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foxycat
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The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3

[ Edited ]
I'm just dividing the book in thirds artificially, since it's so short. I've asked Krista if she was returning, as she was the original moderator. Meanwhile, let's just all post questions and topics together.

As I've just reread the book for the 4th time and know some of it by heart, there's a good chance I'll be posting spoilers unintentionally. I'll work on it.

We had started a few ideas in the previous thread about whether Nick is a reliable narrator, and the backgrounds of the main characters.

1--What's interesting is that they're not native New Yorkers; they all came from the Midwest and all had some previous connections with each other. Fitzgerald likewise was a transplant from Minnesota to Long Island, where he and Zelda lived very much like Gatsby and the Buchanans. She was the model for Daisy.

2--Does anyone have any evidence that Nick is not a reliable narrator? Leo took my word for it as if I were an expert :smileyvery-happy:, but I like to hear from anyone who has any evidence otherwise.

3--I also find Nick's relationship with Jordan puzzling. She says she likes him because he's not "careless" (End of Ch 3.) And like everyone else, she makes him her confidante. She's not an fluffy-brained flapper, she's the New Woman, independent and with her own career. But she's a bad driver, (ch 3), is suspected of cheating in her first tournament, and and one point he mentions that she lies. Yet he's still falling in love with her. Note-- knowing the quality of the (mostly Hearst) of papers at that time, the story can neither be proved or disproved. The issue never appears again in the novel.

I'm going off to work, but will check in again tonight.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-15-2007 02:06 PM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick - The Unreliable Narrator

I copied this from a website about Nick Carraway as a narrator:

Point of View

"Nick Carraway tells the story in first-person point of view. In describing and analyzing the characters, he sometimes relies on second-hand information, or hearsay, that he is unable to verify. For this reason, analysts of the novel sometimes refer to him as an unreliable narrator. However, he seems to do the best he can. His account, his commentary, and his interaction with the characters make him resemble the chorus in an ancient Greek tragedy."

And here is a definition of an unrealiable narrator from wiki, and Nick is on the list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreliable_narrator

Most sources find him unreliable, biased, and even tainted by hero-worship for Gatsby, which doesn't allow him to see Gatsby clearly. Nick can never really pierce the mystery that Gatsby is, a mystery that is often based on conjecture and rumor (Ch. 3 illustrates that very well). And we are seeing all through Nick's eyes. But I tend to find him as reliable as anyone can be.

At the end of Chapter 3 Nick says he's the only honest person that he knows. That's a pretty jaundiced view of the world, but do you believe him honest? If we don't believe him to be honest then we can't trust him at all as a narrator, don't you think?
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kiakar
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3



foxycat wrote:
I'm just dividing the book in thirds artificially, since it's so short. I've asked Krista if she was returning, as she was the original moderator. Meanwhile, let's just all post questions and topics together.

As I've just reread the book for the 4th time and know some of it by heart, there's a good chance I'll be posting spoilers unintentionally. I'll work on it.

We had started a few ideas in the previous thread about whether Nick is a reliable narrator, and the backgrounds of the main characters.

1--What's interesting is that they're not native New Yorkers; they all came from the Midwest and all had some previous connections with each other. Fitzgerald likewise was a transplant from Minnesota to Long Island, where he and Zelda lived very much like Gatsby and the Buchanans. She was the model for Daisy.

2--Does anyone have any evidence that Nick is not a reliable narrator? Leo took my word for it as if I were an expert :smileyvery-happy:, but I like to hear from anyone who has any evidence otherwise.

3--I also find Nick's relationship with Jordan puzzling. She says she likes him because he's not "careless" (End of Ch 3.) And like everyone else, she makes him her confidante. She's not an fluffy-brained flapper, she's the New Woman, independent and with her own career. But she's a bad driver, (ch 3), is suspected of cheating in her first tournament, and and one point he mentions that she lies. Yet he's still falling in love with her. Note-- knowing the quality of the (mostly Hearst) of papers at that time, the story can neither be proved or disproved. The issue never appears again in the novel.

