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The Great Gatsby [English Lang+Lit A Level] Cheat Sheet by

This is a cheatsheet on The Great Gatsby for English Literature and Language students (A Level). This is under the WJEC Exam board. The Great Gatsby will be on the third paper of this subject, you'll have a choice to answer 1 of 2 questions.

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\/ Chapter Discus­sions \/


Chapter 1

Nick Carraway introduces himself as the narrator and gives insight into his moral position. He's just moved to West Egg, a 'commuting town' near New York, to start a career in bonds (finance). He goes to dinner in East Egg with the Buchanans - his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom. At dinner he meets Jordan Baker - a profes­sional golfer. Tom is revealed to be a racist. He is also having an affair with an unnamed woman. Nick returns home and sees Gatsby next door, reaching out across the water towards a green light.
Key Termin­ology
Self-c­ons­cious narrator (narrator is aware they're telling the story); gramma­tically complex sentences; detached authorial stance (makes themselves seem detached from the story); retros­pective first-­person narrator; unreliable narrator; moral framework (setting up moral values of charac­ters); gradual introd­uction to setting and Gatsby; contrasts; setting; dialogue; romantic imagery; first character descri­ptions; use of light; poetic prose.
Fitzge­rald's use of an episodic structure and use of chaptering to set the scene of the novel is establ­ished; Fit's use of retros­pective narration signals to us that the charac­ters' fates have already been decided; Fitz's focus on charac­ter­isation is also establ­ished, as most of the main characters are introd­uced; Fitz's references to 'Midas and Morgan and Maecenas', mixing real and mythical people in relation to incredible wealth, hints that myth and reality will be mixed throughout the narrative; Fitz establ­ishes the moral framework of the novel through Nick's words on judgements and 'funda­mental decenc­ies'; Fitz's use of an unreliable narrator who sometimes misreads situat­ions, and Fitz's mixing of self-a­war­eness and arrogance in Nick's character, establish the novel's focus on complex contra­dic­tions; Fitz contrasts Gatsby's powerful desire (for a mysterious aim) with the East Eggers' lack of motivation or drive. Because this is the first thing we learn about Gatsby, the suggestion is that this is the most important aspect of his character; Fitz uses a shift in his presen­tation of light at the Buchanans' - from 'rosy coloured' to 'the glow faded' to 'artif­icial light' to reflect the fact that Nick's romantic views of Tom & Daisy's life have been shattered.
Key Lines
"Foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams­"; "­Don't believe everything you hear Nick"; "The unquiet darkne­ss"; "­Their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house"; "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like critic­izing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’"; "Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reacti­on"; "You make me feel uncivi­lized, Daisy"; "­"

Chapter 2

Nick meets Tom's mistress Myrtle and her husband George. They own a garage on the edge of the valley of ashes between West Egg and New York. Myrtle agrees to go to New York with Nick and Tom. Myrtle hosts an impromptu party in Tom's NY apartment. She invites her sister and the McKees, who live in the apartment below. They all get drunk. Tom and Myrtle argue and he breaks her nose.
Imagery of Dr TJ Eckleburg; geogra­phical descri­ption; images of waste; colloquial expres­sions of the Jazz Age; character descri­ption; use of precise detail; dialogue; reported speech; ghost imagery; sexual imagery; contrast of speech patterns; authorial intrusion; first person narrative voice; retros­pective voice; simulation of scene through Nick's drunken eyes; violence of verb to describe Tom who broke Myrtle's nose with his open hand, etc.
Fitzgerald somewhat distances Nick from the action to suggest that Nick wants to be seen as an objective narrator rather than a partic­ipant in their immoral lifestyle - but his judgem­ental language reflects his failure to do so; Ambigu­ities and oxymorons ("en­chanted and repell­ed", etc) remind us of the novel's focus on complex contra­dic­tions; Fitz's use of bleak and barren language in relation to the VofA provides a contrast to the brightness and beautiful exterior of the two Eggs: but also symbolises the moral decay and ugliness hidden underneath their sufaces. Long lists of objects made from ash emphasis the scale of the decay; Fitz' image of the "­tra­nsc­endent effort­" in the VofA signals how all men's energy is exhausted by just existing, in great contrasts to the opulence we've read of (and are about to read of) in the Eggs/NY; Fitz's use of colour imagery places Myrtle in direct contrast with Daisy; Fitz establ­ishes the prevalent theme of appearance vs. reality; Nick's alcohol consum­ption confuses and fragments his narration of events, in contrast with the poetic prose of chapter 1, signalling a loss of control and introd­ucing the themes of self-c­ontrol, greed and carele­ssness.
Key Lines
"But above the gray land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleb­urg... His eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground­"; "they look out of no face"; "­thi­ckish figure of a woman blocked out the light from the office door"; "­Here's your money- go and buy ten more dogs with it"; "­unp­rop­itious and bare"; "they say he's a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhel­m"; "­About half way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat . . . where ashes take the forms of houses­"; "­‘It’s really his wife that’s keeping them apart. She’s a Catholic, and they don’t believe in divorce.’ Daisy was not a Catholic, and I was a little shocked at the elabor­ateness of the lie.";


Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby's famous parties and visits his neighb­our's mansion for the first time. Nick spends the evening with Jordan Baker trying to find the host of the party, Jay Gatsby, but they just hear a lot of wild gossip and rumours. When Nick finally meets Gatsby he's nothing like what he expected. Gatsby speaks to Jordan about a private matter but Jordan refuses to tell Nick what Gatsby said. After the party Nick gives a brief descri­ption of his life in NY and his developing relati­onship with Jordan.
Exotic descri­ption; use of first-­person retros­pec­tive; unreliable narrator; setting; use of time; contrasts; dialogue; choric voices of rumour mongers (talking ambience from many people); drunken discourse; topical references (e.g. David Belasio, Roosev­elt); colour imagery; Gatsby's idiolect; self-c­ons­cious narration; romantic prose; structure; movement from the general to Nick's personal relati­onship with Jordan Baker, etc.
Fitzge­rald's poetic, sensory language lends a magical atmosphere to Gatsby's party; the initial descri­ption is romantic and poetic, but the narration increases in pace as the evening progresses until we get a sense of the wild excess and drunke­nness of the party, reflecting the depravity and hedonism of the wealthy in 1920s America; There's a sharp contrast between the guests' bad behaviour and the magical surrou­ndings which highlights Nick and Fitzge­rald's simult­aneous attraction and repulsion for the era; Fitz uses objects and props to reflect on some of the novel's key themes: the "­oranges and lemons­" are "­reduced to pulp" to signify the emptiness of the lifestyle (as an example); Fitz provides early hints that Gatsby has delibe­rately crafted, for himself, a persona - his books have never been read, etc; Fitz contrasts the popularity of Gatsby's party with his loneliness in the empty house to foreshadow chapter 9; Fitz has developed his charac­ter­isation of Nick, who has now begun to embrace the hedonism of Eastern life.
Key Lines
"­Casual innuendo and introd­uctions forgotten on the spot, and enthus­iastic meetings between women who never knew each others' names"; "I was one of the few actually invited. People were not invite­d—they went there. . . . Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admiss­ion."; "In the ditch beside the road, right-side up, but violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coupe which had just left Gatsby's drive not two minutes before­"; "I was immedi­ately struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted about. . . . I was sure they were selling something: bonds or insurance or automo­biles. They were at least agoniz­ingly agonis­ingly aware of the easy money in the vicinity and was convinced that is was theirs, for a few words in the right key"; "­Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known"; "­‘Ga­tsby. Somebody told me—’” The two girls and Jordan leaned together confid­ently. ‘Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.’ A thrill passed over all of us. The three Mr. Mumbles bent forward and listened eagerl­y.";

