F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic "The Great Gatsby" is a glittering parade of parties and excess, but at its heart it is about identity and whether being wealthy in America can help you change who you really are. Learn this word list that focuses on Gatsby and Daisy.
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.
the quality of being able to cope with a difficult situation
Gatsby has a resourcefulness of movement that allows him to balance on the dashboard of his car, migrate from North Dakota to New York, and transform himself from a poor soldier to a rich host. But he does not have the inner resourcefulness to pay his way through college with janitorial duties or to earn his money through legitimate, time-consuming work. A lucky meeting with Wolfsheim and a handsome face are the resources Gatsby mined to become wealthy.
He 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.
the qualities of a hero or heroine; exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger (especially in battle)
Gatsby's valorous actions in the war are most likely true; the fact that he carries the medal around to show it off makes the valor seem less true. During the war, Gatsby wanted to die, yet displayed valor that killed Germans, saved Allied lives, and earned him recognition; as a civilian, Gatsby gets his dream girl, but his valor (in taking the wheel too late, assuming the blame for Myrtle's death, and keeping a vigil under Daisy's window) is rewarded with abandonment and death.
"Major Jay Gatsby", I read, "For Valour Extraordinary".
Gatsby's parties did not have small portions (liquor was available from a bar and circulating trays; food was on buffet tables and served in two suppers). In the phrase "dispensed starlight to casual moths", Nick is emphasizing the deliberate, almost godly, way of Gatsby. The description also makes the guests seem less like ungrateful leeches and more like carefree insects that Gatsby wanted to temporarily capture and display to impress Daisy.
He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he
dispensed starlight to casual moths so that he could "come over" some afternoon to a stranger's garden.
revealing lack of perceptiveness or judgment or finesse
Although Gatsby was trying to be grateful to Nick for agreeing to help him, his focus on money is tactless because it would make Nick seem like he were pimping out his cousin Daisy. Also, if Nick had accepted the offer, he might've ended up like Young Parke, who got picked up by the police for using stolen or counterfeit bonds.
But, because the offer was obviously and tactlessly for a service to be rendered, I had no choice except to cut him off there.
His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a
defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock and from this position his
distraught eyes stared down at Daisy who was sitting frightened but graceful on the edge of a stiff chair.
The image of Gatsby and Daisy being seen only by light that is reflected from the gleaming floor can be interpreted several ways: 1) they chose the spot for a little privacy; 2) their relationship cannot, as with the legally married Daisy and Tom, be framed in "a cheerful square of light"; 3) Gatsby's love of Daisy is a reflection of his love of wealth and cannot withstand the glare of direct light.
He lit Daisy's cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on a couch far across the room where there was no light save what the
gleaming floor bounced in from the hall.
While Daisy's fluctuating voice is a deathless song that captivates Gatsby, her fluctuating nature, which contrasts with his devotion, makes his efforts to be with her seem pointless and eventually leads to his death.
I think that voice held him most with its
fluctuating, feverish warmth because it couldn't be over-dreamed--that voice was a deathless song.