I'm going off to work, but will check in again tonight.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-15-2007 02:06 PM




FoxyCat: Alot of authors I have read, you can see themselves in their writing if you go back and read some of their history. Such as the Brontes, Jane Austen and even some modern day writers. You said that Daisy was modeled after his wife which I thought of being true even before I knew this fact for sure. What character in "The Gatsby novel do you think mostly resembles Fitzgerald? Was Nick maybe the person that Fitzgerald wanted to be. The honest level headed one. Was he naive to think that money could buy love like Gatsby or like Tom who was a reckless non caring man who just wanted fun out of life. Leo and Kristy, answer also if you like. So history saids that they spent money recklessly and lived wild and so on, so that is why I think that Fitzgerald maybe wished to be like Nick. And maybe he was a combination of Gatsby and Tom. He seemed to have loved his wife and tried to forgive her for adultry so this could be the Gatsby in him. Just Pondering!
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick - The Unreliable Narrator

[ Edited ]
Good point, Leo. I also think Nick sees Gatsby a bit through rose-colored glasses, but is reasonably reliable as to facts and events. He says something like "Imagine, he made tremendous wealth, went all the way across the country, and bought a fabulous house just to ask Daisy to drop in some time." But Gatsby IS a romantic, never seeing D as she is until the end, and thinking all along that all he needs is wealth to win her.

Kiakar--an interesting question about Fitzgerald, but I can only conjecture what he was thinking. The Fitzgeralds had the money to spend, and had stayed in Europe after the war, but Scott was certainly not shallow. Maybe he is part Nick, observing and reporting what he saw, and partly Gatsby, falling for a fun-loving, careless woman. He is also highly critical of his own alcoholism, and at the end of the book Nick is a teetotaler.

Re:chapter3--I laughed at some of the inane chatter among the hangers-on at the party.

BTW--Krista is very ill and won't be back for a while.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-17-2007 02:13 AM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 --Alotted time for reading

How much time should we allot for chapter4s 1-3? I don't know what else you're all involved in. Would through next Friday (8/24) be enough?
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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kiakar
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick - The Unreliable Narrator

FoxyCat: I am very sorry to hear about Krista being ill. So are you going to write out some basic questions and we can kind of go on our own. Thank you for your help.
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kiakar
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 --Alotted time for reading



foxycat wrote:
How much time should we allot for chapter4s 1-3? I don't know what else you're all involved in. Would through next Friday (8/24) be enough?




Hi Foxycat: I didn't see this post before I wrote the last one. Through next Friday sounds fine with me. We will wait for Leo's reply. And anyone else who wants to discuss Gatsby with us.
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick's Romance

[ Edited ]
No, I'm not going to post some questions. WE'RE ALL going to post questions.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-18-2007 12:44 AM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick's Romance with Jordan

[ Edited ]
No, I'm not going to post some questions. WE'RE ALL going to post questions.
I had posted a query about N's attraction to Jordan (quoted below.) I've never been able to understand it. Any ideas?
Alas, I would be giving you a spoiler if I told you how it turns out.

I've been reading more on Zelda Fitzgerald. There's some of her in Jordan, too, I think more than in Daisy. She was a very talented woman, a writer, an artist, a ballet dancer. In fact, about 10 years ago I went to a program discussing her paintings and drawings, which had just been published together in one book.

http://www.flapperjane.com/July%20August/zelda.htm

--I also find Nick's relationship with Jordan puzzling. She says she likes him because he's not "careless" (End of Ch 3.) And like everyone else, she makes him her confidante. She's not an fluffy-brained flapper, she's the New Woman, independent and with her own career. But she's a bad driver, (ch 3), is suspected of cheating in her first tournament, and at one point he mentions that she lies. Yet he's still falling in love with her. Note-- knowing the quality of the (mostly Hearst) of papers at that time, the story can neither be proved or disproved. The issue never appears again in the novel.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-18-2007 12:43 AM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 --Alotted time for reading



kiakar wrote:


foxycat wrote:
How much time should we allot for chapter4s 1-3? I don't know what else you're all involved in. Would through next Friday (8/24) be enough?




Hi Foxycat: I didn't see this post before I wrote the last one. Through next Friday sounds fine with me. We will wait for Leo's reply. And anyone else who wants to discuss Gatsby with us.




Through next Friday is great. I have spread myself pretty thin this month, but I really want the opportunity to savor Fitzgerald's prose.
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3

1--What's interesting is that they're not native New Yorkers; they all came from the Midwest and all had some previous connections with each other. Fitzgerald likewise was a transplant from Minnesota to Long Island, where he and Zelda lived very much like Gatsby and the Buchanans. She was the model for Daisy.


That cannot be coincidence on Fitzgerald's part. Why make the key characters transplants? Are Nick and the Buchanan's occupying East and West Egg the way outsiders crash Gatsby's party. Is this Fitzgerald's way of showing that the twenties is an essentially rootless society attempting to create their own world - an unreal, unrealistic world?