Chapter 4

Nick makes a list of some of the people who attended Gatsby's parties in the summer of 1922. Gatsby invites Nick to lunch in NY. Gatsby tells Nick a story about his past that includes going to Oxford: Gatsby "­hurried the phrase­" and "­swa­llowed it" as if he was lying. At lunch in "­hal­f-d­ark­nes­s" Nick meets Meyer Wolfsheim, a notorious gambler and cheat who "­fixed the World Series­". Nick meets Jordan for dinner and she explains that Gatsby and Daisy used to be in love.
Use of Jordan's account to tell the story of Daisy's past and her character (shift in narrative voice); use of French "­amo­ur"; use of the children's song; setting of Central Park; balance of Gatsby's and Daisy's pasts; use of contrast; use of voices to reveal Gatsby; poetic prose; use of symbolism; use of timetable for Nick to write names of Gatsby's guests; importance of July 5th (day after Indepe­ndence Day); use of exotic or bizarre names; movement from general overview to specific date (9am, late July 1922); use of Gatsby's direct address; use of "old sport"; irony; slow pace for unrave­lling mystery; use of Wolfsheim to heighten the seediness; use of asterisk to signal time passing; unreliable narration, etc.
Fitzge­rald's reported use of references tot he misbeh­aviour of Gatsby's party guests emphasises the darkness and crimin­ality beneath the seemingly carefree and lavish lifestyle: Gatsby symbolises the luxury­/co­rru­ption of the age; Fitz uses this chapter to give Nick and the readers their first real insight into the 'real Gatsby'- a man with such outrageous stories that we wonder what he's hiding- but, this is in contrast with Jordan's descri­ption, adding another layer of mystery; Fitz's shift in narrative voice, from Nick to Jordan, reminds the reader that the telling of this narrative is biased; Gatsby's obsession with Daisy symbolises the American Dream- but the fact that she's shallow, snobbish and fickle reflects the corruption of the American Dream, focused on the shallow pursuit of wealth, not reaping the rewards of hard work.
Key Lines
"­[Ga­tsby] was balancing himself on the dashboard of his car with that resour­cef­ulness of movement that is so peculiarly Americ­an—that comes, I suppose, with the absence of lifting work or rigid sitting in youth and, even more, with the formless grace of our nervous, sporadic games."­; "‘I’m going to make a big request of you to-day,’ he said . . . ‘so I thought you ought to know something about me. I didn’t want you to think I was just some nobody. You see, I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad thing that happened to me.’ He hesitated. ‘You’ll hear about it this aftern­oon.’"; "­[Wo­lfs­heim] flipped his sleeves up under his coat. ‘Yeah, Gatsby’s very careful about women. He would never so much as look at a friend’s wife.’­"; "It was dark now, and as we dipped under a little bridge I put my arm around Jordan’s golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking of Daisy and Gatsby any more, but of this clean, hard, limited person, who dealt in universal scepti­cism, and who leaned back jauntily just within the circle of my arm. A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excite­ment: ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.’­"; "But I can still read the grey names, and they will give you a better impression than my genera­lities of those who accepted Gatsby's hospit­ality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him"; "It was the first time he had called on me"; "He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purpos­eless splend­or"

Chapter 5

Nick and Gatsby arrange a date to invite Daisy for tea. Nick tells her to not bring Tom. The reunion between Gatsby and Daisy is awkward and uncomf­ortable so Nick leaves the room. After a while he returns and they decide to visit Gatsby's mansion. After a brief tour of the mansion Nick leaves Daisy and Gatsby to be alone together. Nick claimed disgust at Tom's affair in chapters 1 & 2, but here he is complicit - but fails to see so (perhaps his house's "­misted window­s" reflects this).
Romantic prose; use of naïve; first-­person retros­pective narrator; metaph­ysical imagery; self-c­ons­cious narrator; reminders that a story is being told; contrast of speech styles; unreliable narrator; musical imagery; use of Gatsby's speech idioms; symbolism of the clock; use of time; use of pathetic fallacy; innuendo; ambiguous lines; authorial intrusion; dialogue; use of colour; use of short statements and questions; use of details, etc
Fitz use of imagery of light throughout the chapter - Gatsby's mansion is "­blazing with light", he "­lit­erally glowed­" when he saw Daisy, the room fills with "­twinkle bells of sunshi­ne" and the chapter ends with "all the lights were going on in West Egg now". In chapter 1 the Buchannan dinner party ended with "­art­ificial light" and we can contrast this with the natural light Fitz uses in this reunion, which emphasises Nick's sympat­hetic (biased) perception of the lovers' joy and his presen­tation of gentle innocence; Fitz uses pathetic fallacy to suggest that the affair won't last ("po­uring rain", "damp mist"); Nick's dramatic tone (he worries if his house is "on fire" etc) is contrasted with G's distra­cted, preocc­upied tone ("I have been glancing into some of the rooms...") G is presented as vulnerable and his façade begins to crumble; Fitz's use of the falling "­def­unc­t" clock symbolises how time has stopped for G, a man fixated on the past; Fitz suggests again that G is "­unA­mer­ica­n"- he imports his shirts from Europe and has replicas of Englis­h/F­rench archit­ecture: the implicit rejection of American values and culture corrupts the core of the American Dream; Fitz compares Daisy's materi­alism when she admires G's posses­sions with G's idealism.
Key Lines
"­[Ga­tsby] hadn’t once ceased looking at Daisy, and I think he revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes. Sometimes, too, he stared around at his posses­sions in a dazed way, as though in her actual and astounding presence none of it was any longer real."; "‘If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,’ said Gatsby. ‘You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock. . . .’ Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal signif­icance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one."; "­There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everyt­hing. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, addition to it all the time. . . . No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart."­; "I carry a little business on the side, a sort of sideli­ne"; "And he added hollow­ly... 'old sport'­", "­'Don't bring Tom', 'what?', 'Don't bring Tom', 'Who is Tom?' she asked innoce­ntl­y"

