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The Great Gatsby
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Past Group Reads > The Great Gatsby: Sep 1-7, Chapters 1-2

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message 1: by Jenn, moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Welcome to week 1 of our reading and discussion of The Great Gatsby. This week we will read chapters 1 and 2. Please avoid any discussion of the book past chapter 2. Thank you and happy reading!


Bill Kupersmith | 125 comments Reading again after many years and found I’d totally forgotten Myrtle, though recalled the giant eye and the valley of ashes (our teachers alerted us to look for symbolism). Obviously a polar opposite to Daisy.


Armin (hellishome01) | 22 comments First chapter is accomplished, already fascinating how close to the original is the 74 film Claytons, which has already broken the narrative perspective of the novel through the long camera ride through the house of the just murdered Gatsby. With the direct focus on Nick, Luhrman's clip-aesthetic-oriented stripes are closer to Fitzgerald, breaking with tradition with numerous anachronisms.
The novel contains more of Nick's prehistory, or more entertainment in the love nest, I never realized that Nick should get cigarettes first so that Tom and Myrtle can disappear undisturbed in the bedroom, in the film everything is fixated on the mesalliances and Tom's brutal reaction, the novel myrtle is rather a fidele dickmadame, meaty is at least none of the film embodiments


message 4: by Jenn, moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
At this point, Gatsby, the title character, remains elusive and mysterious. He's mentioned briefly by Jordan Baker, and by Myrtle's sister. Both know him from a party they went to at his mansion, and they know he has money, enough to throw lavish parties. But we don't know much more. And at the end of the first chapter, Nick sees him standing in shadows looking out at the water. Everything about this scene suggests darkness and mystery surrounding the character of Gatsby.

It's interesting that this is the way we are introduced to the title character, with this air of mystery. What do you think the author was trying to achieve by introducing Gatsby this way?


Bill Kupersmith | 125 comments I expect readers would be very eager to meet Gatsby, and anticipate someone really grand.


Amle | 28 comments First time read for me and I was worried at the start about the narration. The style was heavy and pretentious, and Nick seemed like a person I wouldn't want to follow around.

I started enjoying myself more when we first met Daisy (and others) and things were actually happening instead of only being part of the internal narration. The interactions brought the story alive for me.

Tom is a wonderfully unpleasant character and I am looking forward to disliking him even more as we get further into the story.

Nick is still annoying me as he is just being pulled around to left and right, not standing up for his cousin or doing (hardly) anything that I would consider being the right thing to do.

It will be fun to continue reading and seeing what happens next.


Amle | 28 comments Armin wrote: "First chapter is accomplished, already fascinating how close to the original is the 74 film Claytons, which has already broken the narrative perspective of the novel through the long camera ride th..."

Did you just spoil the ending of the book?


message 8: by Jenn, moderator (last edited Sep 06, 2020 12:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Amle wrote: "First time read for me and I was worried at the start about the narration. The style was heavy and pretentious, and Nick seemed like a person I wouldn't want to follow around.

I started enjoying m..."


I agree about Nick. He just lets things happen in front of him, without doing anything. He knows that Tom is cheating on his cousin Daisy, but he doesn't do anything to stand up for his cousin or even talk to Tom about it. I would think it would at least bother him a little to know that his cousin was being deceived like that.


message 9: by Jenn, moderator (last edited Sep 06, 2020 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Armin wrote: "First chapter is accomplished, already fascinating how close to the original is the 74 film Claytons, which has already broken the narrative perspective of the novel through the long camera ride th..."

Armin, please be careful about spoilers. I understand that you were comparing the opening scene of the movie to the opening scene of the book, but here we are just discussing the book, and this thread is only for chapters 1 and 2. I hope you will continue to discuss the book with us, and perhaps hide any spoilers.


message 10: by Jenn, moderator (last edited Sep 06, 2020 12:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I’ ve wondered why Nick becomes so preoccupied with Gatsby. It seems that only the adjacent properties bring them together."

I think at first he's slightly interested in Gatsby as his neighbor, but maybe the repeated mentioning of him as someone he ought to be acquanted with intrigues him more. Jordan Baker says "You must know Gatsby." as if anyone who is anyone knows of course knows Gatsby.


message 11: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara | 12 comments My first time to read this book. The writing is absolutely beautiful, such lovely turns of phrase. The characters are not very admirable, are they?


message 12: by Armin (last edited Sep 07, 2020 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Armin (hellishome01) | 22 comments @jenn, Amle, I am sorry, I never believed that anybody did not know or remember somehow the end, the discussions indicated only re-reads, I am watching Clayton/Coppola as the Gatsby-Movie of my Generation every year and in double-feature with the Luhrman-Di-Caprio-Clip, since the new movie for the actual generation is out.


Jordi | 7 comments Like many I've read this book several times, typically as a fun summer read. Not since first reading it in high school have I approached it more closely. Something that stood out to me in the very beginning was the statement: "...it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."

This time around I think I'll pay attention to that "dust" - its qualities and the society that enables its accumulation.


Jordi | 7 comments Amle wrote: "First time read for me and I was worried at the start about the narration. The style was heavy and pretentious, and Nick seemed like a person I wouldn't want to follow around.

I started enjoying m..."


The writing can be a little wordy at time especially in contrast to the previous read, Summer.

Tom certainly comes off as brash and unlikeable. I'll be interested to see how you compare him to Gatsby once we get to know him better.


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