And what of Gatsby's party and the wild, chaotic behavior of the guests? I find it mirrors the chaos of the recent war, and that chaotic behavior is so much more apparent to me after recently reading Edith Wharton and her late 19th century controlled, mannered society.





foxycat wrote:
I'm just dividing the book in thirds artificially, since it's so short. I've asked Krista if she was returning, as she was the original moderator. Meanwhile, let's just all post questions and topics together.

As I've just reread the book for the 4th time and know some of it by heart, there's a good chance I'll be posting spoilers unintentionally. I'll work on it.

We had started a few ideas in the previous thread about whether Nick is a reliable narrator, and the backgrounds of the main characters.

1--What's interesting is that they're not native New Yorkers; they all came from the Midwest and all had some previous connections with each other. Fitzgerald likewise was a transplant from Minnesota to Long Island, where he and Zelda lived very much like Gatsby and the Buchanans. She was the model for Daisy.

2--Does anyone have any evidence that Nick is not a reliable narrator? Leo took my word for it as if I were an expert :smileyvery-happy:, but I like to hear from anyone who has any evidence otherwise.

3--I also find Nick's relationship with Jordan puzzling. She says she likes him because he's not "careless" (End of Ch 3.) And like everyone else, she makes him her confidante. She's not an fluffy-brained flapper, she's the New Woman, independent and with her own career. But she's a bad driver, (ch 3), is suspected of cheating in her first tournament, and and one point he mentions that she lies. Yet he's still falling in love with her. Note-- knowing the quality of the (mostly Hearst) of papers at that time, the story can neither be proved or disproved. The issue never appears again in the novel.

I'm going off to work, but will check in again tonight.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-15-2007 02:06 PM

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 The transplanted Midwesterners

Good point, Leo, I would have to read more on Fitzgerald, but no, it's not a coincidence that everyone came from the Midwest. New York was the center of everything, business, culture, journalism, the publishing industry, moviemaking (the last one less now.). Also, along with Chicago, the top of the organized crime industry.

I've invited Wildflower to join us, as she has a vast literary background or teaches literature, or both. She'll join us after Wuthering Heights.

Did I explain this before? If so, forgive me. For any non-New Yorkers here, Long Island is a suburb just east of NYC, reachable easily by car (traffic permitting) or the Long Island Railroad. The Long Island Expressway is now called "The Longest Parking Lot in the World.":smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy:

The wildness of the parties was a microcosm of the '20's everywhere, not the war. It was a reaction to both the war and the world of Wharton. It reflected all that was new: dress, morals, bobbed hair, jazz, Prohibition, telephones, air travel, automobiles, votes for women. It was happening everywhere, but poorer people were going to speakeasies instead, and were adapting the new styles more slowly.

Did you take the telephones for granted? The middle and lower class didn't have phones till the '30's or '40's. When I worked on my genealogy, I found, at the NYC library, local directories from the '30's. They weren't phone directories, but address directories. Not a single phone number listed.


CallMeLeo wrote:
That cannot be coincidence on Fitzgerald's part. Why make the key characters transplants? Are Nick and the Buchanan's occupying East and West Egg the way outsiders crash Gatsby's party. Is this Fitzgerald's way of showing that the twenties is an essentially rootless society attempting to create their own world - an unreal, unrealistic world?

And what of Gatsby's party and the wild, chaotic behavior of the guests? I find it mirrors the chaos of the recent war, and that chaotic behavior is so much more apparent to me after recently reading Edith Wharton and her late 19th century controlled, mannered society.




Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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kiakar
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick's Romance with Jordan



foxycat wrote:
No, I'm not going to post some questions. WE'RE ALL going to post questions.
I had posted a query about N's attraction to Jordan (quoted below.) I've never been able to understand it. Any ideas?
Alas, I would be giving you a spoiler if I told you how it turns out.

I've been reading more on Zelda Fitzgerald. There's some of her in Jordan, too, I think more than in Daisy. She was a very talented woman, a writer, an artist, a ballet dancer. In fact, about 10 years ago I went to a program discussing her paintings and drawings, which had just been published together in one book.

http://www.flapperjane.com/July%20August/zelda.htm

--I also find Nick's relationship with Jordan puzzling. She says she likes him because he's not "careless" (End of Ch 3.) And like everyone else, she makes him her confidante. She's not an fluffy-brained flapper, she's the New Woman, independent and with her own career. But she's a bad driver, (ch 3), is suspected of cheating in her first tournament, and at one point he mentions that she lies. Yet he's still falling in love with her. Note-- knowing the quality of the (mostly Hearst) of papers at that time, the story can neither be proved or disproved. The issue never appears again in the novel.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-18-2007 12:43 AM





