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What are some important quotes in the last chapter?Also, label them in terms of...

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cheungc13 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted February 26, 2012 at 10:57 PM via web

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What are some important quotes in the last chapter?

Also, label them in terms of opportunity, American Dream, seizing chances, and reinventing. Emphasize a couple quotes in the different meetings that appear in the chapter.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM (Answer #1)

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In Chapter Nine of The Great Gatsby, Nick returns after two years to his narrative with a tone of respectful melancholy for Jay Gatsby.  He reflects how like an elusive dream, Jay Gatsby held no meaning for anyone connected to him.  Because he reinvented himself, Gatsby was not real, even to his own father.


When Nick spoke with Meyer Wolfscheim, the underworld boss recalls how Gatsby was so poor that he had to wear his military uniform even after the war.

"First time I saw him was when he come into Winebrenner's poolroom...and asked for a job...."

"Did you start him in business?"

"Start him!  I made him."

Jay's father proudly displays Gatsby's Hopalong Cassidy in which his son kept a schedule and wrote his "general resolves."  "Jimmy was bound to get ahead," Mr. Gatz declares proudly.

Seizing chances

Wolfscheim further tells Nick about Gatsby,

"I raised him up out of nothing , right out of the gutter.  I saw right away he was a fine appearing gentlemanly young man and when he told me he was an Oggsford I knew I could use him good."

The American Dream

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 then one fine morning—

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

This passage is an apt metaphor for the American Dream and for Gatsby's life. Gatsby tries to reach the green light of his idealism of Daisy, but this idealism is false for it is built upon the dreams of the past which cannot sustain the dreams of the future as maturity imposes a certain reality. Likewise, the American Dream is one that begins with ideals, but collapses into materialism.

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 possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

This quote expresses the illusionary qualities of the American Dream, not like the vision seen by the Dutch sailors' eyes--"a fresh, green breast of the new world."  Instead it is a fabrication that has been corrupted by amorality and materialism.


...tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning---

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

There is an optimism expressed here by Nick; however, the Dream moves even farther away as the past pulls people back just as they attempt to move forward.

I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world....for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, complelled into an aestheti contemplation....

Nick speaks of America, and, specifically New York, as once a wonderful land of opportunity.  But, the materialsim of the East creates destruction.  This is why Nick says he will return to the Mid-West.


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