Great Gatsby: Introduction

Character profiles


Great Gatsby - Characters, Structure, Literary Techniques

Transcript of Great Gatsby: Introduction

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Character profiles

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Character profilesSummaryThe Great Gatsby is the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby as told by Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner who lives on Long Island but works in Manhattan. Gatsby’s enormous mansion is adjacent to Carraway’s modest home, and Carraway becomes curious about his neighbor after being invited to one of his famous parties.  Nick soon learns that Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin and the wife of one Tom Buchanan, an acquaintance of Nick’s from Yale. Buchanan takes his old friend for a day in the city, where Nick learns that Buchanan has a kept woman, Myrtle, the wife of a long island mechanic George Wilson.

Gatsby sends a message through he and Nick’s mutual friend, professional golfer Jordan Baker, insisting that Nick plan a “chance” meeting for Gatsby and Daisy. Nick learns that Gatsby, Jay Gatz at the time, and Daisy had once been in love, but Daisy married Tom while Gatsby was in Europe during the Great War.  In the aftermath of this, Jay Gatz abandoned his old identity, becoming Jay Gatsby and amassing a fortune with the help of notorious criminal Meyer Wolfsheim.  Gatsby chose the site of his house in Long Island because it was across the bay from Daisy’s house, from which a green light could be seen at night.

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Character profilesSummaryNick manages to get Gatsby and Daisy together, and while the meeting is awkward at first, Gatsby soon relaxes and invites Nick and Daisy back to his mansion.  Gatsby and Daisy begin to see each other secretly with some frequency.  Nick and Gatsby also become close. Buchanan eventually confronts Gatsby in Manhattan about the affair, and the two argue about who it is that Daisy genuinely loves. Daisy claims to love both of them, but Tom let her return to Long Island with Gatsby, knowing that she won’t leave him for Gatsby. Daisy drives Gatsby’s car, but she accidentally kills Myrtle on the way home.

 Myrtle’s husband blames Buchanan for the death, but Buchanan informs him that it was Gatsby’s car that killed the woman. Wilson goes to Gatsby’s house, where he shoots Gatsby and then himself. Daisy refuses to confess to her crime, and only a few people, including Gatsby’s father Henry, show up for Gatsby’s funeral.

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Character Map(for reference purpose 


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 coming from Minnesota, grew up in family of "prominent, well-to-do people" in Chicago.

after being educated at Yale and fighting in World War I, goes to New York City to learn the bonds business

Nick Carraway

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QuoteBest Quality Worst Quality

Nick Carraway Narrator

"I am one of the few honest

people that I have ever known."

HonestSometimes too


+ Honest+ Tolerant+ Inclined to reserve judgment

Nick often serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets

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The main character: Jay Gatsby

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Character Descriptive Phrase

Memorable Quote Best Quality Worst


Jay Gatsby

" elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate

formality of speech just missed being


"Can't repeat the past? Why - of course you

can!"Earnest at heart

Involved in criminal activities

Gatsby is a fabulously wealthy young man living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg 

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Daisy Buchanan Nick’s cousin,

the woman Gatsby loves

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Daisy Buchanan

"Her face sad and lovely with bright eyes and a

bright passionate mouth..."

"... That's the best thing a

girl can be in this world, a

beautiful little fool."

VoiceInability to

make up her mind

Daisy Buchanan

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Tom BuchananDaisy’s immensely wealthy husband,

once a member of Nick’s social club at Yale

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QuoteBest Quality

Worst Quality

Tom Buchanan

"..he was a sturdy, straw haired man

of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner, two

shining, arrogant eyes had

established dominance over his face and gave

him the appearance of always leaning

aggressively forward."

"I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let

Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make

love to your wife. Well, if that's the

idea you can count me out..."

Sometimes he cares for


Abusive, adulterer

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Daisy’s friend JORDAN BAKER

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QuoteBest Quality Worst Quality

Jordan Baker

"She was a slender, small-breasted girl with an erect

cairrage which she

accentuated by throwing her

body backward at the

shoulders like a young cadet."

