Questions for study with ideas for answers
Question: What are the good and bad aspects of Nick Carraway’s narration of the book?
His attributes are honesty and tolerance, which soon result in him gaining the confidence and trust of those around him who feel they can confide in him.
His indecisiveness is evident as he is able to perceive faults in the other characters, but is reluctant to act accordingly, e.g.
it is clear early on that Jordan Baker is a habitual liar, and dishonest, but Nick turns a blind eye to her flaws.
What are the differences between the residents of East and West Egg districts of Long Island? Detail anything they have in common and indicate what sets them apart from each other.
The East Egg residents are those who have inherited wealth, the aristocrats. The Buchanan’s are the main characters of the book living here, and they form the establishment.
In West Egg are the ‘newly rich’ e.g. Gatsby who lives in a huge mock palace projecting an image of grossness.
Nick, as a middle class conservative, resides in a bungalow befitting his station in life.
Apart from their wealth, the aristocrats and ‘newly rich’ have little in common.
Question: In what way does Fitzgerald’s life parallel the life of Gatsby?
Under achievement at school; enlisted for the Army at the end of World War 1; in love with women full of vitality and going to great lengths to impress them; indulging in excessive and reckless living; acquiring great wealth at a young age. To win the love of the one he idolised Fitzgerald, like Gatsby, had to go down a road that led to a lifestyle he hated.
Question: The Great Gatsby is rich in symbolism. Give examples of this.
The green light – Daisy’s home, Gatsby’s dream
Wolfsheim’s cufflinks (human teeth) – sleazy character with a criminal background
Yellow Rolls Royce – Gatsby’s status symbol and the means of Myrtle’s death
Dr. T. J. Eckleburg advertising hoarding – eyes of God for Wilson later on in the plot who’s on light blue eyes suggest a
spiritless resident of the Valley of Ashes
Dan Cody – instrumental in Gatsby’s early education, he symbolises the archetypal American – a man
who acquired great wealth, but was incapable of using it for good, only for self-destructive purposes.