Dec 7, The Great Gatsby:
Historical context[ edit ] Set on the prosperous Long Island ofThe Great Gatsby provides a critical social history of America during the Roaring Twenties within its fictional narrative.
That era, known for widespread economic prosperity, the development of jazz music, flapper culture, new technologies in communication motion pictures, broadcast radio, recorded music forging a genuine mass culture, and bootleggingalong with other criminal activity, is plausibly depicted in Fitzgerald's novel.
Fitzgerald uses many of these societal developments of the s to build Gatsby's stories, from many of the simple details like automobiles to broader themes like Fitzgerald's discreet allusions to the organized crime culture which was the source of Gatsby's fortune.
Today, there are a number of theories as to which mansion was the inspiration for the book. Fitzgerald was a young man from Minnesota, and, like Nick, who went to Yalehe was educated at an Ivy League school, Princeton.
Fitzgerald is also similar to Jay Gatsby in that he fell in love while stationed far from home in the military and fell into a life of decadence trying to prove himself to the girl he loved. Fitzgerald became a second lieutenant and was stationed at Camp Sheridan in Montgomery, Alabama. There he met and fell in love with a wild year-old beauty named Zelda Sayre.
Zelda finally agreed to marry him, but her preference for wealth, fun, and leisure led her to delay their wedding until he could prove a success. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was driven by his love for a woman who symbolized everything he wanted, even as she led him toward everything he despised.
He rents a small house on Long Islandin the fictional village of West Egg, next door to the lavish mansion of Jay Gatsbya mysterious multi-millionaire who holds extravagant parties but does not participate in them. Nick drives around the bay to East Egg for dinner at the home of his cousin, Daisy Fay Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, a college acquaintance of Nick's.
They introduce Nick to Jordan Baker, an attractive, cynical young golfer. She reveals to Nick that Tom has a mistressMyrtle Wilson, who lives in the " valley of ashes ,"  an industrial dumping ground between West Egg and New York City. Not long after this revelation, Nick travels to New York City with Tom and Myrtle to an apartment that Tom uses like a hotel room for Myrtle, as well as other women whom he also sleeps with.
At Tom's New York apartment, a vulgar and bizarre party takes place. It ends with Tom physically abusing Myrtle, breaking her nose in the process, after she says Daisy's name several times, which makes him angry. The Plaza Hotel in the early s Nick eventually receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's parties.
Nick encounters Jordan Baker at the party and they meet Gatsby himself, an aloof and surprisingly young man who recognizes Nick because they were in the same division in the Great War.
Through Jordan, Nick later learns that Gatsby knew Daisy through a purely chance meeting in when Daisy and her friends were doing volunteer service work with young officers headed to Europe. From their brief meetings and casual encounters at that time, Gatsby became and still is deeply in love with Daisy.
Gatsby had hoped that his wild parties would attract an unsuspecting Daisy, who lived across the bay, to appear at his doorstep and allow him to present himself as a man of wealth and position.
Having developed a budding friendship with Nick, Gatsby uses him to arrange a reunion between himself and Daisy. Nick invites Daisy to have tea at his house without telling her that Gatsby will also be there.
After an initially awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy begin an affair over the summer. At a luncheon at the Buchanans' house, Daisy speaks to Gatsby with such undisguised intimacy that Tom realizes she is in love with Gatsby.
Though Tom is himself an adulterer, he is outraged by his wife's infidelity. He forces the group to drive into New York City and confronts Gatsby in a suite at the Plaza Hotelasserting that he and Daisy have a history that Gatsby could never understand. In addition to that, he announces to his wife that Gatsby is a criminal whose fortune comes from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities.
Daisy decides to stay with Tom, and Tom contemptuously sends her back to East Egg with Gatsby, attempting to prove that Gatsby cannot hurt her. On the way back, Gatsby's car strikes and kills Tom's mistress, Myrtle.
Nick later learns from Gatsby that Daisy, not Gatsby himself, was driving the car at the time of the accident. Myrtle's husband, George Wilson, falsely concludes that the driver of the yellow car is the secret lover he suspects his wife had.
He learns that the yellow car is Gatsby's, fatally shoots him, and then turns the gun on himself.
Nick organizes an unsettlingly small funeral for Gatsby which none of Gatsby's associates, only one of his partygoers and his estranged father Henry Gatz, attend. Disillusioned with the East, Nick moves back to the Midwest. Major characters[ edit ] Nick Carraway —a Yale University graduate from the Midwest, a World War I veteran, and, at the start of the plot, a newly arrived resident of West Egg, age 29 later He also serves as the first-person narrator of the novel.
He is Gatsby's next-door neighbor and a bond salesman. He is easy-going, occasionally sarcastic, and somewhat optimistic, although this latter quality fades as the novel progresses. He is more grounded and more practical than the other characters, and is always in awe of their lifestyles and morals.
Jay Gatsby originally James "Jimmy" Gatz —a young, mysterious millionaire with shady business connections later revealed to be a bootleggeroriginally from North Dakota.
He is obsessed with Daisy Buchanan, a beautiful debutante from Louisville, Kentucky whom he met when he was a young military officer stationed at the Army's Camp Taylor in Louisville during World War I.Explanation of the famous quotes in The Great Gatsby, including all important speeches, comments, quotations, and monologues.
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The Great Gatsby: Nick versus Gatsby Mainframe computers analyze information and present it so that the observer is able to make accurate observations. In The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator, Nick Carraway, tells a story in which Jay Gatsby tries to attain happiness through wealth.
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Home / Literature / The Great Gatsby SHMOOP PREMIUM Summary SHMOOP PREMIUM SHMOOP PREMIUM × Close Cite This Source. Close. Topics ; Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist.