Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gatsby Chapter 9 Silent Socratic

Hi Guys! Please read all of the following directions. Today, you are going to do a silent discussion over the end of the book; please make sure to reference specific quotes in text as much as possible; always end with a question and refresh your page periodically to read comments that are coming in and respond to one another.  I would like you to discuss the book first, then you can move into critical level questions.  Be thoughtful and show depth with analysis.  Push each other.  If you are responding to certain people, either comment under their question or write their name so they know to whom you are speaking.

Also, make sure to read over your timed writing prompts (handout given in class) as we will write Thursday. DO NOT write out your paper; it is supposed to be practice for the purpose of writing an argument in a timed setting-have a thesis, maybe quotes from book-I will be coming around to check.

ANSWER my question first and then leave with a question and begin your silent thread.

1.  Analyze the imagery of the final three paragraphs in the book; look up words if you don't know them.  What is Fitzgerald conveying?  What sense does it bring you as a reader?  (Just to think about-look at how "Winter Dreams" ended.  How is this ending vastly different?)

102 comments:

  1. Fitzgerald leaves us with an image of hopelessness in the last sentence of Gatsby, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past". Humans are always trying to reach the unreachable. The current represents fate and society, and humans are the boats that hopelessly long for something better. The current also represents time. Gatsby wanted this unreachable future but was haunted by his past. His dream of Daisy caught him so that he couldn't strive to better himself, and he became caught up in this shallow dream. Does a dream ever truly die?

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    1. I wouldn't say a dream dies, but maybe gets pushed aside. For example, I dreamed of being a veterinarian, but now I don't want that to be my life anymore. The dream never truly died, but rather got pushed to the back of my mind for another day.

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    2. I don't necessarily think that dreams die. I think that they fade once they aren't accomplished or other, more obtainable dreams appear. The dream will always be there. There is always something about it that stays with people, even if it is just a little.

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    3. Bekah- I think the question you asked was very interesting given the ideas you presented right before it. It's hard to say that dreams ever die, because I think that even after people die, their long forgotten dreams stay around for other people to reach for themselves. There is a quote page 176, where Fitzgerald writes, "After Gatsby's death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes' power of correction" (Fitzgerald 176). I think that this quote shows how much Gatsby stayed with Nick and his hopes and dreams did, too even after he had died. Our dreams might decay a little bit when we are faced with struggles, but I don't think that they ever truly die.

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    4. I don't think a dream ever truly dies. Like Taylor said, it gets pushed aside. In this case it changes from 'what can be' into 'what could have been'. In this way one gives up their dream, but doesn't let it go.

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  2. So Nick says :
    “And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 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...”
    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

    Do you think he is saying the the American Dream is unachievable? Or is he saying that you cannot obtain it without letting go of your past?

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    1. I think when Fitzgerald says, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." he is meaning the American Dream is not achievable. That is partially due to the fact that people can not let go of their past. The past and experiences are what dictates behavior or thoughts.

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    2. I think he's saying that the American Dream isn't supposed to be achievable. It's supposed to be the goal that no one can reach. I think the dream itself keeps growing and it's something to strive for, but not necessarily reach.

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    3. I think the American Dream was once attainable in a simpler time. But in these characters lives we see them wanting more and more, never being satisfied. There are some people who, as they get very close to their dream, decide they want more, I think this is what makes in unattainable.

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    4. I think he's trying to say a bit of both. That the American Dream is unattainable partly because we cannot let go of our past. But I don't necessarily agree with this. I feel that even if we do let go of our past, we still won't be able to reach the American Dream because the American Dream doesn't really exist. But it still serves as something to strive for and work for.

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  3. When it states " I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn..." What do you think that the juxtaposition of the green and blue symbolize?

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    1. I think "green" symbolized hope of money and youth. On page 180, it says that Nick sees a "glow of a ferryboat" that is crossing between the Eggs. This symbolizes that there are still dream Like with Gatsby's shirts, the wealth is attainable but the happy, carefree life is fake.

