In the novel The Great Gatsby:
1. What is Nick's relationship to Daisy Buchanan?
2. Who is Jordan Baker,and what does Nick find appealing about her?
3. What does Tom's fasination with the Rise of the Colored Empires show the reader?
4. What does Jordan Baker tell Nick about Tom?
5. What is Gatsby doing when Nick first see him?
6. What indication is there the green light will have a powerful emotional significance to Gatsby?
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In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby the narrator is Nick Carraway. In the first three chapters he takes us to the house of Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Daisy was Nick's "second cousin once removed" and Nick continues to inform us that he had "known Tom in college". He was not incredibly close to them, which leaves the narration open for the critical eye in he uses in his descriptions of their characters. Tom's fascination with the Rise of the Colored Empires is a great use of characterization as it shows the reader the his elitist nature. It also shows how easily influenced Tom can be. He rants about this book to show how educated and concerned he is with the "white race" being "utterly submerged", following up by stating that "it's all scientific stuff; it's been proved". He is worried because, as he states, "it's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things". This characterizes Tom, who inherited his family's wealth, as an elitist that seeks to oppress others in order to keep what he has.
Nick's first glimpse of Gatsby is at the very end of Chapter I. As Nick is returning from Tom and Daisy's house, he sees Gatsby, who is his neighbor, outside on his lawn, with "his hands in his pockets regarding the silver peppers of the stars" (25). Nick first considers joining him, but senses that Gatsby wants to be alone, as Gatsby "stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way," (25) and Nick is certain he is trembling. As Nick follows Gatsby's arms, he sees "a single green light" (26) and when Nick looks again, Gatsby has disappeared. So, the very first time Nick and we see Gatsby, he is appearing in the night, a figure who cannot be seen clearly and who disappears back into the night, a mystery. What we can see in the stretch of his arms and his trembling is that his view of this green light imbues him with some sort of longing. This is a light he cannot reach, and of course, we come to understand as the novel goes on, it is the American Dream and Daisy that he can reach for but cannot grasp.
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