in an objectively “perfect” novel.

message 32: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Ripley | 7 comments Jackson Ripley
P. 2

Fitzgerald's quest to author the perfect novel is indeed a noble undertaking, however achieving this goal, realistically, is nearly impossible. Though Fitzgerald comes close, he falls short in one area: his characters. Though it was his original intention to make every major character in the novel generally unlikable, this is actually his downfall. Traditionally a novel would have a protagonist whom the reader in a way "roots for" or otherwise relates with and likes. The Great Gatsby lacks this. While Fitzgerald's decision to create his characters this way may have contributed to the realism of the story, it causes it to fall short of the "perfect novel." This is especially evident in Nick Carraway's character.

The story is told from the point of view of Carraway, implying that he is the main character of the book. Though Gatsby is of course the titular character and the man around whom nearly every event unfolds, the book explores the effects of these events on Nick as he reflects on the summer he spent in New York with the wild people he met through Daisy. Nick is far from perfect, which falls in line with traditional story telling, however he is so far that the reader has no choice but to dislike him. Unlike most of his new acquaintances, as well as Daisy, Nick lives a more simple life, taking up temporary residence in a humble cottage down the street from Gatsby's mansion. This humble living, to him, almost gives him some divine right to criticize the lavish and spoilt lives of his peers, despite his father's advice: "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world havn't had the advantages that you've had." (1). This arrogance makes Nick an inherently unlikable character. Throughout the book he exposes the weaknesses and less-than-savory qualities of Tom, Jay, Daisy, and even Jordan, and yet never reflects on his own. His role as a bystander, an on-looker, has poisoned his ability to remain conscientious of his own vices. He is " of the few honest people that [he has] ever known." (59).

Nick's unlikability is different from the other characters'. As the other characters, especially Gatsby and Tom, add friction, conflict, and intrigue to the plot, driving the novel closer and closer to perfection, Nick's attitude and personality are simply an annoyance. In order for The Great Gatsby to be the perfect novel, Nick did not to be the perfect, spotless character, however his total unlikability held back the entire story.

message 33: by John (last edited Jun 29, 2016 11:04PM) (new)

John Bickle | 7 comments John Bickle
Period 1

When F. Scott Fitzgerald created The Great Gatsby, he had one goal in mind: perfection. A well-structured, beautifully simplistic novel was the result. For its elegant and descriptive writing style, enhanced by sophisticated diction and plentiful imagery, The Great Gatsby comes utterly close to perfection. However, one nagging detail prevents Fitzgerald from attaining his goal. A story telling of love, desires, and emotions in America’s golden jazz age generally fails to show the reader any love, desires, or emotions. We, as the readers, are disconnected from the story, especially because it is narrated by a character who plays no central role in the novel’s main plot – Nick Carraway. Carraway is merely a link between protagonist, Gatsby, and his love interest, Daisy– a device by which the story is told rather than a character of any importance to it. This physical disconnect leads to an emotional disconnect, spoiling the perfection the novel attempts to achieve.

Nick Carraway describes himself as a “casual watcher,” and this disconnect becomes the reader’s disconnect (35). The entirety of the story is told from his point of view. The love stories, the tragedies, unrest and heartbreak, all from the viewpoint of an inessential character. This distinct lack of connection between narrator and other characters is broadened when speaking about the supposedly fantastical love affairs of the roaring twenties. The narration by Carraway means that the reader knows exactly what he thinks and feels. The reader is readily able to connect with him, and it creates an opportunity that Fitzgerald decided to pass up, an opportunity that could have potentially saved his novel. That opportunity is the relationship between Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway. If Fitzgerald decided to write further of the chemistry between the two, potential exists for a deeper emotional connection to be established between reader and novel. Despite this, Fitzgerald ends their relationship. They interact less and less until one day Carraway stops caring, having no desire to talk to Jordan even if he “never talked to her again in this world” (155). Rather than building upon a relatable and understandable relationship, Fitzgerald decides to end it, leaving us instead with the narrator’s disconnected interpretation of the love affair between Gatsby and Daisy.