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    2. At another point, he talks about his memories of prep school, and he says, "...the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands. And last the murky yellow cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad looking cheerful as Christmas itself on the tracks beside the gate." What do the murky yellow cars symbolize?

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  4. One quote on the very last of the book stuck out to me, " Most of the big shore places were closed now an there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound" (Fitzgerald 180). What interested me about this is how empty the world is now. Nick thinks as though Gatsby was the only light, the only thing keeping West AND East Egg alive. The question I have to ask is this, is Nick a trustworthy story teller? Is Nick biased toward Gatsby's side of the story, or is he not slanted at all?

    Just as another quote to support this question, and my opinion about it, Nick says, " Gatsby's house was still empty when I left-" (Fitzgerald 179). I don't see this as just Gatsby's house that he sees as empty, I see this as all the places that Gatsby has touched, has left his charm.

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    1. I don't know if Nick's perspective is biased or not. Part of me thinks that it isn't because Nick shows both the negative and positive sides of Gatsby. However, I think that all writing is biased to some extent. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that some of Nick's descriptions are somewhat vague. But we will never know.

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  5. The ending of this last book left me with a sense of hopelessness. His descriptions made me feel like there is no point in chasing our dreams because they will always be unreachable. I says that Gatsby could never have his dream of being with Daisy. It mentions his journey and how far he came and how he thought he was so close to achieving his dream that it would be impossible to not reach it, but he failed to do so. Fitzgerald generalizes Gatsby to everyone else in the fact that no one can reach their dream. However, I disagree with that. I think we can reach our dreams and goals.

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    1. I definitely agree with you. I think that there is something about unreasonable dreams which makes it more interesting to chase after. Personally, I thought that Gatsby was going to end up with Daisy. I think that dreams and goals can be achieved but within reason. If you place your goals too high, then they probably won't be obtained.

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  6. Nick feels that Gatsby is saying, "I can't go through this alone" (p.165). However, this is ironic because Gatsby spent his whole life alone because he was looking to be loved. The irony is evident in the fact that Gatsby doesn't have any friends to mourn his death. All his relationships were shallow because he was using the people around him, such as Nick, and the people around Gatsby were using him, such as the party goers and Wolfsheim. After his death, Gatsby finally realized that he has an inherent human need to be loved. He wasted his whole life chasing an unreachable love with Daisy and shut everyone out and lost the love of his parents. Even Nick didn't truly value Gatsby while he was alive. What is the significance of the owl eyed man at the funeral?

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  7. Bekah: I think we see at the end of chapter 8, when Gatsby died, I think many people's idea of the american dream died with him. He represented everything many people wanted out of life, and when he died so easily, many people thought there was no hope for there dreams of a brighter future. I also see this as the reason for Daisy and Tom leaving. No one wanted to believe that there dream died, and instead of attending the funeral and confim their fears, they chose to live in ignorance and run away.

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    1. Do you think that the American Dream is what made Gatsby "great"?

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    2. Taylor- Kind of going off of your question, I do think that the American Dream was what made Gatsby the person he was. I think without it, he would've been a completely different man, and in some ways not a whole person at all. It's sad to say, but I think that Gatsby's dreams were what made him strive to be a "great man" and have all the things he had and the money he had, too. Without all of that, he would be nothing. Gatsby wanted to live the big life, so he could get Daisy and the idea of the American Dream was what changed who he was.

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    3. Taylor - I would say that the American Dream is all that Gatsby really had. He was the self made man who decided to become wealthy in order to achieve love. One definition of the American Dream I found was, "a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S." Gatsby had that material comfort and I would say people thought he was great because of his wealth. Just before the funeral Nick mentions, "... I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn't any use. Nobody came" (174). When Gatsby was alive and rich, people only cared for him because he threw lavish parties that allowed them to feel "happy". After his death there was nothing left to love about the man, nothing to build up and glorify. I would definitely say the American Dream made him great.

