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The Great Gatsby

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Titulek: The Great Gatsby
Datum vložení: 16.2.2008
Referát vložil: chef

 

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F. S. Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby


Character description:

Jay Gatsby - His real name is James Gatz. Jay is very rich and organizes big parties at his mansion at West Egg in the east of America. All his life he has a big dream - to be with the girl he loves (Daisy) - and makes everything for achieving it. He fell in love with her when he was young and had no money and she was from a rich family. After years, Daisy marries Tom Buchanan, wealthy and perspective man. From a poor boy James became an extreme upstart Jay, who hopes he can get Daisy back by his wealth.

Nick Carraway - Nick is the narrator of this story and also connects the main characters. He arrives in West Egg for working here as a businessman. Daisy is his cousin, Tom was his university schoolmate and Jay Gatsby is his neighbor.

Daisy - Jay’s only love. She was always surrounded by wealth, beauty and men. She loved Gatsby when she was young, but she didn’t want to wait for him and married Tom. She is superficial and money means a lot to her.

Tom Buchanan - Tom lives with Daisy at East Egg in an expensive mansion. He is dominant, arrogant and has a lover called Myrtle Wilson, who plays an important role in the plot.

Myrtle Wilson - Myrtle has a husband called George. She likes money, so Tom is an ideal lover for her.
George B. Wilson - Owner of a car service and Myrtle’s husband, he loves her a lot.
Jordan Baker - A young, self-confident and a little bit arrogant golf player, Daisy’s friend; Nick likes her.

The plot:

The story is situated at West and East Egg in the east of America in the twenties of the 20th century. Nick Carraway arrives one summer to West Egg and settles down there. He realizes that his cousin Daisy lives at East Egg and one day he visits her and his husband Tom Buchanan in their luxury house, where he meets Jordan Baker, a beautiful, self-confident golf player. Tom is arrogant and has a lover called Myrtle, which everyone knows. Right next to Nick’s house lives Jay Gatsby, who is well-known for organizing big parties at his spectacular mansion. Nick is invited to one of his parties, where he meets Jordan and feels that he likes her. He speaks to a guy, who knows him from the war, and after a while he introduces himself as Jay Gatsby. He says that he’s from a rich family from Northwest, studied at Oxford and after all his relatives died, he inherited an incredible amount of money. But in the course of the book Nick gets to know the truth about Gatsby’s life.
His real name is James Gatz and he changed it, because his parents were unsuccessful farmers and he didn’t want to live the same life as they did. He fell in love with Daisy, a “high-class” girl, but he was poor and couldn’t marry her. He started to work for Dan Cody, a millionaire, then he went to war, and because Daisy didn’t want to wait for him any more and wanted to have safe and secure, she married Tom Buchanan. In the war, Gatsby was promoted to major, and after the war he studied 5 months at Oxford. Then he started to fulfill his dream - to be so rich and wealthy that he could persuade Daisy to live with him. He really became rich by the illegal ways (smuggling of alcohol) and bought a house at West Egg, so that he could see Daisy’s house over the bay. He started to arrange fabulous parties that were much-frequented by many people (Gatsby didn’t even know all of them) and all this he did because he hoped that Daisy would appear one day.
He asks people on the parties if they accidentally know her, when he meets Jordan and realizes that she’s Daisy’s friend - so he tells her everything. Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy to have a tea in Nick’s house, so that he could see her and talk to her. When Daisy sees Gatsby, she is fascinated by him, especially when he shows her the mansion, clothes and other things he has. Tom realizes that they two have too good a relationship and one day, when Nick and Gatsby are invited to Tom and Daisy’s house, the situation becomes acute and Gatsby wants Daisy to say that she doesn’t love Tom, but him, Gatsby. Tom makes Daisy say that she loves just him (Tom) and she does that. Then they all go to the city for entertainment, but when they are coming back, a bad accident happens. Daisy and Gatsby are in Gatsby’s car (Daisy drives) and behind them, in Tom’s car, sit Tom, Nick and Jordan. But as Daisy loses her temper, she drives fast and hits accidentally Myrtle, and then quickly disappears. Before this happens, Myrtle’s husband started to suspect her of having a lover and wanted to move away. They had a row and everything ended when she ran out onto the street. She is dead on the spot. George Wilson is terribly unhappy and almost crazy and thinks that the driver of a car was Myrtle’s lover and wants to find and kill him. Gatsby says that he drove the car, because he loves Daisy so much and Tom indicates Wilson, whose car it was, and sent him to Gatsby’s house. Wilson shots Gatsby and himself afterwards. Tom leaves quickly with Daisy and the case is closed as a tragedy caused by grief due to the woman’s death. Only Nick, Henry C. Gatz (Jay’s father) and some man take part in Gatsby’s funeral. Nick leaves West Egg and Jordan and the summer ends.

This book talks about the “American dream” and its consequence, as this dream reduces love and a success to wealth and money only. About the dreaming of better tomorrows that never materialize and mostly end tragically. Gatsby’s dream wasn’t just unrealized, it - she, Daisy - caused his death and threw her blame on him. Although he had a lot of money, almost no one liked him and he was lonely. And a similar disillusion was experienced by many the Americans, whose “American dream” of having a lot of money (which meant happiness) didn’t come true.


Francis Scott Fitzgerald
(1896-1940)

Fitzgerald was an American writer, who came from the family of Irish immigrants. He is called the author of the “jazz age” and he was also a representative of the “lost generation” that abortively tried to find happiness in materialistic America. In 1917 he gave up studying at the University in Princeton and went to war, where he fell in love with Zelda Layor, a writer, who came from the “better family”. After the war, he worked in an advertising agency and wanted to marry Zelda, but her father gave him the ultimatum - he had to write a book so that he could have enough money. His first novel is called The Side of Paradise and this book had a lot of success, so he could marry Zelda in 1920. In 1920´s and 1930´s, they lived in Europe, mostly in France, where he lived as a member of the wealthy elite, but he soon realizes that it isn’t a real happiness. Zelda falls ill (a mental disease) and he has to work at the Saturday Evening Post. In 1937 he worked as a film scenarist in Hollywood, but he had problems with alcohol and his health was getting worse. He died in 1940.
In his books (stories Diamond as Big as the Ritz, novels Tender Is the Night, The Great Gatsby, of course, The Side of Paradise) he writes especially about the middle-class in the 1920´s and 1930´s, he criticizes the whole American society in these days and also the “golden youth” after the World War I. This generation is called “the Jazz age” and is formed by rich and materialistic people, who like parties, alcohol etc. He also talks about people who hoped in the “American dream”, as I have already mentioned. As we can see, his life is reflected in his books - he was born in a poor family and wanted a girl from a wealthy family, so he had to earn a lot of money to marry her. His dream in contrast to Gatsby’s dream was realized, but after years he saw that money isn’t everything - Zelda was ill, his life was bad, he started to drink...

My opinion

I really liked The Great Gatsby, because I was intrigued by the plot and that’s what I like about books. He writes in a fresh way, without too long passages, which could be boring and I also liked the theme of the plot. I also think that it gave me a good picture of that generation and it is good to take something from it into one’s own life.

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