As already stated, Carraway tells this story as an outsider. This is truly apparent when he briefly describes the love between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. This beautiful and ultimately heartbreaking love story- “five years of unwavering devotion-” is barely ever mentioned, and when it is, only briefly so (109). The entire focus of the novel—Daisy and Gatsby’s love, is boiled down to the few brief instances in which Nick describes it. The “rush of emotion” felt between the two has so much untapped potential, but because of Carraway’s outsider position, this potential is largely left unused (96). All-in-all, much of the novel’s purpose is ruined by Carraway’s emotional disconnect from the other characters. He is generally unimportant, and this sense of distance is the most noticeable flaw in an otherwise perfect novel.

message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate Hartshorn | 7 comments Kate Hartshorn, Period 1

The Great Gatsby, a reflection on success and society is hindered only by one decision. Choosing Nick Carraway as the eyes through which the story of The Great Gatsby is told was the downfall of Fitzgerald’s attempt to write a “perfect novel”. By creating Carraway’s character, instead of telling the story from an objective point of view, Fitzgerald was seeking a more personal look into the world of Mr. Gatsby. However, he fails to achieve this as he relies on Mr. Carraway more as a lens than as a full character that interprets events as they unfold. Fitzgerald barely develops Mr. Carraway’s character at the beginning of the novel giving only notes about his upbringing and establishing Mr. Carraway’s views when he writes, “ A sense of fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.” (6). While this phrase of Mr. Carraway’s is arguably central to the reader’s interpretation of the entire novel, Nick’s lack of personality does not allow for a due amount of thought to be given to his words.
Mr. Carraway often reflects on his inability to fully trust any of the people he is around. He even goes so far as to say, “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.” (64). Although Fitzgerald may have believed that readers would in turn trust Nick with a statement like this, the opposite is true. Mr. Carraway’s lack of dimension, of forward thought and action deprives the novel of an enticing and focused plot. Later, when Nick makes claims opinions around Mr. Gatsby such as saying, “I disliked him so much by this time that I didn't find it necessary to tell him he was wrong.” (151) it is difficult to have any connection with any character in the book. Never furthering Nick Carraway’s character leads to distrust from the reader.

If Fitzgerald had made the decision to complete Carraway’s character, it would have given the reader someone to listen to in times where the plot lacks clarity. Using Nick as someone to provide opinions and explanations throughout the novel would have made it much easier to relate to and follow. Refusing to develop Nick as more than a shadow of a character wounded the novel beyond anything else. The lack of familiarity as Mr. Carraway tells the story disconnects readers with the plot, and does not allow for The Great Gatsby to be the “perfect novel” Fitzgerald desired.

message 35: by Tanner (new)

Tanner Gardner | 7 comments Tanner Gardner, Period 1

F. Scott Fitzgerald's attempt to construct the perfect novel in The Great Gatsby is hindered by the characterization of Daisy, the love interest of Mr. Gatsby himself. Fitzgerald utilizes Daisy as a device to propel the plot instead of a fully fleshed out character. Her beauty and wealthy demeanor attract Gatsby to her, as Nick Carraway explains, "Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered 'Listen'" (9) and "[Her voice] was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it... High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl...." (120). These descriptions of Daisy only illustrate her beauty and wealth, which are the major factors that attract Gatsby to her. As the novel progresses, Fitzgerald fails to include any further character development for Daisy, and utilizes her to move the plot forward after she crashes into Myrtle. While Daisy does prove to break traditional societal norms towards woman at the time by having affairs with other men, she lacks sufficient character depth and the reader is often left feeling no sense of sympathy towards her.

Fitzgerald himself admitted that the lack of a strong female character could prove to be a weakness in the novel, as in a letter to his editor Max Perkins he writes, "If the book fails commercially it will be from one of two reasons or both. First, the title is only fair, rather bad than good. Second and most important, the book contained no important woman character, and women control the fiction market at present." Fitzgerald's effort to make The Great Gatsby a foolproof novel falls short due to the characterization and lack of development in the most prominent female character, Daisy Buchanan.

message 36: by Hana (new)

Hana Lauer | 3 comments Hana Lauer
Period 2?

F. Scott Fitzgerald would have been able to achieve perfection with his book, The Great Gatsby, but failed to recognize a flaw in the narrator, Nick. Whom served as “the eyes” into the story for the reader. Nick states, “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” (p. 60) With this quote, the reader would assume that he would be telling the truth. If it were not for this quote, the reader could have forgave Nick for not standing up for the truth when it could have been revealed during several key plot points. He might have not ever lied about anything but he never did actually tell the truth, and what good can truth be if you don’t even speak it? Throughout the book, Nick was told many secrets of all the main characters but never told anyone about them when the truth was needed to solve a problem. This aspect of Nick could have been overlooked if it were not for the remark that he makes of himself of being one of the few honest people he knows. One of the most important incidents where Nick could have spoke the truth was with the secret that Daisy had accidentally ran over Myrtle instead of Gatsby. This secret was the cause of Gatsby’s death and could have been prevented if Nick spoke out the truth. Once did Nick speak little of the truth was when Tom was making a deal with Wilson about a car. And Daisy thought it wasn’t legitimate; Nick did tell her that the deal was real but he never explained further that it was real because of an affair Tom was having with Wilson’s wife, Myrtle.
It can also be seen at the end of the book that he never changes from his awful habit of not speaking the truth when he bumps into Tom in the street. Tom talked to Nick about who Gatsby was in Tom’s eyes for running Myrtle over and how horrible he was. And all Nick could do was think, “There was nothing I could say, except the one unutterable fact that it wasn’t true.”(p. 180) He thought this, he never spoke it which shows how frustrating this flaw that F. Scott Fitzgerald made of Nick; preventing him from making the “perfect novel”

message 37: by Chiara (new)

