The Great Gatsby - March 8.odt

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17 Apr 2012
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March 8, 2012
ENGC80 – Modernist Narrative
The Great Gatsby
Highly romantic quest – rags to riches story
Vague, optimistic and illusive promise – the story of capitalism
Money is not only power but also a source of attraction
Ideal love and success is achieved through material wealth
Nick Carraway Functions
A reason why Fitzgerald chooses to focus the narrative through Nick Carraway
To show discrepancy between Gatsby's dream and Nick's reality
But we have to question or not Nick Carraway questions things – does he provide a critique of
Gatsby's life? After all, he has pride in being honest and truthful
What does Nick's perspective allow us to see of the very appeal of unreality
Why does Nick attach himself to Gatsby if he attaches himself to appalling sentimentality
This book does not reject one side of the binary in favor of another
"Great" in the title is both ironic and sincere
Nick's Language
How does he construct his sentences
Voice is a composite of style, tone and values
So what can we say about his style, values, and tone?
Passage (148-149 – When Gatsby visits Daisy)
Nick's language is very poetic, lyrical, descriptive
Sensual
Appositive style
Style that supplements itself = commas, extra clauses
Nick does this quite a bit
He's constructing a new reality
It's very suggestive, not exactly concrete
It's all an elaboration of the "mystery" mentioned at the beginning
The sentences don't just end, they push forward
His language seems to fill up the house (like furniture)
Nick ascribes to a certain romanticism through the way he speaks despite the fact that he
finds Gatsby's sentimentality appalling at times
This is something that he imagines – a reconstruction of Gatsby's experience
Double-focalization
Nick seeing Gatsby seeing Daisy's house
1936 Fitzgerald wrote an essay called "The Crack Up"
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the
same time, and still retain the ability to function".
Symbolic power of Fitzgerald's sentences/language
Juxtaposition
Double-vision
Foundation of double-vision is polarity – the setting of extremes against each other?
Many authors of modernist texts make their world unreal = provoking in us a level of discomfort
Suggest alternate ways of knowing the world
How is this novel transforms real and unreal
How does Nick transform reality – from description to imaginative
pg 95
Nick's language symbolically transforms his surroundings
Sort of like the character Jim Burden in My Antonia
Nick constructs a mythic sense of self
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