Chapter 6

Nick explains that Gatsby is actually James Gatz from North Dakota who left home at a young age to seek his fortune. Gatsby changed his name at seventeen when he met Dan Cody, a self-made millio­naire. Tom is invited to one of Gatsby's parties and arrives with Daisy. Daisy is offended by West Egg and the debauchery of the party, while Tom gets the names and addresses of the pretty women. Gatsby wants Daisy to say that she never loved Tom so they can "wipe out" her marriage and start again. Readers suspect that Daisy is unlikely to want to leave the security and respec­tab­ility of being married to Tom.
Romantic prose; innuendo; naïve retros­pective narrator; ambiguous lines; metaph­ysical imagery; self-c­ons­cious narrator; reminders of story writing; contrast of speech styles; authorial intrusion; unreliable narrator; use of imagery; sequence of drunken voices like voices in a play; poetic prose; musica­lity, etc
Fitzge­rald's use of authorial intrusion in this chapter (when Nick rearranges the order of events in his telling of G's created persona to help the reader understand why G may be the way he is now) once again signals his unreli­abi­lity; Fitz foresh­adows Daisy's treachery and G's death in the story of Cody's death (betrayed by the women he loved); Fitz contrasts G's politeness and civility at the riding event with East Eggers' rudeness and lack of gratitude; At G's party, Nick's style of narration changes, reasse­rting it through Daisy's eyes. His language is sparse and dark compared to the poetic descri­ptions that made the earlier parties seem magical. Here it seems confusing and discordant ("ma­ny-­col­oured, many-keyed commot­ion­"): Daisy's presence has reminded Nick that he's become too used to the West Eggers' hedonistic lifestyle; Fitz doesn't provide a first-hand account of D&G's affair, affording it a degree of privacy (unlike with Tom's) to suggest that, according to Nick, it is more respec­table and sincere.
Key Lines
"­James Gatz—that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career­—when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on Lake Superior. It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach . . . but it was already Jay Gatsby who borrowed a rowboat . . . and informed Cody that a wind might catch him and break him up in half an hour."; "The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretr­icious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a sevent­een­-ye­ar-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end."; "‘My God, I believe [Gatsby is] coming,’ said Tom . . . ‘I wonder where in the devil he met Daisy. By God, I may be old-fa­shioned in my ideas, but women run around too much these days to suit me. They meet all kinds of crazy fish.’­"; "‘Who is this Gatsby anyhow?’ demanded Tom suddenly. ‘Some big bootle­gger?’ ‘Where’d you hear that?’ I inquired. ‘I didn’t hear it. I imagined it. A lot of these newly rich people are just big bootle­ggers, you know.’ ‘Not Gatsby,’ I said shortl­y."; "‘I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incred­ulo­usly. ‘Why of course you can!’"; "They were hysterical about things which in his overwh­elming self-a­bso­rption he took for granted. But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot. The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night"; "His parents were shiftless and unsucc­essful- his imagin­ation had never really accepted them as his parents at all"

Chapter 7

Gatsby stops holding parties and replaces all of his servants to prevent any gossip about Daisy's visits. Nick, G and J go for lunch at T & D's. Tom realises that Gatsby and Daisy are in love. They all go to NY. Tom stops for petrol and Wilson reveals that he knows Myrtle has been having an affair. In NY, Tom confronts Gatsby about his past and accuses him of being a bootle­gger. Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy never loved him (him, being Tom), but she claims that she did and decides to stay with Tom. Daisy and Gatsby drive home ahead of the others (Tom decides Daisy should ride back to Gatsby, essent­ially to rub it in Gatsby's face that Daisy chose him and not Gatsby). On the way back they hit Myrtle, Tom finds out that Gatsby's car was involved in the accident. Gatsby tells Nick that Daisy was driving but he'll take the blame. For some reason, Tom drove Gatsby's car to NY so he had to convince Wilson it wasn't him? There's a lot of confusing choices happening in this chapter
Fierce dramatic dialogue; theatrical tension of Tom's violent discourse; irony of Mendel­ssohn's Wedding March (?); use of pathetic fallacy; climax of Myrtle's death; reflective dreamlike ending; use of first person; use of contrast; weaving of the two stories (VofA and Eggs); haziness of prose to reflect drunke­nness; colloquial expres­sion; imagery off cars; contrast of male and female speech patterns; random voices; dramatic tension; use of natural imagery; musical imagery to describe Daisy/key single statements ("her voice is full of money"); ghost imagery of Dr TJ Eckleburg; reference to time; setting; use of Michaelis and free indirect speech; quiet doom laden ending to chapter, etc.
Fitzgerald converges different strands of the narrative here in the climax of the novel; the tone of the entire chapter is unsettling and sinister (the butler with the "­vil­lainous face" and G's lifestyle "­fallen in like a card house at the disapp­roval in her eyes"); Fitz uses conflict between G and T to bring to the surface the flaws in each character; Heat is used as a symbol of how everything is brought to the boil; Fitz gives G a new literary identity as the modern Trimalchio of the American Dream- whereas Petronius' Triman­lchio made his fortune through hard work, G's has been made via immoral, criminal activi­ties; Gatsby's careful, secretive behaviour is contrasted with Daisy's reckle­ssness (openly flirting with G, kissing him at lunch in front of J and N); Fitz compares the two cuckolded men (a man whose wife is cheating on him), T and W- one intern­alises his grief, the other expresses it. Myrtle is absent from the meeting between T and W as a symbol of how she has no control over her destiny; Fitz shifts the narrative back to first-­person perspe­ctive for her final sections of the chapter to describe the reaction to M's death. G retreats back, returning to his "­iso­lated vigil", echoing his first appearance in chapter 1.
Key Lines
"­[Wi­lson] had discovered that Myrtle had some sort of life apart from him in another world, and the shock had made him physically sick. I stared at him and then at Tom, who had made a parallel discovery less than an hour before—and it occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intell­igence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well."; "­Thi­rty—the promise of a decade of loneli­ness, a thinning list of single men to know, a thinning briefcase of enthus­iasm, thinning hair. But there was Jordan beside me, who, unlike Daisy, was too wise ever to carry well-f­org­otten dreams from age to age. As we passed over the dark bridge . . . the formidable stroke of thirty died away with the reassuring pressure of her hand. So we drove on toward death through the cooling twilig­ht."­; "­Mic­haelis and this man reached [Myrtle] first, but when they had torn open her shirtw­aist, still damp with perspi­ration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap, and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners, as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long."; "­[Daisy and Tom] weren’t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale—and yet they weren’t unhappy either. There was an unmist­akable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring togeth­er."­; "As obscurely as it had begun, his career as Trimalchio was over"; "I wanted somebody who wouldn't gossip. Daisy comes over quite often- in the aftern­oon."; "­Daisy and Jordan lay upon an enormous couch, like silver idols weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans" (reference to chapter 1's similar depiction of them);