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  8. The imagery shown in the last three paragraphs is vivid. Nick starts by thinking about the 'old, unknown world' which brings a picture of a desolate region of sadness or maybe Nick wants to believe there is a better world out there. He also speaks of the green light again and how Nick lays on Gatsby's blue lawn. The blue lawn may represent sadness (blue) and it is unkept since Gatsby passed. Fitzgerald is conveying the message that even though Gatsby had died, his ideals were still there inside Nick. As a reader it helps to get the feel and mood of this somber time. The ending of Great Gatsby is very different from Winter Dreams because in Winter Dreams, Dexter is able to move on from Judy but in The Great Gatsby, Gatsby never moved on. Why did Daisy and Tom disappear? Where did they go?

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    1. I agree with what you said about the differences in The Great Gatsby compared to Winters Dream, mainly about the 2 main characters Gatsby and Dexter. Dexter is able to move on from Judy, and that because he had built a life outside of his dream of Judy, and it was not his only focus in life,unlike Gatsby. Gatsby's dream shaped his life =, was his only focus, and he really did not have anything to focus his life on but this dream of getting rich so he can ultimately be with Daisy. I think it fits the Dexter is living at the end of Winters Dream and Gatsby is not at the end of The Great Gatsby because Gatsby was almost nothing with out his dream, he was almost and ideal, and when his dream died so did he character but not his ideal. Dexter i would say represented an ideal, more of just a in depth character, so he lived on with out his dream.

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  10. For the first time, at the very end of the novel, Gatsby is finally included with the rest of society in terms of his actions. Nick narrates, "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-- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning--" (Fitzgerald 180). Fitzgerald implies that Gatsby was above no one in the pursuit of his desires, that his behavior was something that was only natural in the era. Diction such 'faster,' 'farther,' and 'eluded' depict the game that this entire dream turned out to be. Gatsby could never truly reach his goal in the end, but that was to be expected. In fact, it was this lack of true identity that gave him, and the rest of society, their identity. They were the people who chased after an empty hope, in hopes that one day they could eventually make the impossible a reality. Can something similar to the story of Gatsby happen today? Is it a common story we see throughout history?

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    1. We see this constantly today. The world is filled with self-made men who have made it their life goal to overcome and escape their lowly past. We also hear stories of long lost flames getting back together because they never really stopped loving each other. Dreamers have always been around, and they always will be. From Socrates to Galileo to Mark Zuckerberg today. These are all people who had new ideas about what the world should be, and they kept with their dream. They eventually vastly changed the world around them.

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    2. I really like the way you say that him chasing his dream was almost like a game. I feel like the problem with chasing the future is that you just end up chasing your own death. No matter what happens, time just slowly goes on, almost unaware of the rest of the world.

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  11. The imagery presented in the final three paragraphs of the book conveys the vagueness of dreams. Nick says, “And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock…He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (Fitzgerald 180). Gatsby knew exactly what he wanted, but now that he is gone, his dream seems to slowly dissipate and become hopelessly vague. We get a sense of how lifeless it is now that he has failed to reach his goal. Why does the end make it seem that dreams hurt people? What makes a dream worth fighting for?

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    1. Dreams end up hurting people because most dreams are "enchanted" and reality can't compare with "human's capacity for wonder" (p.180). However, dreams are worth fighting for because of hope. Life without hope is a "lifeless" life, use Colleen's words, and life without a purpose (happiness or love) isn't worth living.

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    2. I think that dreams hurt people when they start to let go of reality. I'm all for dreams. But when they consume you, it isn't so good. It just leads to disappointment. I think dreams should be sought after, but only if a person still has a grip on reality. Dreams should be fought for if they make you truly happy.

