I don't know enough music that you probably know, but in the titles I create, I will give a topic that you might consider in trying to make your own. Here are titles I would use if I had to do this assignment:
1. Honest Abe
2. Pictures of the Great Affair
3. Old Sport
4. Party over here, Party over there
5. Renewing, Refreshing, Reviving
6. In Your Eyes
7. As I lay Dying
8. By the Pool
9. Live like You were Dying
This is very much an assignment for you. The titles are not necessarily songs, you need to determine those. Do the best you can with these topics that I have introduced for you concerning each chapter.
One way to go about choosing appropriate titles (and appropriate songs) to match each chapter of The Great Gatsby is to start by summarizing the action (or themes) presented in each chapter. After considering what the chapters are about, we can narrow down a few ideas and figure out what we are looking for in a title.
Chapter I: This chapter introduces Gatsby using some narrative foregrounding wherein Gatsby is described according to his ability to dream.
"[Gatsby had] an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again."
Nick is also introduced, along with Daisy, Jordan and Tom. The action of the first chapter is somewhat dramatic at the dinner party, but otherwise centers in the idea of expectations.
Songs that might match Chapter I -
- "When You Wish Upon a Star" (from Pinocchio)
- "I Am the Walrus" (The Beatles)
- "We're Off to See the Wizard" (From The Wizard of Oz)
Chapter II: In this chapter, Nick travels through the Valley of Ashes for the first time and meets Wilson and his wife Myrtle, who is Tom's mistress. The action of the chapter features a rather sordid party at an apartment in New York with Myrtle especially acting affected and "putting on airs." Ideas of adultery and the drunkenness and the violence characterize the chapter.
Songs that might match Chapter II:
- "Cheating and Lying" (Muddy Waters)
- "Backdoor Man" (Willie Dixon)
- "Gold Digger" (Kanye West)
Chapter III: Nick meets Gatsby at the first time while attending one of Gatsby's parties for the first time. Opulence and bad behavior mix in this kaleidoscopic chapter. Nick also finds that he has a connection with Jordan Baker. Ideas of watching a circus, being out of place, and experiencing grandeur characterize this chapter.
Songs that might match Chapter III:
- "You Can Call Me Al" (Paul Simon)
- "Ain't Misbehavin'" (Fats Waller)
- "Have Some Fun Tonight" (Little Richard)
If we carry out the same exercise with other chapters, we can find ideas to match up with song titles just as we have done here above. For a few more ideas, here is a list of songs that connect with the themes and events of the later parts of the novel. (Looking to jazz standards is a natural choice in selecting songs for this novel, known as the great literary work of the "jazz age.")
- "I've Got No Strings" (Pinocchio) - Nick realizes, in the end, that Gatsby has achieved mostly what he set out to achieve. This means that despite the irony of being a made up person (a fantasy), Gatsby actually manages to realize his dreams. This achievement leaves him friendless and alone and separates him from his father. In this separation, however, we see just how successful Gatsby was in creating a new persona for himself and inhabiting it.
- "St. Louis Blues" (Louis Armstrong) - The Mid-West is the setting for some of the flashbacks of the novel, including those depicting the background story between Daisy and Gatsby.
- "Summertime" (George Gershwin) - The climactic action of the novel takes place in the summer and leads to death, which is mainly what this song is about.
- "You're All I Need (to Get By)" (Marvin Gaye)
- "Can't Buy Me Love" (The Beatles)
- "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (The Rolling Stones)
- "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (Doris Day)