Chapter 8

Gatsby waits all night outside the Buchan­nan's house in case Daisy needs him, but nothing happens. G tells N the truth about his past and his relati­onship with Daisy. Nick goes to work where he recieves a phone-call from J and makes an excuse not to see her. Nick describes the events that occurred just after Myrtle's death and hints that Wilson is headed to Gatsby's house. Nick returns from work and finds that Gatsby has been killed. Wilson's body is found nearby.
Ambiguous lines; diminuendo (the fall/c­ons­equ­ence) following Myrtle's death; metaph­ysical imagery; foreboding imagery; self-c­ons­cious narrator; reminders of story writing; contrast of speech styles; sensory imagery; narrative intrusion; use of Michaelis' voice; unreliable narrator; use of imagery; poetic prose; musica­lity; theatrical tension; use of pathetic fallacy; use of first person; use of contrast; imagery of cars; dramatic tension; use of natural images (once bright, now "­gre­y-t­urning, gold-t­urn­ing­"); Gatsby's references to chivalric love (to prove yourself by winning sets of challe­nges).
Fitzgerald began the novel in Spring - now it's the end of Summer, which coincides with the end of G's dream; The chapter is divided into short segments to suggest the novel is building to a climax; Fitz uses a series of incomplete accounts to increase the tension- because the narrative is told from a range of times, prompts us to make compar­isons, such as when Nick interrupts Michaelis' descri­ption of what happened to juxtapose G & W's charac­ters; Fitz merges images of illusion and the "­gro­tes­que­" reality in the ominous descri­ption of Nick's inability to sleep; The darkness in the descri­ption of G's mansion contrasts with its earlier associ­ations with light; Nick's claims that he "­dis­app­roved of [Gatsby] from beginning to end" shows that, although he has now grown tired of the Egg community and become repulsed by their lack of care and accoun­tab­ility, he is still self-u­naware; Fitz punctures W's belief that TJ Eckleburg represents God and His judgement with Michaelis' blunt, "­'That's an advert­ise­ment', Michaelis assured him"; Fitz creates a cliff-­hanger at the end of the chapter; G is dead but it's not clear how.
Key Lines
"He might have despised himself, for [Gatsby] had certainly taken her under false pretenses . . . he had delibe­rately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as hersel­f—that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had no such facili­ties—he had no comfor­table family standing behind him, and he was liable at the whim of an impersonal government to be blown anywhere about the world."­; "­Gatsby was overwh­elm­ingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor."; "Just before I reached the hedge I remembered something . . . ‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted . . . ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’ I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapp­roved of him from beginning to end."; "I thought of the night when I first came to his ancestral home, three months before. The lawn and drive had been crowded with the faces of those who guessed at his corrup­tio­n—and he had stood on those steps, concealing his incorr­uptible dream, as he waved them good-b­y."; "­[P]­erhaps [Gatsby] no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream."­; "the bought luxury of star shine"; "­broken up like glass against Tom's hard malice­"; "His house had never seemed so enormous to me as it did that night"; "He couldn't possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn't bare to shake him free."

Chapter 9

Nick describes the events after Gatsby's death. He organises a funeral but only Gatsby's father, Owl Eyes, a few servants and the postman attend. Nick meets Jordan and they talk about why their relati­onship ended. Tom reveals that he told Wilson that Gatsby was driving the car that killed Myrtle. On Nick's last night before he moves back to the Midwest he reflects that Gatsby believed he was running towards his dream, and didn't realise it was already behind him.
Retros­pective narration; time leap - 2 years have passed; Nick's life seems suspended & about memory; Wilson described by a reporter; exotic language; use of French "racy pasqui­nad­e"'; dialogue; variations of page; use of Wolfsh­eim's letter; stray voice of Slagle for intrigue; mystery; descri­ption of Mr. Gatz; imagery of utopia; car imagery; valedi­ctory quality; nature imagery; reflec­tions on East vs West; final reference to the Dutch sailors; important use of the final word of the novel which is "­pas­t", etc.
Fitz signals the hollowness and emotional cost of Gatsby's version of the American Dream via poor attendance at his funeral; Fitz' use of flat, morbid vocabulary ("Br­ittle leaves­", "­sti­ff" laundry, etc) emphasises Nick's distaste of the East; Fitz confirms Nick's lack of self-a­war­eness by using the novel's ending to invert its beginning, where Nick has claimed not to judge anyone. Now he is at his most judgem­ental ("they were careless people, Tom and Daisy..."); Nick's reflective narration shows the irony/­imp­ossible dilemma in G's dream: to both escape and relive the past; Fitz closes the novel with Nick's charac­ter­istic poetic prose ("the orgastic future..."­ etc)
Key Lines
"But all this part of it seemed remote and unesse­ntial. I found myself on Gatsby’s side, and alone . . . as he lay in his house and didn’t move or breathe or speak, hour upon hour, it grew upon me that I was respon­sible, because no one else was intere­ste­d—i­nte­rested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which every one has some vague right at the end."; "I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all—Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Wester­ners, and perhaps we possess some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadap­table to Eastern life. Even when the East excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of its superi­ority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio . . . it had always for me a quality of distor­tio­n."; "­After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correc­tion. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home."; "I couldn’t forgive [Tom] or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carele­ssness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made"; "­Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter­—to­morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine mornin­g—"; "­After two years I remember the rest of that day, that night and the next day, only an endless drill of police and photog­raphers and newspaper men in and out of Gatsby's front door"; "I wanted to go into the room where he lay and reassure him: 'I'll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don't worry. Just trust me and I'll get somebody for you'"

OCR help on repres­ent­ation of speech and thought

OCR help on chrono­log­y/m­otifs and symbols


While F. Scott Fitzge­rald's novel is primarily known for its explor­ation of themes and the corruption of wealth, it also employs satire to critique and expose the flaws and excesses of the society it portrays. Satire is used in "The Great Gatsby­" through various techniques and elements of the narrative, including:
- The portrayal of characters
Fitzgerald uses satire to satirize the characters in the novel partic­ularly those from the wealthy upper class. Characters such as Tom and Daisy, Jordan, and even Gatsby himself are depicted as shallow, morally bankrupt, and lacking genuine substance. Through their actions, dialogue, and attitudes, Fitzgerald exposes the hypocrisy, materi­alism, and empty lives of the social elite. For instance, Tom's racist and sexist views, as well as his affairs, serve as satirical commentary on the privileged class and their entitl­ement.
- The depiction of events and parties
The extrav­agant parties and events depicted in the novel serve as satirical symbols, critiquing the excesses and superf­ici­ality of the Jazz Age society. Gatsby's opulent parties, with their excessive displays of wealth, decadence, and drunken revelry, serve as a satirical portrayal of the shallow pursuits and empty hedonism of the rich. These events are devoid of genuine connection or meaning, merely serving as superf­icial spectacles for the pleasu­re-­seeking societies.
- Irony and contrast
Throughout the narrative, Fitzgerald employs irony and contrast to satirize the stark disconnect between appear­ances and reality in the charac­ters' lives. For example, the stark contrast between the extrav­agant parties at Gatsby's mansion and the underlying loneliness and longing of the characters highlights the emptiness and futility of their pursuits. The irony of Gatsby's obsession with wealth and status to win Daisy's love, only to realise that such external trappings cannot bring true happiness, satirizes the illusion of the American Dream and the superf­icial values of the society.
- Social critique
Satire is also used as a form of social critique in TGG, targeting the larger societal issues of the time. Fitzgerald exposes the moral decay, hypocrisy, and corruption within the upper echelons of society, highli­ghting the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The charac­ters' self-c­ent­ere­dness, lack of empathy, and pursuit of personal desires at the expense of others serve as satirical commentary on the moral bankruptcy of the era.