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  12. After reading the last chapter of the book, and better yet, the last three paragraphs of the book, Fitzgerald really attacked his writing with an entirely new perspective. It seemed liked Fitzgerald started writing almost with a different kind of purpose and style. Through all of the descriptive words and confusing diction, I think that Fitzgerald is conveying the idea that even once we theoretically reach our dreams and achieve what we want in life, that it no longer exists and everything we had hoped to reach is now in the past. At the very end of the book on page 180, Fitzgerald writes, "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity beyond the city" (Fitzgerald 180). Gatsby was so close to getting what he had wanted his whole life, but yet, he was too late, and his everlasting dream, was no longer a reality. Is it possible to have dreams without letting them obscure our vision of how to reach them reasonably?

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    1. I think today it is possible to have dreams without them interfering in a negative way. We see it in entreprenuers and some of America's millionares. Back then, I'm not so sure. It seems as though the people lacked responsibilty, morals and most importantly planning ahead. They did not have a sense for the future.

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    2. Joey,
      I really like what you say here but I think that Fitzgerald was emphasizing the point that certain things happen or dreams come true because the timing is right which of course coincides with the fact that Gatsby was too late in his dream. Through the motif of time, Fitzgerald shows that dreams come true if the timing of the situation is right, but people move on and change and desperately want to go back to the past because it is easier to fix the problems of the past than predict the unknown problems of the future.

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  13. Fitzgerald is trying to convey the fact that even thought Gatsby's dreams and goals were so close to him reaching them, he wasn't going to get them anyway. Gatsby's dreams were never supposed to be reached, "He did not know that it was already behind him...". Sure, Gatsby believed fully in his dreams, he believed in Daisy and the chance that they could be together, and he believed that the green light at the end of the dock was her, and he believed that he would succeed in being rich, and "great", and that he'd get the girl. He did all he could to get the house across from Daisy's just to watch the light at the end of her dock, just to feel close to her, "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." There came to be a point when Gatsby didn't think he could fail. Honestly, I don't think he failed when he died, I think he had already failed when Daisy and Tom were eating dinner together, concurring. Fitzgerald leaves us with the feeling of continuance. He ends with, "Se we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.". He gives off the notion that although Gatsby had died and although Daisy and Tom were careless and still together and although Nick had left, life went on just as it always had. The question that still remains with me is how was the American Dream represented in each event and character throughout the book?

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    1. Taylor: This is a question that I am pondering as well. Over and over we see hints at the American Dream as well Gatsby's Dream. The way that Gatsby's dream and the American dream compare to eachother is one of the biggest way Fitzgerald shows the American dream through his story. If we look at the American dream, it is hope. It consists of looking for to the future, planning for the future, anticipating greatness in the future, and growing and thriving. But when we look at Gatsby's dream, he is utterly engaged in the past. He is born ceaselessly into an ideal of his past, he is driven by his past, he thrives off of his past. It's irony.

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    2. I agree with Kaytee but i was wondering this too, but i was wondering if anyone noticed Nicks almost lack of a dream? I'm still trying to understand what did Nick represent to this story aside from the Narrator? I understand that Gatsby left the biggest impression on him, and in a way passed down his ideal, but Nick understood from the start what was the matter with Gatsby's dream and everyone else in this society, but what about himself?

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  14. "As I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock." (Fitzgerald 180). I think this quote is significant in the fading of Gatsby as a character. It connects to beginning of Nick meeting Gatsby at the beginning of the story. This quote is good for the end because Nick is putting himself into Gatsby's shoes as he found Gatsby. The last three paragraphs sum up Gatsby in that he never found true happiness. The end of the book basically says that the American dream is all an illusion and can't be accomplished. Do you think that it is possible to achieve the American Dream without finding destruction?

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    1. I agree with you as the last three paragraphs sum up Gatsby as a character. Although Nick is judgmental he put himself in Gatsby's place and imagined him looking longingly at the green light many times. Nick also pictures what America looked like to the first explorers, he thought how America was a dream to them. That connects to how Daisy was a dream for Gatsby. This really tells what Nick thinks of the American Dream.