Chiara | 7 comments Chiara Walz
When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby he intended it to be the perfect novel, however he did not achieve that. One aspect of the novel that is flawed is that he portrays the American Dream as unachievable. When Gatsby is introduced, it is advertised that he is living the American Dream; he is wealthy and young, but he never actually accomplishes it. The American Dream means you are successful, free, hopeful, and have your own family to continue the bloodline. Gatsby never gets the opportunity to have a family. He spends his time chasing a girl who is already taken, and because of this he is never really free. Even though he is very hopeful, Gatsby never gets to live the life he craves to have with Daisy. He literally dies for her, and therefore doesn’t get to complete the rest of the American Dream.
Gatsby isn’t the only character that doesn’t achieve this goal though. In the beginning of the story Nick sets out east in order to find success. He buys bonds and has big plans for himself. He is hopeful that he will become an acknowledged writer and perhaps lucrative. Despite Nick’s ambitions, he leaves the east and returns to the west. “ On the last night, with my trunk packed and my car sold to the grocer, I went over and looked at that huge incoherent failure of a house once more. On the white steps an obscene word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick, stood out clearly in the moonlight, and I erased it, drawing my shoe raspingly along the stone.” (180) Nick was left with less hope, adventure, and it was almost as if his dreams were pointless. Ultimately the problem with The Great Gatsby is that none of the characters actually experience the American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald should have had one character that the portrayed the dream as something that could be accomplished, because in the end the story seems almost wasted.

message 38: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Schwartzberg | 7 comments Jacob Schwartzberg
F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is almost the perfect love story between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. However, the novel's one fatal flaw is the love story which it is centered around. In the beginning of the novel, before Gatsby leaves for war, the novel is seemingly perfect. However, when he returns from war, Fitzgerald notifies the reader that Gatsby and Daisy's relationship is far different from its perfect beginnings. While at war, Gatsby let his mind run free, capturing the perfect relationship he left back home. When he returned home, he found Daisy in love with another man. She says to him, “Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now — isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once — but I loved you too” (Fitzgerald 133). This quote is the peak of the breaking of their "perfect" relationship.

Until this point in the novel, everything will seemingly work out. However, this quote shows Daisy’s inner conflict. It leaves the reader wondering, which man does she love? In a perfect relationship, in a perfect book, in a perfect world, Daisy would have stayed loyal to Gatsby. Realistically, in an imperfect relationship, in an imperfect book, in an imperfect world, Daisy moved on. Although this faulty relationship resulted in an imperfect novel, we can learn more from Fitzgerald and his characters’ imperfections than we can from their perfections.

message 39: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie W-B | 8 comments Mackenzie W-B
Period 1
"The Great Gatsby" is esteemed as one of America's greatest literary achievements; an emblem of of the time period, and the high point of Fitzgerald's writing career. The language in the novel is indeed beautiful and compelling, but certain characters are flawed in their unbelievable perfection and one-dimensional portrayals. One such character is Daisy Buchanan, the highly-criticized love interest of Gatsby. Throughout the novel, Daisy is portrayed in a way that makes her appear almost infallible. She is a one-dimensional ideal of wealth and beauty, and in the beginning of the novel she fills little more than the role of serving the interests of the men around her with flirtatious southern charm. Fitzgerald paints Daisy to be the naive love interest, which is in stark contrast to his rather three-dimensional plot line and main characters. Daisy says of her daughter, "I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool" (30). Not only does Daisy outright state that women should be diminished to innocence, but Fitzgerald also implies this idea throughout the novel through his stereotypical descriptions of Daisy, which contributes to an overall flawed character.