Genre conven­tions

Bildun­gsroman (Comin­g-o­f-Age Novel):
TGG contains elements of a bildun­gsroman as the narrator, Nick Carraway, undergoes personal growth and self-d­isc­overy throughout the story. Nick's experi­ences with the wealthy elite and his relati­onship with Gatsby contribute to his moral develo­pment and disill­usi­onment with the American Dream.

The novel exhibits elements of tragedy as it explores the downfall of Jay Gatsby and the overall sense of loss and despair. Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy, his inability to fully integrate into the upper class, and his tragic end reflect the tragic aspects of the narrative.

Romantic elements are present in the novel, partic­ularly in Gatsby's idealized love for Daisy. The intense passion and longing between Gatsby and Daisy, as well as the dramatic conflicts that arise from their relati­onship, contribute to the romantic aspects of the story.

Social Satire:
"The Great Gatsby­" incorp­orates elements of social satire, employing irony, wit, and humour to critique the excesses, shallo­wness, and moral corruption of the wealthy upper class. Fitzgerald satirizes the values, behavi­ours, and social hierarchy of 1920s America, exposing the dark underbelly of the Jazz Age.

Modernist Litera­ture:
The novel is often associated with the modernist literary movement of the early 20th century. It experi­ments with narrative structure, employs subjective storyt­elling, and explores themes of disill­usi­onment, fragme­nta­tion, and the decline of tradit­ional values—all of which are charac­ter­istic of modernist litera­ture.

"The Great Gatsby­" exhibits elements of realism, depicting social realities and exploring the comple­xities of human behavior. The portrayal of charac­ters, settings, and events in a believable and recogn­izable manner contri­butes to the realistic aspects of the novel.

Historical Fiction:
While not strictly a historical novel, "The Great Gatsby­" captures the spirit and cultural context of the 1920s, known as the Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age. The novel provides a glimpse into the social, economic, and cultural climate of the time, incorp­orating historical elements into the narrative.

Social­/hi­sto­rical context

The Roaring Twenties:
The 1920s marked a period of signif­icant cultural and social change in America. It was a time of economic prospe­rity, urbani­zation, and a burgeoning consumer culture. The novel reflects the excesses, decadence, and materi­alism of the era, with characters like Jay Gatsby amassing immense wealth and throwing extrav­agant parties.

Prohib­ition and Organized Crime:
The Prohib­ition era, in effect from 1920 to 1933, banned the produc­tion, sale, and distri­bution of alcoholic beverages. However, this led to the rise of speake­asies (illegal bars) and the flouri­shing of organized crime. In the novel, Gatsby's involv­ement in bootle­gging and the criminal underworld represents the shadowy side of the 1920s.

The Lost Genera­tion:
The Lost Generation refers to a group of writers, including Fitzgerald himself, who came of age during World War I and were disill­usioned by the war's devast­ation. The novel explores the disill­usi­onment and moral bankruptcy of the post-war genera­tion, as well as their search for meaning and purpose.

The Jazz Age and Cultural Shifts:
The Jazz Age was charac­terized by the rise of jazz music, dance crazes like the Charle­ston, and a general spirit of liberation and hedonism. The novel portrays the vibrant nightlife, energetic parties, and changing social mores of the time. It also critiques the emptiness and superf­ici­ality that often accomp­anied these cultural shifts.

The American Dream:
TGG examines the concept of the American Dream and its corruption during the 1920s. The pursuit of wealth, social status, and material success becomes the dominant aspira­tion, with characters like Gatsby driven by the desire to reinvent themselves and achieve social mobility.

Social Strati­fic­ation and Inequa­lity:
The novel portrays the stark divide between the wealthy elite and the working class, highli­ghting the vast dispar­ities in wealth and privilege. The characters in "The Great Gatsby­" exist within a world of opulence, while the Valley of Ashes symbolizes the bleak reality and social inequality experi­enced by those outside of the upper class.


VofA - Valley of Ashes
TGG - The Great Gatsby

Some character names might be abbrev­iated;

G - Gatsby
D - Daisy
T - Tom
N - Nick
J - Jordan
M - Myrtle
W - (George) Wilson

Ideas will be separated by ; - it's not an addition to the previous sentence, but rather it's own standalone statement- cheato­graphy limits how good things can be formatted so this way is essent­ially the only way to separate ideas without making everything super long (which it already will be for this topic).

Extra inform­ation

At the time of its public­ation, The Great Gatsby wasn't considered one of Fitzge­rald's best works

The original title was going to be "­Tri­malchio in the West Egg". Trimalchio is a figure long ago used by Fitzgerald for satire, it means "­thrice king" or "­gre­atest king"- Trimalchio was the richest man in Rome in 1st-ce­ntury AD Roman fiction, in the stories wrote about him, he threw parties and practiced his own funeral

The Great Gatsby questions the values of post-war modern American society

it's a story of loss and gain; Nick's judgements give us layers- vulner­ability through his father and his past- he sets himself up as a morally correct character- no critic­isms, but this leads to contra­dic­tions

The 'golden youth' is questioned by Fitzgerald as being superf­icial - should be rare but it's just illusion. It's for the privil­eged, chosen ones of society (Tom & Daisy)

Only noble thing that Gatsby does in the entire story is take blame for Myrtle's death

Nick's unsure of where he is, what other characters are thinki­ng/­doing, especially when he's not there- there are essent­ially no certai­nties in the story other than Nick's own actions

the 'waste' in the novel is reflected from TS Elliot's 'The Wastel­and', which depicts crumbling fragments of a landscape, there are no full pictures and is just full of things falling apart (allus­ion).

A trope that is familiar through all literature is the corruption of heat in terms of a journey from the countr­yside to the city; Nick embodies our desire to join in, but we know we likely won't reach the upper-­class lifestyle

Fitz's use of rumour­/gossip flaunts uncert­ainty and places enigma and trustw­ort­hiness around Gatsby- but all rumours are contra­dic­tions to one another. Furthe­rmore, the Europe­an-­based rumours ("I heard we was a German spy") represents Gatsby as an outsider to the "New Americ­a"

Gatsby is a role model for America- the emblem of America is Gatsby's backgr­ound- coming from nothing and working your way up

the VofA unders­cores Gatsby's death, since it's chapter 2, we forget the negative aspects of the VofA by the time Myrtle's death happens- this shows the trajectory of the play, as George from the VofA kills Gatsby.