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    2. I don’t think that it is possible to fight and achieve any dream without destruction or bumps in the road. I think that our dreams are supposed to motivate us to find something meaningful and work towards that to better ourselves. But the only way for us to become stronger individuals is to overcome obstacles. What do we lose when we achieve our dreams?

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  15. Again, the weather is a huge symbol in Chapter 9. During the funeral, the rain means that nature is crying over Gatsby's death because no one else is. The universe mourns for Gatsby because it sees the "great" part of him that the shallow people don't see. The owl eyed man "wiped his glasses" from the rain. His glasses symbolize that he has a different view on life and saw a glimpse of the real Gatsby with his "real books". But we don't know the owl eyed man's name, which shows that there is no individuality and life amounts to nothing.

    Also, the "winter" that Nick talks about with the "sharp wild brace" and "thrilling return of trains" shows a return to origin, identity, and purity. The people stand out distinctly against the snow, which symbolizes a return to individuality. However, with Gatsby gone life has no passion or excitement.

    Where else does weather symbolize a main idea? What does Jordan's "autumn" face symbolize?

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    1. Throughout Nick's relationship with Jordan, she has always seemed to symbolize the warmth and freshness of summer, yet as this relationship ends, he describes the color of her hair as "the color of an autumn leaf", a description we have not seen yet. Thus far she has only been described as tan and young and fresh, and much of Nick's relationship with her takes place during the summer. With the description of her now including "autumn" we see her fading in his eyes, and their relationship decaying just as a fallen leaf eventually does. She has lost that "golden girl" quality, and now becomes just another story.

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    2. I believe Jordan's autumn face represents her character as someone who was constantly in and out of the picture, only showing beauty in calm times. Fall is shifty and contains many warm days, however, it is also when the snow starts to fall. Jordan showed these by her relationship with Nick. She showed the warmth of being with Nick and having fun with Daisy, but she also showed her coldness during the Tom and Gatsby incident. She was completely untouched about this and acted as if she didn't know either of them,.

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  16. "Gatsby believed in the Green Light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us" (Fitzgerald 180) This is Fitzgerald's thesis to the Great Gatsby. It is his commentary on dreams. Gatsby is a dreamer. His whole life is based off a dream; the dream that he can be rich and have Daisy. The belief that the future will be better than today is the cornerstone of Gatsby's ideals. He believed with all his being that tomorrow would always be better than today. Daisy's green light represented his dream. Fitzgerald says it was "so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." (Fitzgerald 180). The green light was so close that Gatsby was guaranteed of his success. However, here is where Fitzgerald offers his bleak commentary on dreams. He says that year by year the light recedes. It doesn't dart away so that we know we will never catch it. Just with each passing year it slowly moves away. Time is the great limiter to our dreams. Fitzgerald shows how it is time that made Gatsby's dream unattainable. The use of the word recedes is really important because is shows how Gatsby (and thus mankind) was taunted by his dreams. It always seems so close yet it moves away just enough that it is not attainable. Fitzgerald says that dreams, specifically the American Dream, is dead. Is this a valid statement? Does dreaming only hurt us? Or is Fitzgerald wrong and dreams drive us forward?

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    1. Dreams drive us forward if we are trying to achieve something new. The greatest people in the world were dreamers. Our lives have improved greatly because of dreamers, people who are not content with the life they are living, people who refuse to stop progressing, who do not understand complacency. However most dreamers are consumed by their dream. The pour their entire life into it. This makes dreaming a very risky business. If we dream for something we cannot obtain, we will never be content or happy because we will keep irrationally striving for our unattainable goal, like Gatsby did. If we dream for something not good enough, once we achieve it we will realize that it was not worth the pedestal we put it on, and become disappointed, like Dexter did when he found out that Judy faded. But if we dream for something truly worthy and we reach it, we become something great. The Founding Fathers were dreamers that created what would become the strongest country in the world. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs made massive and pioneering technological advances with computers that revolutionized the lives of Americans. Everyone who we see that is a true legend was a dreamer that beat the odds and dared not only to dream, but to chase and catch it.

