American Literature 03.05.2016 (2016)Apunte Inglés
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God will help us go through the Valley of Ashes. The book’s symbolism goes back to
the Bible and Classical myths. P. 30 ‘dismal’ is reminiscent of an atmosphere of death and
condemnation. The Wilsons and Tom’s mistress are the ‘others’. To show his power, Tom uses
mistresses, from the lower stratum. ‘I first met...’ p. 30. Middle-high class men were expected
to have mistresses because the legal wife was to be sexually respected. Full desire was to be
projected on a mistress. Women were de-sexed. The mistress lives in the Valley, she’s an
It’s the portrayal of the other side of The American Dream. They are condemned to not ‘make it’. In this sense, it is a naturalistic novel. Their wives were fine with their husbands having mistresses. It’s part of the game. He takes readers by the hand and shows us his contradictory statements. We get to know Gatsby through Nick.
‘blond, spiritless man...’ page 31. ‘thickish’ page 31. ‘faintly stout’ page 31. In a way, she’s an ‘amount of flesh’. He’s already stealing this sexuality.
‘walking though her husband...’ page 31. The husband doesn’t count, he’s a ghost --> ‘mingling immediately...’ page 32. ‘We are what we read’.
Chapter III. Party. ‘blue’ page 45 night symbolism. ‘I had been actually invited’ page 47.
‘Jay Gatsby’ page 47. His real name. ‘majestic hand’. Who else could it be. Problem of performance, artificiality. Clothing is extremely important. Dressed in white were the rich to hide the dirtiness of their soul. Poor people dressed in dark colours to mask this.
‘Young Englishman’ page 48. Why invite them in a context of Anglofilia and Anglofobia? They gave a sense of richness to these parties.
Where does The Great Gatsby’s money come from? ‘He doesn’t want trouble’ page 49.
‘German spy during the war’ page 50. Speculations on where it comes from. ‘They’re real’ page 51. More suspense to his identity. ‘Belasco’ page 52. This dramatist brought hyper-realism onto the American stage.
‘Old sport’ page 54. It’s Gatsby. ‘I’m Gatsby’ page 54. ‘old sport’ page 54. ‘whose elaborate formality...’ page 54. Sense of absurd, artificiality... Nick recognizes it’s fake, he’s pretending, the sense of mystery goes on and on. ‘he was picking his words with care’ page 55.
‘he was an Oxford man’ page 55. The speculation continues throughout the chapter.
Page 62: second time Nick reports to have seen Gatsby. He talks about himself, work, his relationship with Jordan for the rest of the chapter.
Chapter IV. Gatsby is interested in getting friendly with Nick. ‘bootlegger’ page 67.
Page 69: beginning of Gatsby’s relationship with Nick. Page 70 ‘cream colour [...] monstrous length’, important to know who the killer of his wife had been. Then he gets shallow: ‘elaborate road-house next door’. Page 71: we should assume Gatsby is telling the truth ‘I am the son of some wealthy people...’, ‘It’s a family tradition’. Beginning of the topic of identity.
Unybook: arodrigueslopez Construction of identity. Process of self-construction, it’s what he’s about, the possibility of assuming a new identity. It’s traditional in America (protestant work ethics).
Success and happiness go hand in hand, you are one of the elite. Rick and educated like Gatsby. ‘My family all died and I came into...’ page 71. He has evidence of his identity: ‘piece of medal’ page 72, ‘photograph’ page 73. ‘Then it was all true’ page 73. Part 1, part 2, part 3 of page 75’s paragraph. In Chapter I Tom reads Stoddard’s volume ‘The Rise...’. In Gatsby’s library, Stoddard’s lectures are also mentioned. Nick, salesman, driving next to Gatsby in the limousine. At the end of this chapter, Nick reacts and related Gatsby to two sort of people: South Eastern Europe immigrants (scum of immigration) and Negroes.
In a way, the very rich, anxiety that their supremacy is threatened by the rise of new immigration. Question of appropriation of the high-class places by the working class. Gatsby represents this. He does not belong.