The epitome of American capitalism is self-i­nterest and becomes the dominating feature in the novel.

Capitalism is revealed to be corrupt and hollow but it is still desirable because of the money

An example of a contra­diction in this chapter is Nick wanting to find Gatsby but nobody knows his wherea­bouts. When he meets Gatsby, he is taken away (losing and gaining, giving and taking)

Fitzge­rald, after each use of positive musical imagery, includes danger- such as the car crash after the party

Because Fitzgerald has got Nick to act arrogant enough that we question it, it makes the novel seem like almost a satire. It's mocking a society that presents itself as authentic

Fitzgerald has written books celebr­ating the jazz age but is critic­ising it heavily in The Great Gatsby and pointing out its flaws- this made the novel unpopular during its time because society didn't like to be criticised (it was still somewhat popular, but nothing compared to what it is now).

Fitzgerald might've chosen 1922 for some the setting as the Wasteland was published that year, and Tom and Daisy's backstory. There's a contrast here between the past and the present.

Wolfsheim represents New York corrup­tion- he will do anything to turn a trade- he's capita­list, corrupt and gaudy.

The entire novel builds up to Jordan asking Nick if Gatsby can come over to see Daisy.

Gatsby's visit to Nick's house is described as "­stu­nning, shocki­ng" - the balance of power has shifted. Nick doesn't realise to what extent he's being used- Gatsby's whole aim for 5 years has been to get Daisy back.

"­We've met before­" was spoken by Gatsby to both Nick and Daisy in respective chapters, this is the meshing of the present and past, clearly losing track of it.

Capitalist mindsets are very obvious tropes in this novel - "It took me just three years to earn the money to buy it" (measuring time with money), "I thought you earned your money", "I did, old sport, automa­tic­all­y."

The end of the fifth chapter promises a truth about Gatsby to come.

"­Not­ori­ety­" is, in this novel, the negative side of a positive.

Nick wants us to believe that he's in control (plea to be accepted as an honest trader and narrator)

Fitzgerald knows we are beginning to get fed up with Nick's retelling through the novel, which is why chapter 6 is kept short- this is where things start to fall apart.

The tragedy is foresh­adowed early; G's dream of winning Daisy back is something we realise early on that won't work out. It can be argued that the tragedy isn't sudden at all.

The novel has mastered the art of miscom­mun­ica­tion.

This novel acts as a chronicle of death foretold.

In chapter 7, unlike seen in other chapters and novels, we aren't given a descri­ption of Gatsby's eyes. This is done purpos­efully by Fitzgerald (believe it or not) to show that there's nothing behind Gatsby's eyes; he's not giving anything away.

Myrtle ends up a tragic victim of adultery, lies and deceit, and a hopeless dream.

Nick's raison de etre is to worship Gatsby as an idol.

The novel's heart of darkness is the nothin­gness- what happens next? Gatsby goes from a godlike figure to nothing.

Fitz uses cacoph­onous noise ("fog horn was groaning incess­antly) to foreworn for future events.

People often forget to discuss Wilson's death. All deaths happen off-stage like in Greek tragedies. When Nick gets to Gatsby's house and sees him lying on the mattress, we only just see the red- sound first, and then vision. It can be said that the deaths happen off-stage, like in Greek tragedies, because it would've been blasph­emous to see it directly (all Greek Gods had deaths off-stage for this reason, this is perhaps symbolic of Gatsby's status to Nick).

The line "the holocaust was comple­te" in chapter 9 means that Gatsby brought his fate upon himself. It needs to be noted that the word 'holoc­aust' didn't have the same meaning it does now at the time of it being written (this was written about a decade or two before the second world war).

The novel is not a tragedy about the jazz age; it's a criticism, but the actual tragedy is of epic conseq­uences and wrongl­y-p­laced self belief.

Fitzgerald goes into journa­lis­tic­all­y-real police invest­igation details.

Nick is in control of the whole funeral and lives to tell the tale, comparing him to Horatio, at the end of Hamlet.

One of the most fundam­ental social charac­ter­istics that permeates literature from Shakes­peare onwards is the question of respon­sib­ility - there is no respon­sib­ility from the careless society described in this novel.

The novel takes on a different tone in chapter 9 (even at such a late stage) because Nick doesn't want to hear any version of the story than his own (his viewpoint is all suppos­itory, "­per­hap­s", contra­dictory of him saying he won't occupy other's minds).

The typical Nick Carraway strategy throughout the novel is used again at the end when he's scrubbing an obscene word written in chalk outside of Gatsby's house - you can't see it fully, but he's telling you its there (giving and taking away).
"­Ine­sse­ntial houses­", "it eluded us then, but that's no matter."

This novel is an elegy ("a serious reflec­tio­n"). It's a text based on the society at the time, making it elegiac .


The novel's references to, and repres­ent­ations of, figures of different ethnic­ities;
Tom's explicit explan­ation of the "­thr­eat­" to the Nordic races


Nick's class - his family's history and standing, the importance of his family name;
Tom and Daisy as incarn­ations of "old money";
Gatsby as nouvea­u-r­iche;
Catherine (and Jordan?) as "­new­", indepe­ndent, self-c­reated women;
Michaelis as an immigrant; Myrtle (possibly in contrast to Daisy);
Wilson as a failed entrep­reneur


The portrayal and questi­oning of different ideas of mascul­inity and femininity through the shifting roles and relati­onships of Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle, Gatsby, Nick, Tom and Wilson;
The relati­onship between gender and class

Women -
Wanted for their beauty. Daisy is happy her daughter is a girl, and states being a "­foo­l" is the best thing for her. Tom hunts out beautiful women whilst at Gatsby's party.
Treated as a trophy or an achiev­ement- Daisy is Gatsby's "­dre­am", after all. He wants her to confirm herself that he's "­won­" against Tom in getting her love.

This was written at a time of first-wave feminism.


The valley of ashes;
Eyes, seeing and looking;
New techno­logies;
East and West;
Sun and water;
Weather (espec­ially heat);
Colours (for example, white, green, silver and gold);
Trees and leaves;
"He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightened leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is" A rose has been a symbol of beauty for centuries, and has been used to describe Daisy many times in the novel. Nick states that they are not inherently beautiful, but rather people only view them as such because they choose to. Daisy is grotesque in the same way- Gatsby has made her beautiful in his head, she is the object of his dreams, but in reality she is an adle, bored and rich young woman with no moral strength or loyalties.
This text was written before WWII and so without the contex­t/power it holds today. At the time of its public­ation, holocaust meant catast­rophe, or altern­atively a sacrifice for God. "And the holocaust was comple­te", spoken by Nick in chapter 8, could be comparing Gatsby to something worthy as a sacrifice to God. Similarly, this sacrifice was given by Wilson, who saw the eyes of TJ Eckleburg watch over him, mistaking his eyes for God's own eyes, as Nick narrates. It also indicates destru­ction of Gatsby's life/d­rea­m/love for Daisy, as well as Wilson's.