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    2. Chase- In reply to the questions you asked at the very end, I think that it's hard to say whether or not dreams are hurting us or pushing us to be as great as humans as we can. In some ways, dreams are what make us strive for making ourselves better people and encourage us to take on new opportunities. They are what make life worth living for. In the end, though, it's that mindset of reaching these goals and doing whatever it takes to reach them that results in hurting us. We start to ignore all of the bad things that can come along with trying to get our dreams in our hands, and lose sight of reality a little bit, kind of like Gatsby, which led to the overall downfall of his character in the book.

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  17. I think that in the last three paragraphs Nick has discovered that the past and the future are just a mere illusion. The future is set out, in front of us by our past. Nick says, "He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night." (Page 154 in my book). This shows how although Gatsby moved to the West Egg in order to win back Daisy, his past had already created his future, and him and Daisy would never have their happy ending. Do you agree with this theory of fate?

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    1. I sort of agree with the theory of fate. I think once we make a decision we set ourselves down a road that is in a way pre-planned. The thing that I tend to disagree with is that no matter what decision we make, it's already been planned. I think we can make our own decisions that would change our fate.

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    2. I think that in our life, there isn't fate. I think that fate doesn't have an effect on my daily life. However, I think that fate sort of presented itself in this book and in the life of Gatsby and Daisy. I think that Gatsby's fate was to in the end fail, I guess. But by that I mean, he didn't get to reach his goal or his full potential. However, I think that in real life, there is no fate. I believe that the things that happen to us are because of our actions and who we are as people. I think that is what leads us into the events that we find ourselves.

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    3. I agree that our past changes or future. We cannot see exactly what it leads to , but it can either come back to haunt us, or it could help us. I think the more we focus on the past the more it changes our future because we are then allowing it to change us. I think there are instances when we can let go of our past and have it not leave a lasting impression, but subconsciously it will remain with us. Many people think when they go somewhere new they have a clean slate. Do you agree with this or does our past come back to us no matter where we are?

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    4. Annie, I really love what you said about the future being set out in front of us by our past. I would have to agree to some extent because I think that what Fitzgerald is trying to explain is that too much of our past defines our future and we need to let what is happening in the present be the balancer to what actually defines us because everyone makes mistakes and has wishful futures but its about what you do to fix those mistakes and what we do to make our dreams come true that make us who we are. I think that that is the main reason Gatsby struggled so much in his life because he was letting too much of what happened with him and Daisy in the past define who he was at the time. He was so caught up with having Daisy fall back in love with him, that he could not focus on the present with all of his guests, neighbors, family, and friends. No wonder he was so reserved and timid to be social.

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    5. I see what you're saying, but I'm not quite sure I really think that Gatsby and Daisy were pre-destined to fail. Unfortunately, I think it was mostly just an unhappy coincidence. Fitzgerald's writing style can feel more real or very philosophical. In Gatsby and Daisy's case, I got more of the real side from Fitzgerald, hinting that their relationship didn't have any kind of higher power at work.

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  18. Fitzgerald makes us out to be rowers in a boat endlessly rowing upstream against a current that is trying to bring us back to the past. He means to tell us that we will never escape our history. Our past defines our present. It makes us who we are. Even though Gatsby tried hard and lied to overcome his lowly heritage, he still could not escape it and was looked down upon by the East Eggers until he died. We will also never be able to forget the past. We are driven by our desires to recreate or change a bad event that happened in the past. Gatsby made it his life goal to recreate and relive the life that he once had with Daisy before he went off to war. This love of the past is what kept him from living a happy life. He could not make himself move on, so he let his life slip by while he tirelessly strove to put a memory in his future. What seemed like a goal to Gatsby was only a memory to everyone else. Gatsby refused to see the truth that it was unattainable because he was bound by his past. Even though we may try to fight it, our thoughts always are rooted or come back to our past, and our past is what will always create our identities. However, if we stop fighting the current, if we give in to nostalgia, we become like Gatsby. We forget about the life we are living and only seek to relive the life we had. This is why we must ever keep our eyes on the horizon, to see what is ahead of us, an never stop rowing against the current of memories that tries to hold us back from progress.

