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The Great Gatsby
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Past Group Reads > The Great Gatsby: Sep 8-14, Chapters 3-4

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

Jenn | 303 comments Mod
Welcome to week 2 of our reading and discussion of The Great Gatsby. This week we will read chapters 3 and 4. Please avoid any discussion of the book past chapter 4. Thank you and happy reading!

Bill Kupersmith | 125 comments “We stayed there two days and two nights, 130 men with sixteen Lewis guns, and when the infantry finally arrived, they found the insignia of three German divisions among the heaps of dead.”

The Lewis Gun was a light machine gun of the First World War but Gatsby’s combat exploits are obviously wildly exaggerated. But though Nick is a veteran, he doesn’t betray any scepticism. Why?

Amle | 28 comments I still don't like Nick. I don't trust his observations and he doesn't seem to be very good at reading people. His listing of people at Gatsby’s parties during the summer was something I only briefly skimmed through. I didn’t feel interested in that at all, I would have much rather had the account of the plane trip with Gatsby but he only mentions it in passing as something that happened. His interest in Jordan seems superficial and his casual observation of her dishonesty and bad driving does not endear him to me. I also don’t trust him to be an honest person, as he calls himself.

Gatsby is interesting. He carefully dresses up in this outer veneer of a human hyperbole. It is interesting to see all these people not really caring about the host of the party, not trying to get to know him but preferring to gossip and gather around at his house, as it is the place to be. It illuminated the superficial society and the game everyone seems to be playing, acting as if they’re better than they are.
Gatsby is telling the most extraordinary stories about his wealth, wealth that we later get to assume have been acquired in some less honest way after the lunch. His stories about his adventures in Europe and the war seem exaggerated and he conveniently carries around evidence to convince Nick.
We get these two conflicting images of Gatsby, the lovesick romantic and the exaggerated and detached symbol of wealth and success.

I might be way off in my interpretation, but like it.

Bill Kupersmith | 125 comments I wondered whether Gatsby’s “hydroplane” was an aircraft with floats or a speedboat and too was disappointed on not seeing Long Island from above. But I suspect Fitzgerald may never have done that himself. In 1922 there were plenty of ex-war ‘barnstormer’ pilots about who could ‘take you up for a spin’ (perhaps literally) but Fitzgerald may have lacked the desire or opportunity.

Amle | 28 comments For me, personally, I was more aching for further study of Gatsby, this person that so many had talked about. And the idea of Nick spending time with him, one on one, would give more opportunity to see the man. But we never got that and I felt robbed of further "first" impressions. There must have been a lot that we could have been able to learn from such an outing.

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