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What is the overall theme in Chapter 7 of "The Great Gatsby"?

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zampy1391 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 27, 2008 at 9:46 AM via web

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What is the overall theme in Chapter 7 of "The Great Gatsby"?

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted December 27, 2008 at 10:13 AM (Answer #1)

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The overall themes in chapter 7 of "The Great Gatsby" would be confrontation and conflict.  Based upon the events of this chapter, these would definately be suitable themes.  It is in this chapter that Nick, Jordan, and Gatsby meet up at Tom and Danisy's house and Tom suggests going to New York.  The five of them rent a room at the Biltmore and Tom and Gatsby have it out.  Tom reveals all of the secrets that he has found out about Gatsby while Gatsby reveals that Daisy no longer loves Tom.  The argument between these two men escalates into Daisy crying to no end and Tom believing that he has revealed so much about Gatsby's past that Daisy would never want to spend her life with such a corrupt man.   An additional conflict occurs as the chapter comes to a close when Daisy runs over Myrtle in Gatsby's car on their way h ome through the Valley of Ashes. 

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 27, 2008 at 10:21 AM (Answer #2)

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In chapter 7, the dream that Gatsby has been chasing during the entire novel begins to dissolve in front of his eyes. He has spent the entire book chasing after Daisy and even dismissed all of his servants so that no one will spread gossip about his afternoon visits with her. However, Daisy proves to be fickle and "unworthy" of Gatsby's dream when the group heads for New York. Tom begins to accuse Gatsby of being a bootlegger and of other assorted crimes and Daisy's affection begins to wane and she retreats“further and further into herself.”

But Gatsby naively hopes that she will leave Tom for him. After Myrtle's death, Fitzgerald points to the hopelessness of Gatsby's dream in the last scene. Gatsby is afraid Tom will find out that Daisy was the one who was driving and killed Myrtle, so he is standing watch outside of Daisy's house. This image reminds the reader of the first image we saw of Gatsby looking at the green light on the dock of Daisy's house. Only this time, Nick describes Gatsby as “standing there in the moonlight—watching over nothing.” Nick has realized Gatsby now has nothing and his dream is destroyed. The destruction of Gatsby's dream also symbolizes the destruction of the American Dream, that if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything. Gatsby worked hard and in the end, never achieved what he really wanted.

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