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  19. In the third to last paragraph Fitzgerald writes, " And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out that green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night". The wonder that Nick describes contrasts the reality of this situation, and this attaches a sense of hopelessness to the writing and to the American Dream. Gatsby only wanted to move forward. He exuded excitement and wonder for the future, but the current was continually pushing him backwards.In his head, Gatsby felt like he was moving forward, but in the end he was only going backwards.

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    1. Amanda, what made you think that Gatsby was only moving backwards? Do you think that maybe instead of him moving into his past again, it was his past that kept moving further and further from him no matter how hard he tried to grasp it?

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    2. I agree, but I also wonder if Gatsby was trying to go forward when really what he was looking for was in the past. In other words, Gatsby was pushing towards an unreachable future with money and Daisy. However, his true desire was love, which could have been found in his past. I think Gatsby's dad loved him, because his dad feels so much pride in Gatsby despite his faults. Also, Gatsby himself was a better person in the past.

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  20. Fitzgerald conveys the American Dream and his true thoughts about it in these last three paragraphs. He shows the fact that Gatsby could never truly attain his because of both his past and those around him. He says "He has come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." This quote shows how close someone can come to their dreams but something will always bring them back. His dream of being with Daisy was brought to an end because Daisy chose to remain with Tom. The past also changes how we can reach out dream. Gatsby wanted to have everything like it used to be, but he fails to realize that so much has happened that it can never go back. The final line left me with a sense of hopelessness. "So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past." The boats try to go their own way, against the current, but eventually they cannot keep fighting it can fall back to where they once were in their past, leaving everything behind.

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  21. With the last three paragraphs, excluding the last sentence, Fitzgerald leaves the reader with a sense of hope, that someday that dream that Gatsby had would be achieved. He writes, "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 — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——" (Fitzgerald 182). Fitzgerald implies that someday, someday that future will be reached, that man will always improve himself to be better and faster and more innovative so that that great goal can be achieved. However, with the addition of the last sentence, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" (Fitzgerald 182), the tone becomes more desperate. Fitzgerald implies that the "current" is against us, that the American Dream is, in the end, unreachable. He is saying that no matter what, we will always come back to our past eventually, and that the pursuit of happiness that Gatsby embarked on only leads back to the truth. It is impossible to reach our highest dreams, and the lies that we tell on the way up always catch up to us in the end. How does Gatsby's funeral, and the loneliness of it contrast with his wild lifestyle? Why did no one bother to come, even though they were so attached to him in life? How does this reflect the mindset of the 1920s?

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  22. Well in the last few paragraphs I saw an interesting twist. Throughout this whole novel Fitzgerald has seemed to have a commentary about how dreamers get lost in an unrealistic world and their dreams fail. When that happens we see the downfall and death of the dreamer. These last few paragraphs painted a new picture. I saw some hope in Fitzgerald's writing. Hope that dreams are a good thing and though some may be unattainable, they are vital in our life. On page 180 Fitzgerald writes, "... but that's no matter - to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning ----" To me this quote represents the idea that one day the dreaming will be worth it. I believe Gatsby envisioned his dream would come true and carry on forever while he lived happily with Daisy. His dream didn't quite turn out like that but it still came true. Gatsby was able to rekindle something with Daisy and spent some nice time with her. I find it interesting because Gatsby ended up causing his dream to end by forcing Daisy to tell Tom she never loved him. Both Daisy and Gatsby made it too easy for Tom to find out about the affair and do something about it. This leads me to think that Daisy did it all on purpose. Tom had been having affairs since the night of he and Daisy's wedding, however; he never brought Myrtle and Daisy together or made it obvious that he was cheating. Daisy on the other hand insisted that Gatsby come over that afternoon. I believe she knew all along that this would create more suspicion and questioning in Tom causing him to ask about their affair. On page 130 Daisy tells Tom to have self control in the hotel room, "Self-control!' repeated Tom incredulously. 'I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife." Tom already had ideas in his head of the affair and Daisy did nothing to try in stop them, instead she made them seem more believable by inviting "Mr. Nobody" (Gatsby) to their home. I honestly think that Daisy was sick of trying to pick between Tom and Gatsby so she decided to get them together and see who deals with the other first. Gatsby seemed to have brought this upon himself, which leads me to ask: Is it possible that we cause our dreams to end?

