Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Gatsby’s mansion. Garish, multilevel home located on “West Egg.” The narrator Nick Carraway describes it as colossal, as ostentatious as it is roomy. Situated on forty acres, the mansion is the site of numerous glitzy and riotous parties thrown by Gatsby, hoping to pique Daisy Buchanan’s interest. The mansion, however, is much more than a lure for Gatsby’s long lost love; it is a symbol of the man himself and his dream of materialism as a vehicle to success both literally and romantically. Gatsby’s home parallels his persona—grand, mysterious, and richly adorned. It is the emblem of a successful businessman and the symbol of what he hopes to recover in Daisy and her love. The mansion is also a representation of a shortsighted American Dream: that material success, in and of itself, will bring one status and happiness. Unfortunately, the dream is based on hollow underpinnings, on the vacuous Daisy and the misguided concept that large amounts of money can be made and used without responsibility. Conversely, the mansion serves also as a symbol of Gatsby’s vision, aspiration, idealism, and belief in the American Dream of the self-made man. Thus, it is simultaneously a symbolic representation of the “great” Gatsby and of the flawed one. Ultimately, Nick Carraway describes the mansion as “that huge incoherent failure of a house.” The mansion exists as both a vision and failure of such a vision.
East Egg and West Egg. Fictionalized opposing peninsulas of Long Island Sound described as resembling a giant pair of eggs. They are contrasted in terms of fashionableness, color, and type of wealth. The East Egg mansions glitter along the water; they are more chic and are representative of older, Eastern, inherited wealth. The West Egg residences are more derivative and...
(The entire section is 759 words.)
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Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. Who is the narrator of the story?
2. What is the significance of the white space between paragraphs 4 and 5?
3. From what part of the country does Nick originally come?
4. Why has Nick moved to New York?
5. How does Nick come to live next door to Jay Gatsby?
6. Where had Nick known Tom Buchanan before?
7. What is Jordan Baker’s relationship to Daisy Buchanan?
8. What does Nick learn from Jordan when Tom is called to the phone?
9. What is the “secret society”?
10. What does Nick see Gatsby doing at the end of the chapter?
(The entire section is 251 words.)
Chapter 2 Questions and Answers
1. What is the Valley of Ashes literally?
2. Who or what is Dr. T. J. Eckleburg?
3. What is George Wilson’s occupation?
4. What items does Myrtle purchase in the city?
5. What is significant about Myrtle’s questioning whether the dog is a boy or girl?
6. Who is Catherine?
7. What effect does the change of dress have on Myrtle?
8. How does Myrtle talk about the help at the hotel?
9. What rumor has Catherine heard about Gatsby?
10. How does Catherine explain to Nick the affair of Myrtle and Tom?
1. It is an area, something like an isthmus,...
(The entire section is 293 words.)
Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
1. What kinds of cars does Gatsby use to transport guests?
2. How do the guests behave?
3. What does Nick wear to the party?
4. How does Gatsby interact with the guests?
5. What observation does Owl Eyes make about Gatsby’s library?
6. What is Nick’s first opinion of Gatsby?
7. What happens at the end of the party as the guests are leaving?
8. What does Gatsby’s formal gesture of waving farewell remind us of?
9. What story does Nick recall about Jordan, and what is the catalyst for his remembering?
10. How does Nick provide a contrast, a foil character, to Jordan?
(The entire section is 261 words.)
Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. What is the date at this point in the novel?
2. Whom does Nick encounter at Gatsby’s party?
3. What is the suggestion about Henry L. Palmetto’s death?
4. In the description of Gatsby’s car, what is the significance of its being bright with nickel and swollen in its monstrous length with all kinds of boxes?
5. What phrase does Gatsby repeatedly use to address Nick and others?
6. In what country did Gatsby receive a medal “For Valour Extraordinary”?
7. Who fixed the World Series in 1919, according to Gatsby?
8. Why is Daisy’s reputation so pristine?
9. For how long has Gatsby been...
(The entire section is 222 words.)