Furthermore, while most characters in Fitzgerald's novel are plagued by a culture of material excess, often even the greediest of men are portrayed to be justified in their pursuit of wealth, while when Daisy exhibits similarly selfish behaviors (infidelity, partying, hunger for materialism), she is painted to be a devilish and insensitive character. After Daisy kills Myrtle, and admits to being deceitful to Gatsby and her husband Tom, her character shifts from being the pure symbol of goodness to a symbol of selfishness and the dangers of greed. Tom Buchanan, an excessively rich and mean man, exhibits similarly awful behaviors in the novel. The reader is left with the impression that his behaviors are typical of men of that class status, while Daisy's behaviors are portrayed to be an anomaly. In the context of the time period, the one fault in "The Great Gatsby" is Fitzgerald's trite characterization of Daisy, which leads to an unfair representation of the major female character in the novel.

message 40: by Elise (new)

Elise Norton | 3 comments Elise Norton
Period 2

Claiming perfection in literature can be considered a cocky task, and while Fitzgerald’s tenuous creative intention retains elements of American “perfection”, The Great Gatsby’s subjective insights through the eyes of a single character distract from the depth that could otherwise be achieved. While many great novels follow an effective first person approach, the claim of a perfect novel should have a more encompassing look at the plot rather than retracting into an isolated mind. Then again, maybe it’s the American value of easiness that promotes the novel’s fame.
While it’s intriguing to view Gatsby through a objective--almost script-like--lens, his character still weighs heavily on the plot. Carraway’s character, while insightful, documents Gatsby two-dimensionally. The stylistic choice to not enter Gatsby’s thoughts is suiting for his mysterious character, but physical observations of his complexities do not take the reader far enough. Upon first introducing his character, Fitzgerald spends an excessive amount of time describing Gatsby’s smile which “seemed to face the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you” (48), as well as “understood you as far as you wanted to be understood” (48) and “(had) a quality of eternal reassurance” (48). Every character’s persona is based entirely on imagery, an excess of telling and not showing. This works in certain settings with certain characters, but because he is the most influential character in the novel, Gatsby should be relied on with less imagery and more insight. Carraway has a borderline arrogant approach in claiming he understands every character’s mind and can reflect it in honesty towards the audience. “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” (59). While a suiting quality for a narrator, a single mind’s observations can only travel so far, making the entire novel feel estranged and unrelatable. The themes that are supposed to move the novel do not exceed Carraway’s own observations, so the themes themselves (love, wealth, identity, etc.) become distant and less universal. Regardless, given we are in Carraway’s mind, his highly personal observations came in excess. “I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back” (126), is one of them. Needless to say, when there is such a weight placed on external characters, it should only be natural to spend more time on them than on himself.
Generally, the artistic choice towards external observation laid a precarious line between distance and excess. Eventually, the novel relied too heavily on both blatant imagery and observation. This makes it read somewhat like a young adult novel (after all, we teens are gaga over our fictitious love and drama), but its ease likely perpetuates its very American claim to “perfection”.

message 41: by Estee (new)

Estee | 5 comments Estee Dechtman
Period 2

The Great Gatsby, a cannon of American literature is a tale of unrequited love, outrageous parties, materialism, and greed. These aspects and the themes throughout the novel are applicable to every day life. There is a reason this novel is taught over and over again. The beauty of this novel is its ability to never stop the reader from asking questions. After reading this novel for the fourth time and trying to find a single flaw, I realized that every time I read this book I would ask the same question, is the fascination that nick has with Gatsby critical or accepting? The lack of evidence to sway the reader either way has always been something that upset me about this novel and keeps it from perfection.

Nick has always been dazzled by wealth and “new money.” He is very observant and sets high standards when analyzing events and people. Nick is known for his brutal honesty. Although not always kind, Nick tells it as it is and is not afraid to let the truth out. It is puzzling as to why the reader has such a hard time trying to future out how Nick feels about Gatsby. In chapter one Nick says, “When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.” This quote is an example of the supportive and positive outlook Nick has on Gatsby regarding his character and personality. In the same chapter he writes, “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.” The question of whether Nick finds it more respectable to come from new money, rather than his upbringing in the American Dream is displayed the contrasting quotes. Despite Nick’s upbringing, Fitzgerald opposed the reader by showcasing Nick’s fascination with Gatsby’s wealth and untraditional fortune. Nick gives every reason to be critical of Gatsby, yet the author also allows for empathy and understanding. Had there been a decisive choice this novel would be absolute perfection.

message 42: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Stoker | 7 comments Nadia Stoker
Period 1