You are right, Foxycat about the familiarity between Jordan and Zelda. They both have talents and seem to be brilliantly alike in those ways. But I still feel there is more likeness to Zelda in Daisy than Jordan. Daisy seems to have the restlessness and the noncaring altitude I saw in Zelda reading her Bio online. But with Zelda, she wanted to be more than she was. So much more, that she might have brought her illness on herself even though it could have been in her back ground. She didn't feel her worth or what she thought she should be. Daisy was more carefree as if the world was going around on its axis for her alone.
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick's Romance with Jordan

[ Edited ]
Good point, kiakar. But Daisy's also a total idiot. In the first chapter, she says brilliantly "Do you always watch for the longest day and then miss it. I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it." She also calls Tom profound because he's "reading deep books with long words," referring to the racist piece of tripe he's been reading. When Gatsby shows her his house, she grabs his shirts and says "such beautiful shirts! I've never seen such beautiful shirts! " An airhead. I could quote more but I hate typing. LOL

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-21-2007 01:44 AM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Nick's Romance with Jordan



foxycat wrote:
Good point, kiakar. But Daisy's also a total idiot. In the first chapter, she says brilliantly "Do you always watch for the longest day and then miss it. I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it." She also calls Tom profound because he's "reading deep books with long words," referring to the racist piece of tripe he's been reading. When Gatsby shows her his house, she grabs his shirts and says "such beautiful shirts! I've never seen such beautiful shirts! " An airhead. I could quote more but I hate typing. LOL

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-21-2007 01:44 AM





This is so true, foxycat, about Daisy and Zelda! As was Zelda a skits in real life. So Fitzgerald used some of her atics for Daisy's character. I have worked with mental illness alot so I guess that is why Zelda kind of fastinates me alot and the shadows of her in Daisy that Fitzgerald shows. Somewhere a post of yours you said that Nick had alot of qualities that was like Fitzgerald. I have to agree and I think the ones he didn't he wanted to have. He wanted people to like and respect him I believe. So he wanted to think he had that honesty that people want to see in others.
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 The fast lane

I did take the telephones for granted! Good catch! But I didn't take the cars for granted. I noticed the first three chapters had several mentions of the automobile, including Myrtle's husband owning a garage and wanting to buy a car from Tom. (How sleazy to visit his lover's husband face to face. It shows his arrogance and lack of common decency!) You are right to point out that society is just getting faster paced with advanced technologies and mechanics. The airplane will soon be crossing oceans.

Nick seemed to be attracted to Jordan because of some of these modern qualities and her self-confidence. She's not too snobbish to go to Gatsby's party but she is at home in Buchanans' set as well. Like Nick, she bridges both worlds with outward ease. Puzzling that her possible dishonesty in the game doesn't bother him, if anything more forgiveable because she's a woman. I sensed some old-fashioned condescension there. What did others think? Does it mean that Nick is willing to turn a blind eye to deceit, deception... cheating?



foxycat wrote:
Good point, Leo, I would have to read more on Fitzgerald, but no, it's not a coincidence that everyone came from the Midwest. New York was the center of everything, business, culture, journalism, the publishing industry, moviemaking (the last one less now.). Also, along with Chicago, the top of the organized crime industry.

I've invited Wildflower to join us, as she has a vast literary background or teaches literature, or both. She'll join us after Wuthering Heights.

Did I explain this before? If so, forgive me. For any non-New Yorkers here, Long Island is a suburb just east of NYC, reachable easily by car (traffic permitting) or the Long Island Railroad. The Long Island Expressway is now called "The Longest Parking Lot in the World.":smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy:

The wildness of the parties was a microcosm of the '20's everywhere, not the war. It was a reaction to both the war and the world of Wharton. It reflected all that was new: dress, morals, bobbed hair, jazz, Prohibition, telephones, air travel, automobiles, votes for women. It was happening everywhere, but poorer people were going to speakeasies instead, and were adapting the new styles more slowly.

Did you take the telephones for granted? The middle and lower class didn't have phones till the '30's or '40's. When I worked on my genealogy, I found, at the NYC library, local directories from the '30's. They weren't phone directories, but address directories. Not a single phone number listed.


CallMeLeo wrote:
That cannot be coincidence on Fitzgerald's part. Why make the key characters transplants? Are Nick and the Buchanan's occupying East and West Egg the way outsiders crash Gatsby's party. Is this Fitzgerald's way of showing that the twenties is an essentially rootless society attempting to create their own world - an unreal, unrealistic world?