Chapter 5 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Nick say Gatsby’s house looks like the World’s Fair?
2. How does Gatsby’s gardener help prepare for Daisy’s visit?
3. How does Gatsby dress for the rendezvous with Daisy?
4. Who is the Finn referred to in chapter 5?
5. How long has it been since Daisy and Gatsby had seen each other?
6. What does Gatsby’s maid do when leaning out a central bay window?
7. In what way are the various rooms in Gatsby’s mansion described in historical terms?
8. Who was Gatsby’s first benefactor?
9. What part does nature play in the rendezvous?
10. Who provides the musical background...
(The entire section is 212 words.)
Chapter 6 Questions and Answers
1. In what state did Gatsby grow up?
2. What was his real name?
3. What was Dan Cody’s background?
4. Who was Ella Kaye?
5. How much was to have been Gatsby’s inheritance from Cody?
6. Why did he not receive it?
7. What is the significance of the threesome not waiting for Gatsby?
8. Why was Daisy appalled at Gatsby’s party?
9. How did Tom charge Gatsby with making his money?
10. In what season of the year had Gatsby met and kissed Daisy?
1. Gatsby was reared in North Dakota.
2. He was named James or Jimmy Gatz.
(The entire section is 201 words.)
Chapter 7 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Gatsby let all his domestic help go?
2. Whom does he use instead?
3. Why do the characters decide to go to New York?
4. What does Pammy wear when she comes into the room?
5. What does Gatsby say about Daisy’s voice?
6. What does Tom drive to New York?
7. Who rides with Gatsby?
8. What comment does Tom make about drug stores?
9. Of what does Tom accuse Gatsby?
10. How old is Nick at the party?
1. He dismisses them to accommodate meetings with Daisy and her wish for privacy.
2. He uses connections of Wolfsheim’s, people...
(The entire section is 170 words.)
Chapter 8 Questions and Answers
1. How late does Gatsby stand outside Daisy’s house, waiting to see if she needed him?
2. Why is Gatsby’s house unkempt?
3. Why does Nick advise Gatsby to go away a while?
4. Where had Gatsby met Daisy, according to the story he tells Nick?
5. What might Fitzgerald mean in describing Daisy’s porch as “bright with the bought luxury of starshine”?
6. Why didn’t Gatsby return to Daisy immediately after the war?
7. When Gatsby returned to Louisville, where was Daisy?
8. Why is the chauffeur about to drain the pool?
9. Why does Gatsby ask him to wait?
10. After learning who owns...
(The entire section is 216 words.)
Chapter 9 Questions and Answers
1. How is Gatsby’s death explained by the press in local newspapers?
2. How does Catherine respond to questions about her sister?
3. How does Wolfsheim’s letter attempt to explain his not attending the funeral?
4. Who is Henry C. Gatz?
5. Why does Klipspringer call?
6. When Nick locates Wolfsheim’s office and demands to see him, what is ironic about the situation?
7. How does Wolfsheim remember Gatsby?
8. Why did Gatsby continue to wear Army uniforms?
9. What could Nick mean when he concludes, “This has been a story of the West, after all—”?
10. What is the meaning of the...
(The entire section is 267 words.)
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Compare and Contrast
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What Do I Read Next?
For Further Reference
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Brucoli, Matthew J. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1993. Commonly regarded as the definitive Fitzgerald biography. Shows how the author became a kind of romantic archetype of the intoxicated, tragic genius. Includes an afterword by Scottie Fitzgerald Smith. See especially the section on The Great Gatsby entitled “Early Success, 1920-1925.”
Bryer, Jackson R., ed. “The Great Gatsby (1925).” In F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Critical Reception. New York: Burt Franklin, 1978. Provides an extensive, representative sampling of The Great Gatsby’s...
(The entire section is 270 words.)