"It takes two people to make an


BeautifulIncurably Dishonest

A competitive golfer - a “new women” of the 1920s:+ cynical+ boyish

+ self-centered

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Myrtle Wilson

  Wife to George Wilson & Tom’s mistress

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QuoteBest Quality Worst Quality

Myrtle Wilson

"She was in the middle thirties

and faintly stout, but she

carried the surplus flesh sensuously as some women


"I can say the name if I very

well like to! Daisy, Daisy,


Full of life and energy

Plays George as a fool, adulterer

Myrtle herself possesses a fierce vitality and desperately looks for a way to improve her


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 Myrtle’s husband, the lifeless, exhausted owner of a run-down auto shop.

George loves and idealizes Myrtle, and is devastated by her affair with Tom

George is comparable to Gatsby in that both are dreamers and both are ruined by their unrequited love for women who love Tom.

George Wilson

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Meyer Wolfsheim

Gatsby’s friend, a prominent figure in

organized crime

He is the one who starts Gatsby in the ‘business’

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- Owl Eyes -  The EccentricOne of the very few men who attended Gatsby’s funeral

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Character profiles

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Character profiles

Nick Carraway rent a house in West Egg

Daisy and Tom in East Egg

Nick’s neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is ‘nouveau riche’, possibly involved in some illegal business, throws extravagant parties.


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Character profilesGatsby wants something he can't have: 

Daisy, and a shot at being in the American upper class. 

Tom wants something he can't have: a mistress and a wife who know nothing about each other. 

Nick wants something that he definitely can't have: all these crazy people to stop being crazy. Oh, and the hot young golf pro, Jordan Baker


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Tom Buchanan takes an instant disliking to Gatsby, he decides to investigate

Turns out, Jay Gatsby is really James Gatz, a poor kid who earned all his wealth from organized crime (gambling, bootlegging liquor)


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Character profilesTom and Gatsby argue who gets to have 

Daisy, and Tom wins. He seals his victory by letting them drive home together, just to rub it in Gatsby's face. 

But when the others follow behind, they discover that Myrtle was killed by a speeding yellow car that failed to stop


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Gatsby watches Daisy's house all night, worried that Tom will do something to her now that her infidelity has been revealed. 


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George Wilson finds Gatsby by the pool and then kills Gatsby in retaliation for killing his wife, then commits suicide.


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Daisy and Tom have fled, Nick and Jordan have broken up, and Gatsby is dead. We end with Gatsby's dismal, sparsely attended funeral

Nick sends us off with this enigmatic conclusion: the future is always out of reach. 


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“I want to write something new, something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and

‘intricately patterned’… “

F Scott Fitzgerald

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Modified first person viewpoint:The main story of the main character is 

narrated through a secondary character, Nick Carraway:

"I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible

variety of life" (Chapter 2) 

Narration Techniques

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Character profilesAdvantages:•Emotional involvement•A sense of immediacy•We can identify with narrator•RealisticDisadvantages:•We only get one viewpoint•We don't get to see everything The disadvantages have been utilized by Fitzgerald to create around Jay Gatsby an aura of mystery.

Narration Techniques

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Stories can be told in two different orders:

Content Order: the order in which the events of the story actually happened.

Form order: the order of events the narrator/author chooses to tell you the events

        Flashbacks/ fragmented-nonlinear time

Narration Techniques

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Character profilesJames E. Miller theoryAllowing X to stand for the straight chronological account of the summer of 1922, and A, B, C, D, and E to represent the significant events of Gatsby's past, the nine chapters of The Great Gatsby may be charted:X, X, X, XCX, X, XBXCX, X, XCXDX, XEXAX.“

Narration Techniques

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Flashbacks Foreshadowing- hinting at something to 

come- gives the impression of fate, people are the victims of circumstance, gives coherence and creates empathy with the characters.

Narration Techniques

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Extreme selectivity- create a series of scenes but does not tell us what happens between them.

Repetition- repeated events such as parties, luncheons and other encounters, key events, accounts of events, imagery and words

‘Jigsaw – like quality’- staggered release of information, have to put the pieces together.

The use of oppositions- for example West v. East, past v. present, Romanticism v. reality).

Other Narration Techniques

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Character profiles Music: Back to Black (Amy Winehouse cover) – 

Beyonce & Andre 3000


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Character profiles

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