With his esteemed lyricism and recognition of the influence that the time period and setting have over his characters and plot, Fitzgerald has produced a novel that has celebrated ninety years as a highly respected American Classic. Despite his careful attention to imagery and tone throughout the novel, Fitzgerald left important characters unexplored therefore creating holes within the book that the reader is left to fill for themselves. The novel was lacking proper backgrounds of any and all female characters which can leave the reader feeling that the book itself has unfinished or unresolved areas. The omission of explanations of female characters can also cause the reader to feel stuck in a constant rotation between men who are all too similar in their moral shortcomings and massive egos.
Daisy, who represents the guiding force of Gatsby’s life and aspirations, remains a largely one-dimensional character for the entirety of the novel. Gatsby is irrevocably in love with this woman and to understand his actions and justifications for buying a house across the bay from her, throwing extravagant parties in the hopes that she will waltz back into his life, and devoting his life to achieve the wealth he believes she deserves, the reader must be able to grasp the reasons behind Gatsby’s love for Daisy.
The reader’s understanding of Daisy as a character are based solely on descriptions of her physical appearance, material wealth, and the power she has over the men who meet her. She has an alluring voice with its “fluctuating, feverish warmth”(96)that Nick believes has tethered Gatsby to her for so long because “it couldn’t be over-dreamed-- that voice was a deathless song,” (96). We witness this seductive nature through the eyes of the men who encounter her, but the reader is never able to fully understand the qualities of Daisy that have caused Gatsby’s relentless infatuation.
Jordan Baker, another of the few female characters in the novel, remains within the parameters of a few descriĥptions of her physical appearance and achievements as a professional athlete. When Nick meets her, he describes her by saying, “I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her gray sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face,” (11). Further within the novel, Nick and Jordan began a romantic relationship despite the fact that the reader has never been invited into her backstory or any sort of understanding of her on a personal level.
The female characters in The Great Gatsby are used solely as devices to develop their male counterparts. Not much is said for these women or their personal beliefs, backgrounds, and feelings throughout the novel. This can cause female readers to feel unattached from the book as they are unable to identify which segregates an audience drastically. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby would benefit from further explanation and inclusion of well-developed female characters that serve further purposes than characterizing the men they interact with.

message 43: by Rebekah (last edited Jun 30, 2016 07:56PM) (new)

Rebekah Nichols | 7 comments Rebekah Nichols, Period 2:
All though “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes very close to being a perfect novel there is one big flaw I find that impedes the reader’s full ability to comprehend the book and understand it completely. As much as I enjoy reading this book from the limited perspective of Nick caraway and even though I see this as an interesting way to attempt a perfect novel I feel that it hinders my interpretation of the situations that caraway finds himself in. Throughout the book as a reader I constantly found myself trying to put together pieces of situations I did not fully understand because I only had the limited understanding of Caraway at my disposal.
One good example of this is in chapter 2 when nick finds himself in the apartment of Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan, when he is talking to Myrtle’s sister Catherine. As Catherine is explaining her issues with Myrtle and Mr. Wilsons relationship, caraway finds himself in the mess that is Myrtle and her husband. As Caraways is pushed and pulled, and as he is bombarded by the different opinions of the people around him, it is easy for me as the reader to become very confused. As I try to understand more about the relationship between Tom and Myrtle and even other characters throughout the book I am left with missing pieces that are sometimes found. This makes for an intriguing experience reading the book but I wouldn’t say that this novel was completely perfect due to this fact.

message 44: by Mia (last edited Jun 30, 2016 08:36PM) (new)

Mia Nelson | 7 comments Mia Nelson
Period 2????

