The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Chapters 1-3)
Sydney Bridges, Briana Coombs, Allison Janos, Jahlil Shabazz

Question 1: We see all the action of The Great Gatsby from the perspective of one character whose narration seems to be shaped by his own values and temperament. how is Nick characexternal image sw_gatsby.jpgterizes, what does he value, and how do his character and his values influence our understanding of the action of the novel?
· In the beginning of the story, the main character, Nick Carraway, is characterized by his own description of himself. He starts his description by using a quote from his father:
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” (Gatsby 1)
· With this quote in the readers mind, they are inclined to believe that Nick is an honest person based on the advice his father gave him. His father suggests that Nick shouldn’t judge others without taking into consideration that they may not have been raised in a privileged family like Nick was. Nick then goes on to say:
"...I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores." (Gatsby 1).
· He thinks of himself as completely nonjudgmental while retelling his story. However, in reality, based on the way he tells the story and describes each of the characters, it is shown that Nick is actually very judgmental. When describing characters such as Daisy and Tom Buchanan, he can’t help but use judgment when speaking about them:
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy. They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together.” (Gatsby 179)
· Nick dislikes Tom and Daisy’s carelessness with their money. The main connection they have with each other is the security they feel with their wealth. Tom is able to give money to Daisy to appease her and Daisy is able to throw it away on petty things that she doesn’t need without giving another thought.

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Question 2: Early in the novel, Nick says of Gatsby that he "turned out all right at the end" (p.2) Later, however, after he tells Gatsby "You're worth the whole damn bunch put together" (154) he abruptly calls this "the only compliment I ever gave him because I disapproved of him from beginning to end." What does this curiously ambivalent admiration for Gatsby tell us about Nick, and especially about his relation to Gatsby's "incorruptible dream?"

· Nick’s feelings for Jay Gatsby were mixed throughout the story. In the beginning, Nick admired Jay Gatsby for his wealth, social status, and his determination for the ‘American Dream’.
· Nick is also fascinated with Gatsby’s different way of viewing life. Instead of the obsession with money that Nick sees with his other friends such as Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Gatsby is more obsessed with happiness and doing whatever it takes to obtain it. Nick can’t help but admire Gatsby’s love for Daisy and how he is willing to do whatever it takes to make her happy. Unlike Tom Buchanan, who cares more about his money than about his wife, Gatsby will put Daisy before everything.
· He also admires how Gatsby isn’t obsessed with his money like Tom and Daisy are. Gatsby is wealthy and he is socially popular, but his life doesn’t revolve around his money. He cares more about his happiness and Daisy then anything else.
· On the other hand, Nick dislikes Gatsby’s ascent to wealth. Gatsby had gained his money from bootlegging which does not sit will with Nick. He believes in wealth coming from honest, hard labor, which he does not believe that Gatsby’s wealth came from.

Question 3: How is Wolfhseim, along with the anti-Semitism informing his characterization, important to shaping the conflicts of the novel?
  • Meyer Wolfsheim is a character that the reader is introduced to for only a brief period of time. Although he is a mysterious character, we learn alot about Gatsby through him. That he is a business "gonnection" of Gatsby's suggests to the reader that maybe Gatsby's wealth isn't as honest as was once thought, and the fact that he is still friends makes the reader wonder if they are still in business together.

  • During the 1920s, anti-sematism in America was very high. They blamed them for their greed and pinned them as the main cause for corruption of the nation. Wolfsheim is a stereotype of the Jewish people in the 1920s.