The vivid evocation of a range of settings (often with metaph­orical signif­icance) and allusions to other settings - urban (New York streets, restau­rants, hotels and offices);
East and West Egg;
Mid-West and the East;
The rail and railroad;
Brooklyn Bridge;
The valley of ashes;
(poverty, death, destru­ction of nature)
Natural landscapes (the sea);
Gatsby's house/­gar­den­/li­bra­ry/­swi­mming pool;
Nick's house;
Tom and Daisy's house;
Myrtle's New York apartment;
The Plaza Hotel;
Wilson's garage


The constr­uction of Nick's character through his narrative voice; the constr­uction of other key characters (Gatsby, Daisy, Jordan, Tom, Wilson, Wolfsheim) through telling "­sel­ect­ive­" details and dialogue;
Contra­sting groups of characters (for example, rich women vs workin­g-class women, male vs female, cynics­/re­alists vs optimi­sts).

By becoming Jay Gatsby (from James Gatz), he is almost rechri­stening himself. It symbolises his desire to forget his lower class identity and recast himself as the wealthy man he envisions. Daisy is the reason he invented Jay Gatsby, as for her, wealth and luxury comes effort­lessly. He believes that after all this time, Daisy remains the same girl who loved him in Louisv­ille- this demons­trates his naivety, as we learn quickly that Daisy will never spare her own class/­bac­kground and security with Tom for Gatsby. Not to mention that she has a daughter with Tom, which Gatsby has chosen to ignore.
When Gatsby is with the riders, he is courteous and offers them refres­hments- they accept without gratitude and leave without him. Gatsby thinks they cared, but he doesn't realise that he wasn't suppose to accept their invita­tion- he's trying hard to fit in. For all of his wealth, he will remain the working class and never be good enough for those born into the upper-­class.
Gatsby's pursuit of the American dream became a pursuit of wealth- his dream of becoming a great man were corrupted.

When she is appalled by the vulgar behaviour of the drunken guests in chapter 6, does this really come as a surprise to the reader? She is of old money in East Egg, so the parties and drunken guests that spawn from West Egg's new money is a vastly different display of wealth than what she's used to.
When Daisy visits Gatsby's mansion, it is not Gatsby she cries over, but rather his material posses­sions ("It makes me sad because I've never seen [...] such beautiful shirts before­")

Tom's concern with Gatsby is used to move the narrative along, eventually coming to the climax of the play (the confro­ntation with Gatsby).


The creation of a "­Rom­antic Modern­ist­" style which combines lyrical ("Ke­ats­ian­") motifs and rhythms with imagery and rhythms of drawn from the contem­porary world, such as automo­biles and movies; range of prose styles from the lyrical to slang, from educated speech to advert­ising copy

Structure and voice

The retros­pective first-­person narrative;
Is this reliable? The first-­person retros­pective narrative may affect the reliab­ility of inform­ation as biases get involved. Nick sways between being reliable as so to make sure he doesn't lie to the reader, but can be caught in contra­dic­tions and his own biases about Gatsby that make make his story unreliable - Nick never allows another person's interp­ret­ation of the story to be told that could potent­ially harm Gatsby's legacy (as seen in chapter 9, where he scrubs away the obscene word without stating what it said).

The modifying of the first-­person narrative to include other people's stories;
Nick often structures stories he's not there for (e.g. deaths) using assump­tions but not lies- he tries to occupy other charac­ter's headspaces in order to fill narrative gaps.

The narrator entering the consci­ousness of other charac­ters;
Nick narrates directly from Gatsby's point of view when Gatsby informs Nick about his past with Daisy and Dan Cody.

Frame narrative, with Nick setting himself up as author of Gatsby's story;
Although Gatsby is the main character, the story is written from Nick's perspe­ctive.

The episodic structure;
The scrambling of chrono­logy;
Use of flashback;
The staggered release of inform­ation;
Fragme­ntary, sporadic and non-ch­ron­olo­gical when giving inform­ation.
The use of opposi­tions;
Gaps and contra­dic­tions to create myster­y/e­nigma;
Repetition of events, accounts of events, imagery and lexical clusters
First-­person narrative discourse;
Complex, range of tones - limited voice (e.g. romantic, imaginary, sceptical)
Tones contribute to the movement between identi­fic­ation + detachment epitomised in Nick's descri­ption of himself.

Intrad­iegetic narrator
Nick is an intrad­iegetic narrator- he tells the story from within its world and remains on the narrative level of the charac­ters. Nick is presented as an outsid­er/­obs­erver without being directly involved in any conflict (a good scene to look at, for example, is chapter 7 with the trip to NY. The conflict is between the Daisy, Tom and Gatsby, with Jordan and Nick simply just being witnesses to it).

Overt narrator
Nick is also an overt narrator, drawing attention to his presence in the text from the first chapter.

Narration shifts between 3rd and 1st person narrative- sometimes hetero­die­getic (3rd) and sometimes homodi­egetic (1st).


Aspira­tions and the American dream;
The power of money;
Appearance and reality;
Dreamers vs realists;
Status and wealth;
Perception (sight and insight);
Nostalgia and the past;
Love and desire;
The nature of the good life;

Further Reading - The Times article (July 1922)

On July 30th 1922, The Times released an article called "­Advise to the new rich". It could be used in your exams as it applies very well to The Great Gatsby.

Here's the article:

In an account of a gambling Hell or Heaven which is to be started at Bulduri, a bathing resort near Riga, we are told that the enterprise hopes to be supported by the New Rich of Soviet Russia, who appear to be like our own New Rich in that they do not know how to spend their money. That is one of the oldest themes of comedy, and it will never grow stale. It persists because everyone grudges them their money and enjoys their failure to enjoy it. Nothing in ancient literature seems more modern than Trimal­chio's feast, with its wearisome display of cost for cost's sake. It is a perfect example of that "­con­spi­cuous waste" which an American half-e­con­omist, half-s­ati­rist, says is the chief function of riches. According to his theory most of those who have riches do not know what to do with them except prove they have them, and this they do by wasting them conspi­cuously in different ways, of which gambling is perhaps the most conspi­cuous and the most wasteful. One joke against the new rich is that they wish to conceal the fact that their riches are new. They will ride horses of which they have imperfect control in the hope that they may be taken for country gentlemen, as for gambling, it is the stalest of all forms of conspi­cuous waste, and the one which, to a man of business, must be least enjoyable. No, the modern Trimal­chio, if he is to get any fun out of his money, should have the courage of his achiev­ements. He should insist upon the fact that is newly rich, and make an art of advert­ising it. He should proceed about the country in a gilded motor-car with two men blowing blasts on trombones, instead of a dull hooter in the front. He should scatter largesse as he whirls through a town, like the Kaiser in Morocco. Conspi­cuous waste and the pride of riches are no fun at all if you are half ashamed of the fact that you are proud. Still less are they any fun, if you are afraid of Bolshevism and try to pretend that you really lost money by the war. The morality of a life of pleasure in sincerity, its refusing to persuade yourself that you enjoy what you do not enjoy. If the profiteer would practice that, he would either learn to enjoy himself at last, or hang himself. In any case he would be more dignified than what he imitates the pleasure of others.