The Great Gatsby was received horribly by critics when Fitzgerald wrote the novel, they found it lazy and unpractical, and stylistically all over the place; the reason the book became so popular, such an integral part of American consciousness and AP Literature Summer assignments, is because of a neat little program back in World War Two called the ‘Armed Service Editions’ wherein troops were sent softcover, cheap novels (hello 1st real push for paperbacks) in the vain hope that promoting literacy in the wake of Natzi Germany’s government of ignorance and fear and selective education would help win the war on an intellectual front- this achieved nominal success, but the real achievement of ASE was that all those American soldiers had something to do other than buy prostitutes and get wasted on parisian wine (actually, it was more like they had something to in between the prostitutes and the wine.) The Great Gatsby, written by Fitzgerald in between his own drunken stupors as his wife (a brilliant writer in her own accord who frequently was forced to publish under her husband’s name) failed to give him a son and/or live up to his charmed expectation of married life, while helping a fledgling new writer, Ernest Hemingway, with his soon to be critically acclaimed A Farewell to Arms, was a desperate attempt to make money since he’d spent all the royalties on the then 3 year old novel The Beautiful and The Damned, which is still considered to be his greatest literary success (though personally I like Amory Blaine’s brooding story in This Side of Paradise much better.) The novel, though he wanted deeply for it to hit perfect, simply was not constructed in the circumstances that would make it so. The only way The Great Gatsby achieved even a microcosmal amount of success was when it was selected for the ASE to be shipped out to American soldiers, but of course, F. Scott was dead in 1940, so what little royalties were made off that patriotic duty were likely squandered or never spent. The Great Gatsby, though, by being given to all those soldiers, and then brought back to discuss- probably repeatedly as a relic of a war which gave PTSD like symptoms to soldiers in a time where PTSD wasn’t a classified disorder, or even an acronym (that wouldn’t come until after Vietnam and wouldn’t achieve any credibility until the 1980s) lived on in infamy. It became a book for non-bookish people, and no matter how the literary snobs snobbed, it became a part of a mass culture and newly budding empire of mass consumerism and now we have a Leonardo Dicaprio movie about it. So, the novel wasn’t perfect (critics of the time avidly agree, so does his nominal success on it), and the reason so many people think it is, or we’re even discussing it, instead of his actually good novels, is because it is pretty easy to read and has been made accessible to the masses.
But, if the historical framework of the situation isn’t enough, the reason I don’t really like it and why it's not perfect to me, even though I love Fitzgerald in This Side of Paradise, is because the book is too nostalgic. Let me explain. Fitzgerald writes in This Side of Paradise that the difference between a romantic person and a sentimental person is that “the sentimental person thinks things will last--the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won't;” in other words, sentimentality is believing that their can be no ending, while a romantic believes that their is nothing but endings. I propose a middle ground, nostalgia, which is like the romantic because it believes in endings, but like the sentimental in believing that the constant remembrance of those acknowledged ends will somehow bring back the situation, therefore undoing the endings. Romantic and sentimental are opposites, and they're understandable- the man who loves a girl but mourns that she forgot him and married someone else, that is the stuff of great and epic poems! That is romantic! The sentimental man who throws himself back at the girl, regardless of everything that has happened and loves her like it was years ago, just the same, that is the stuff of better novels than this one! Oh, it is the stuff of great novels! But the man who dreams of the girl, who dreams so much she ceases to be real, and startles him when she is, when the living manifestation of her past walks in front of him he can’t believe it, ( “Afterward, he kept looking at the child with surprise. I don’t think he had ever really believed in its existance,” (140)), the man who refuses to believe that she could have loved another man in her past (Daisy loves/loved Tom) is pitiful, one dimensional, and, a bit of prick to the girl. That is the nostalgic man, and I loathed the way Gatsby tried to erase Daisy’s past, and he, as the main character (I don’t care what anyone says Nick Carraway was a barely there narrator who’s snippets about his own life made me yawn, and he is not the main character,) lost my interest the second he tried to make Daisy’s life/past/present/future malleable to what made him comfortable, effectively eliminating the novel as perfect- though it isn’t infallible for many reasons beyond those actually inside of it.

message 45: by Grace (new)

Grace | 4 comments Grace Burns, Period 2
F. Scott Fitzgerald strived to create the perfect American novel; he aimed to do this by displaying Gatsby and how he is living an American dream. A flawed theme within the novel is the concept of the American dream being unachievable. The American dream can be defined as a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by an individual in the United States. With this definition alone, Jay Gatsby and others within the novel achieved the goal to live an authentic American dream. Jay Gatsby or “Mr. Nobody from Nowhere” is introduced as a mysterious and fabulously wealthy man, with no one knowing where his immense wealth originated from. Narrator Nick Carraway, whose cousin Daisy Buchanan is living a high scale life that would be classified to many as again the American Dream, is living next to Gatsby. The two become close, and Carraway discovers that Gatsby was born James Gatz, a once poor man who made his money through bootlegging, doing so to seek out the attention and love from Daisy, of which he once had. Overall Fitzgerald tried to display the American Dream as something that is desired by many but is realistically is unachievable, in many people’s opinion this thought was flawed.
The characters introduced in the book are all trying to or have achieved extreme wealth. They believe this will make them happy because they have or will have the highest power and resources to achieve what they want. What many don't know or are just figuring out is that fact to achieve extreme wealth you have to sacrifice other aspects and desires within your life. For example, Gatsby wished to become wealthy to get Daisy's attention potentially, but doing so he had to give up his ideals and principles. While Daisy had to give up young love with Gatsby so she could live the overly idealized notion of The American Dream. Overall Fitzgerald was going in the right direction with his view of the American Dream what was flawed was that the American Dream could be achieved but to achieve it you will always have to give something up. This lesson was learned by many throughout the course of the novel.

message 46: by Emma (new)