And what of Gatsby's party and the wild, chaotic behavior of the guests? I find it mirrors the chaos of the recent war, and that chaotic behavior is so much more apparent to me after recently reading Edith Wharton and her late 19th century controlled, mannered society.







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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Daisy

That is the harshest criticism of Daisy I have come across so far, but not undeserved. She seems to have a magnetic quality though, beauty, a musical voice - thrilling the imagination, but having very little depth. Should we blame her, her lifestyle, her upbringing? I feel people have asked little more of her than to be a beautiful doll.



foxycat wrote:
Good point, kiakar. But Daisy's also a total idiot. In the first chapter, she says brilliantly "Do you always watch for the longest day and then miss it. I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it." She also calls Tom profound because he's "reading deep books with long words," referring to the racist piece of tripe he's been reading. When Gatsby shows her his house, she grabs his shirts and says "such beautiful shirts! I've never seen such beautiful shirts! " An airhead. I could quote more but I hate typing. LOL

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-21-2007 01:44 AM


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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Daisy /Myrtle

[ Edited ]
I just lost my entire reply by closing it too soon :smileysad: , and I hate to type. In summary:

1-Yes about Jordan and the sexist double standard. Or at least he accepts it until later.
2-I agree about D's charm. N later says her voice "sounds like money."
3--Technology: You shouldn't have taken the cars for granted either. Autos weren't common among the middle class yet

Lingbergh would be crossing the Atlantic the year after publication of Gatsby. The changes in the '20's were really, (a teen expression, but) in the old sense: awesome.

Why do you think Tom is attracted to Myrtle? She's not really any brighter than Daisy, but has delusions of grandeur.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-22-2007 09:39 PM
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Daisy /Myrtle



foxycat wrote:
I just lost my entire reply by closing it too soon :smileysad: , and I hate to type. In summary:

1-Yes about Jordan and the sexist double standard. Or at least he accepts it until later.
2-I agree about D's charm. N later says her voice "sounds like money."
3--Technology: You shouldn't have taken the cars for granted either. Autos weren't common among the middle class yet

Lingbergh would be crossing the Atlantic the year after publication of Gatsby. The changes in the '20's were really, (a teen expression, but) in the old sense: awesome.

Why do you think Tom is attracted to Myrtle? She's not really any brighter than Daisy, but has delusions of grandeur.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-22-2007 09:39 PM




I saw Tom as a harsh cruel man who liked to inflict pain, for a rush or to dull the boredom he felt in his life. Myrtle had little self worth or self esteem it seemed. She wanted what she wanted and she took his crap to get it and I am sure a rich man was a thrill to her also and of course what she could get from him. Alot of it was purely sexual on Tom's part. Daisy represented to Tom as a porclain doll who needed smothering with affection and he needed a hard core myrtle to get his frustrations out and the sexual kind too. This is my opinion on it.
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Re: The Great Gatsby-Chapters 1-3 Daisy /Myrtle



kiakar wrote:


foxycat wrote:
I just lost my entire reply by closing it too soon :smileysad: , and I hate to type. In summary:

1-Yes about Jordan and the sexist double standard. Or at least he accepts it until later.
2-I agree about D's charm. N later says her voice "sounds like money."
3--Technology: You shouldn't have taken the cars for granted either. Autos weren't common among the middle class yet

Lingbergh would be crossing the Atlantic the year after publication of Gatsby. The changes in the '20's were really, (a teen expression, but) in the old sense: awesome.

Why do you think Tom is attracted to Myrtle? She's not really any brighter than Daisy, but has delusions of grandeur.

Message Edited by foxycat on 08-22-2007 09:39 PM




I saw Tom as a harsh cruel man who liked to inflict pain, for a rush or to dull the boredom he felt in his life. Myrtle had little self worth or self esteem it seemed. She wanted what she wanted and she took his crap to get it and I am sure a rich man was a thrill to her also and of course what she could get from him. Alot of it was purely sexual on Tom's part. Daisy represented to Tom as a porclain doll who needed smothering with affection and he needed a hard core myrtle to get his frustrations out and the sexual kind too. This is my opinion on it.





I agree with you completely here, kiakar. Tom is a dumb brute, and Myrtle is his equivalent, but without the benefit of education and money. And like him, she lacks depth. Maybe that's why I have little sympathy for her. That party in their cozy Manhattan love nest comes across as absurd and pathetic.
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