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The Great Gatsby Study Guide

Key facts on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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2021-10-11 21:43:08
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Cards in this guide (16)
Full Title

The Great Gatsby

Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Point Of View

Nick Carraway narrates in both first and third person, presenting only what he himself observes. Nick alternates sections where he presents events objectively, as they appeared to him at the time, with sections where he gives his own interpretations of the story’s meaning and of the motivations of the other characters.

Tone

Nick’s attitudes toward Gatsby and Gatsby’s story are ambivalent and contradictory. At times he seems to disapprove of Gatsby’s excesses and breaches of manners and ethics, but he also romanticizes and admires Gatsby, describing the events of the novel in a nostalgic and elegiac tone.

Tense

Past

Setting (Time)

Summer 1922

Settings (Place)

Long Island and New York City

Protagonist

Gatsby and/or Nick

Major Conflict

Gatsby has amassed a vast fortune in order to win the affections of the upper-class Daisy Buchanan, but his mysterious past stands in the way of his being accepted by her.

Rising Action

Gatsby’s lavish parties, Gatsby’s arrangement of a meeting with Daisy at Nick’s

Climax

There are two possible climaxes: Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy in Chapters 5–6; the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom in the Plaza Hotel in Chapter 7.

Falling Action

Daisy’s rejection of Gatsby, Myrtle’s death, Gatsby’s murder

Themes

The decline of the American dream, the spirit of the 1920s, the difference between social classes, the role of symbols in the human conception of meaning, the role of the past in dreams of the future

Motifs

The connection between events and weather, the connection between geographical location and social values, images of time, extravagant parties, the quest for wealth

Symbols

The green light on Daisy’s dock, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, the valley of ashes, Gatsby’s parties, East Egg, West Egg

Foreshadowing

Dasiy’s unattainability, Tom’s relationship with Myrtle, Gatsby’s fate, and Myrtle’s hit-and-run death.

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