Emma Cohen | 7 comments Emma Cohen
Period 1
In writing the The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald succeeded at creating a well structured novel filled with an elegant and descriptive narrative. However, the fundamental fault within the novel is the lack of female character development. This is seen directly through Daisy as she is left as a one dimensional paper doll who wears whatever aspect the men around her dictate.Without the ability to know Daisy’s own wishes, the novel fails to encompass the complexity of America in the 1920s.
Both Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan show a complete disregard for Daisy. They plan their lives around her without any input from Daisy herself. She is expected to blithely follow their every desire. This is seen through Gatsby’s desire for Daisy abandon her life for him. He “wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’”(109). He neglects to think about her responsibility to her daughter as well as any feelings that she had for Tom. Similarly Tom seeks to control Daisy while he feels free to galavant around the city with whatever woman he pleases. He believes that “women run around too much these days”(103) which only highlights his hypocritical nature as he is seeing another man’s wife.
Fitzgerald’s characterization of Daisy as a mirror of those around her fails to reflect the increased influence of women in society during the 1920s. Women gained the right to vote, enabling them to have opinions on a national scale, and experienced increased opportunities in employment and education. In an early Fitzgerald short story Bernice Bobs Her Hair he demonstrates his ability to convey a woman’s perspective. This shows that his neglect for Daisy’s character was not due to a lack of understanding for women, but an intentional disregard of her point of view.

message 47: by David (new)

David Cardoza | 3 comments David Cardoza
Per. 2
Here goes:

It’s one thing for an author to call their work ‘perfect’, because in their eyes, it’s everything they want it to be. But in the case of The Great Gatsby, we can’t even take the the author’s word for it. The novel’s major flaw, is Fitzgerald’s close attention to reaching his so-called standard of perfection, rather than a close attention to reality’s detail. Things do not develop naturally in his novel. Because he spends all of his time giving us a sensory-overload of this world, he distracts the reader from any human essence of interior thought or emotion outside of the narration. I understand that this mindlessness was definitive of the era and of the counterculture that Fitzgerald was trying to depict, but it’s all a bit much. The characters are unrelatable, most of the time two-dimensional (perhaps due to their hedonistic tendencies), and frankly, boring. They’re all you would expect from the surface of the 1920’s American ‘cultural revolution’.

The descriptions are overly verbose, and just like all of the imagery and subject matter, there is no breathing space for the reader to collect their own individual thoughts, or conceptualize the novel as they would like, thanks to Fitzgerald's singular vision being channeled through Nick Carraway, the narrator. I think Fitzgerald’s definition of ‘perfection’ had to do with making it so every aspect of the book was in HIS control, so that the reader would see it just as he did, and if this is the case, he has succeeded in his own right. Only problem here is that the emotional/visual capacity of each reader varies, so for many, especially those who prefer nuance or ambiguity over concrete directness, the book fails to deliver. Even Nick himself states that he prefers things with clarity and directness:“I don’t like mysteries, why don’t you just tell me what you want!?”(72).

For such a skilled writer who surrounds himself with people, to avoid writing within the flow of the overall human psyche is the real mystery to me. I say that the writing is good because this is the truth of things - Fitzgerald is a master of dialogue and imagery - as his severe notetaking in The Crackup suggests - but he fails still, to catch my interest. What he does is awfully confusing, but I suppose still self-aware at least. Carraway couldn’t have put it better himself: “There's no confusion like the confusion of the simple mind”(125). The novel is also full of gossip and very surface-level emotional resonance in terms of relationships between people - which are complicated, don’t get me wrong, they’re just horribly predictable, reflecting the shallow depth of the novel and its characters. It’s not the sensory overload that bothers me - I really do dig phantasmagoria with guys like Marquez or Pynchon or The Bible - it’s the lack of modesty in the writing which takes out the very human essence which Fitzgerald, I'm assuming, is trying to conceive.

message 48: by Katelynn (new)

Katelynn Luchtenburg  | 7 comments Mr. Eric Mills wrote: "The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby and perfection

When Fitzgerald set out to write The Great Gatsby, he set his sights high; he intended to write the perfect novel. In nine chapters..."