Past Paper Questions

Here's a list of the actual questions that were asked in previous papers. You can get a good idea of what you'll be asked on he exam.

2017 a.
In what ways does the writer of your text use narrative voice? You should range across the text to explore how narrative voice is used, the function it plays in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2017 b.
How does the writer of your text use form and structure? You should range across the text to explore how form and structure shape the narrative, the function this plays in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2018 a.
How the writer of your text use moments of crisis? You should range across the text to explore how moments of crisis are used, the function they play in the novel as a whole, the broader generic context.

2018 b.
How does the writer of your text use minor charac­ters? You should range across the text to explore how minor characters are used, the role they play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2019 a.
In what ways does the writer of your text use time? You should range across the text to explore how time is manipu­lated, the role it plays in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2019 b.
How does the writer of your text use contrasts? You should range across the text to explore how contrasts are created, the role they play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2020 a.
A writer often chooses to leave out part of a story in constr­ucting the plot. How does the writer of your text shape narrative in this way? You should range across the text to explore where gaps in the narrative appear, the function they play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2020 b.
In what ways does the writer of your text use place? You should range across the text to explore how use of place contri­butes to the structure of the narrative, the function it plays in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2021 a.
How does the writer of your text make use of any one important character in shaping the narrative? You should range across the text to explore how your chosen character is used to shape the narrative, the function they play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2021 b.
In what ways does the writer of your text make lexical choices? You should range across the text to explore how lexical choices contribute to narrative effect, the function that different registers play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2022 a.
In what ways does the opening of the novel sets the narrative in motion? You should range across the text to explore how lexical choices contribute to narrative effect, the function that different registers play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2022 b.
In what ways does the writer of your text use symbols and motifs? You should range across the text to explore how lexical choices contribute to narrative effect, the function that different registers play in the novel as a whole, and the broader generic context.

2023 a.
In what ways does the writer of your text offer resolution to the narrative?
yes, this was as awful to answer as it sounds

2023 b.
In what ways does the writer of your text use charac­ter­isation in the narrative?

Possible future questions

These are predic­tions and not actual definitive questions that'll appear on future papers.
This won't be updated after Summer 2023.

How does the writer of your text use figurative language?

How does the writer of your text use signif­icant moments?

How does the writer of your text use themes?

How does the writer of your text use satire?

How does the writer of your text use literary techni­ques?

How does the writer of your text use cultural and historical context?

How does the writer of your text use charac­ter­isa­tion?

How does the writer of your text use chrono­logy?

How does the writer of your text use style?

How does the writer of your text use genre conven­tions?

How does the writer of your text use social­/hi­sto­rical context?
My suggestion is to practice these exam questions- some of these ideas are obvious guesses from myself, some are major hints from OCR's own help sheet.

OCR help on narrative perspe­ctive

OCR help on charac­ter­isation + setting

OCR help on genres­/social historical context

How is Gatsby presented from different POVs?


Isabel Paterson (1925)
“…a man from nowhere, without roots or backgr­ound, absolutely self-made in the image of an obscure and undefined ideal” “You could not exactly call him an imposter; he was himself an artist of sorts trying to remould himself.” “…an incurable romant­icist… his mistake was to accept life at its face value.”

William Rose Benet (1924)
“Fitzg­erald surveys the Babylonian captivity of his era unblended by the bright lights. He gives you the bright lights in full measure, the affluence, the waste… the ugly passion, the spiritual meagre­ness, the empty shell of luxury, the old irony of ‘fair-­weather friends’.”

Susan Resneek (1985)
“The dilemma that Nick, Daisy and Gatsby face is, of course, a human one as well as an American one: whether to embrace the dreams of youth and keep alive the hopes bred in innocence or to face the reality that such dreams are inevitably elusive and illusory because they are part of the past”
“[Daisy] delibe­rately chooses to embrace certain illusions and play certain roles as a way of creating for herself a sense of meaning and purpose and as a way of coping with “the pressure of the world outside””

Fredrick Jameson (unknown)
“…in the commodity age need as a purely material and physical impulse has given way to a structure of artificial stimuli, artificial longings, such that it is no longer possible to separate the true from the false, the primary from the luxury­-sa­tis­fac­tion, in them”

Family Guy (2016)
"Has way too many coinci­dences for classic American litera­tur­e"
Some critic reviews throughout the century.


TGG does not follow a linear chrono­logical structure. Instead, the narrative unfolds through a combin­ation of present events and retros­pective reflec­tions, allowing the reader to piece together the story from various timefr­ames. The novel spans a period of about two years, from the spring of 1922 to the summer of 1924. Here is a breakdown of the major chrono­logical events in the novel:

Spring 1922:
The novel opens with Nick Carraway, the narrator, recounting his move to West Egg, Long Island, in the spring of 1922.
Nick introduces the reader to his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, and his lavish parties.
Nick attends one of Gatsby's parties and encounters Jordan Baker, a profes­sional golfer, whom he begins a romantic relati­onship with.
Flashbacks and Revela­tions:
Through Nick's intera­ctions with Gatsby and other charac­ters, the reader gradually learns about Gatsby's past and his pursuit of the American Dream.
Gatsby reveals his love for Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin, and his desire to reunite with her.

Summer 1922:
Gatsby arranges a meeting between Daisy and himself at Nick's cottage, leading to their rekindled romance.
Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, becomes suspicious of the affair between Gatsby and Daisy.
The characters spend time in New York City, where tensions escalate between Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy.

September 1922:
The climactic confro­ntation occurs at the Plaza Hotel, where Gatsby demands that Daisy confess her love for him and leave Tom.
Daisy is unable to make a definitive choice between Gatsby and Tom, leading to disill­usi­onment and despair.

Fall 1922:
The narrative shifts to the aftermath of the events at the Plaza Hotel.
Nick's disill­usi­onment with the wealthy elite grows as he witnesses the moral bankruptcy and superf­ici­ality of their lives.

Summer 1923:
The story returns to the present, one year after the events of the previous summer.
Gatsby's extrav­agant parties continue, but his connection with Daisy deteri­orates.

Summer 1924:
The novel's climax occurs in the summer of 1924.
Gatsby is murdered by George Wilson, who mistakenly believes Gatsby to be respon­sible for his wife's death.
The novel ends with disill­usi­onment and the realiz­ation of the emptiness of the American Dream.


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