Katie Luchtenburg
P. 2

Being a huge fan of F. Scott and especially ‘The Great Gatsby’, I believe this novel to be practically perfect in everyway. The detailed descriptions are captivating and able to hold the reader’s attention, the flow of the book finds a steady pattern that is able to capture the summer in a perfect amount of time, and Fitzgerald uses precise language when needed. Although perfection is nearly achieved in this novel, the one fault I would accuse Fitzgerald of, is making the novel too fantastical and borderline unrealistic.
F. Scott is able to build characters that are very honest to the human condition, as he builds them up to be both nothing and everything; more than they truly are. He creates Tom Buchanon to be selfish and restless (as stated to describe him a myriad of times); Daisy to be stunningly beautiful yet self centered, and paints her with an inherently deep unhappiness; Gatsby is larger than life in nearly all ways yet crazy obsessive and entirely stuck in his own mind. In doing this, Fitzgerald seems to create the only realist aspect of the novel, as nearly everything else that occurs is too far fetched to happen in a real world situation. Though this sort of fantastical writing can be appreciated and praised in books like ‘Harry Potter’, novels such as ‘The Great Gatsby’ are viewed by critics on an entirely different level and the book as a whole is practically discredited for being so whimsical.
This level of outlandish action can especially be seen during Gatsby’s party. “This part had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside” (Fitzgerald, 44) Though these parties are supposed to attract the attention of Daisy, the level of wondrous action that occurs is even beyond realistic to the roaring twenties. Though this brightly painted party is able to captivate the reader, it is confusing and nearly irrelevant to the overall plot as it is primarily used as a door to introduce Jay and Nick, which could have easily been done in a less bizarre way. This, on top of the general description of Gatsby and his childhood is entirely too far-fetched. “For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wings” (Fitzgerald, 99). Although exciting, the absurdity of Jay Gatsby or James Gatz as a person leaves the reader reaching to connect to the overall plot of the book in a way similar to Gatsby reaching for the green light.

message 49: by Riley (new)

Riley Watson | 7 comments Riley Watson
Period 1

F. Scott Fitzgerald nearly reached his goal of absolute perfection in his critically acclaimed novel, The Great Gatsby. The book’s greatest weakness, withholding it from Fitzgerald’s ambition, is its inability to use Daisy Buchanan, the central female character, as more than a possession for Jay Gatsby and Tom. Not only does the character have a thin backstory, but very little development or individualism. Right off the bat, Daisy is perceived as the sad female character with an abusive husband. She doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose at first, other than to fill this role. As the novel progresses, Daisy gains more importance in the story, becoming the most prevalent female character. That being said, she has very little depth as an individual compared to the male characters. We hear nothing of Daisy’s past until the fourth chapter. However, all that we are told of it is related to her relationships with Tom and Gatsby. On the other hand, Gatsby is given an in-depth backstory, along with a handful of made up versions.
Besides having a meager backstory, Daisy has nearly no progression as a character from the beginning to the end of the book. At first she is clearly in despair over the fact that her husband is seeing another woman. In reference to Tom, she herself tells Nick, “‘Well, I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything” (16). On top of her difficulties with Tom, she begins to experience even more emotions through her encounters with Gatsby. Based on Jordan’s description of their past together, and the time they spend throughout the book, it starts to become evident that the two will end up back together. Yet surprisingly, she remains loyal to Tom after everything she has been through. This decision alone resembles that of a throwaway character. Daisy held all of the potential to be a strong female character, defeating the norms of most women in this time period. However, her decision to remain with Tom writes her as the exact same character she was before she met Gatsby again. Therefore, it would seem that Fitzgerald’s only purpose for this character was to be used as a motivator for Gatsby. Had she chose him, it would have made for a far more interesting reaction to his death, by both her and Tom. Although perfection in writing is nearly impossible, this minor plot point could have completely altered Fitzgerald’s story for the better.

message 50: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Alfrey-Bethke | 5 comments The Great Gatsby is in almost every way a perfect novel, but in the end Fitzgerald failed, due to the narrator of the story, Nick Carraway. While the rest of the characters in the novel are all highly developed with clear histories, Nick seems to exist for the sole purpose of narrating the story. If Fitzgerald wished to write a perfection novel, he should have narrated the story from an objective point of view.
Using Nick as the lens through which the story was viewed caused Fitzgerald’s writing to become confusing and cluttered. And his character choices for Nick leads to a general dislike for the person whom the audience is supposed to listen to. In the first chapter, Nick states that he is “inclined to reserve all judgments” (1) and then proceeds to spend the rest of the book critiquing all around him. It constantly appears that Nick does not like a single person in the novel, stating things such as “I disliked him so much by this time that I didn't find it necessary to tell him he was wrong.” (150) Although it can be assumed that Nick was intended to be a character with his own feelings with whom the audience could commiserate, he managed to become exactly the opposite. It is virtually impossible to connect with the character, and his critiques on the world around him not only make the audience dislike him, but also leave them in a state of confusion as to what they are supposed to draw from each critique. Fitzgerald’s choice to leave Nick as an underdeveloped character who seems to exist for the sole purpose of laying out judgments and providing his own tangled up views on the events that occur in the end caused his writing to be far from the perfect novel he intended it to be. If he had developed the character more clearly and used him as an actual tool to further the plot instead of a passive bystander, the novel would have completed its intended goal.

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