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    1. On page 179 Fitzgerald describes Nick's final interaction with Tom. He writes, " I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I suddenly felt as though I were talking to a child". Nick recognizes that Tom and his actions were rather childish. Like a child, Tom never felt the need to take responsibility for his actions. This is not only reflected in his character, but also in Daisy and the society around him.Throughout the book, I felt like Daisy viewed all of this as a game. She knew how to manipulate the people around her. She knew how to play the game where she would ultimately "win".

      On the next page Fitzgerald writes, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." This quote emphasizes Tom and Daisy's selfishness. They take advantage of what is around them without ever having to worry about failing. In the beginning of the story, it seems like Tom and Daisy lack a true connection. This made us question if they were ever really in love, but now it is clear that they are connected through their carelessness and selfishness. They can't, and won't let themselves, see beyond this. They are a part of the downfall of the dream. They don't have to take risks or deal with failure, but they have no problem leaving others in the dust.

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  23. In the end of the book, the part that made the biggest impression on me was when Nick daydreams of the dutch sailors and their first impressions of the land. First of all, Fitzgerald is attempting to bring in another perspective, which reminds me of the quote when Nick talks about different perspectives. "It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment." (104). The perspective of the Dutch brings us back to the beginning of America and the start of the American Dream. "And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world." (180). As Nick examines his surrounding, he sees the un-importance of the houses, the human influence, to the vast landscape of the "old island". For the original settlers, the "green breast of the new world" was a promise for a future with possibilities and excitement. Nick realizes the land is a symbol for the deprecation of this hope. The houses destroyed the promise of a fruitful future for others. The inessential houses also refer to the corruption of purity and nature in the modern society because throughout the entire novel, we see houses symbolizing wealth and materialism, both of which demoralize society. This passage is also a reflection of the common motif of geography representing society. The way the landscape has changed shows how man has changed, manipulated, tainted, and commandeered the natural landscaped and created a panorama of elaborate homes that essentially mean nothing. This landscape, this area, the "west and east egg" are completely disconnected from both the working class and the natural world. Their was certainly none of this when the Dutch sailors first eyes the coast of what is now such a hollow, materialistic society. Fitzgerald uses the glimpse into an alternate perspective as well as the change in geography to show this.

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  24. Looking at the last three paragraphs in The Great Gatsby there were a few things that stood out to me including the wrap up of the green light. I love how Fitzgerald said, "And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock" (Fitzgerald 180). We see how the green light has brought Gatsby through his life's journey and how now that the story is coming to an end the author is bringing it up one last time. I also love that he used the words 'old, unknown world' to convey that at first Nick thought he had the world figured out but now that he lived through Gatsby and all of his parties and the cheating and sneaking around with other people it just goes to show that the world is an unsuspecting place and you never know what is going to happen. This is also shown when he says, "He did not know that is was already behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity beyond the city" (Fitzgerald 180). This diction is used to amplify that in the 20's there was obscurity and odd people and events that took place. I guess this is why I really loved this novel because we all live with our inabilities and our imperfection, it's just a matter of time that lets us define those. What is the difference between now and then when it comes to our morals?

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    1. I think that the growth of our morals depends on how open we are to listen, and experience what's around us. If we're not willing to accept new technology, ideals, and ways of life than we become a relic of the past. This connects to how Gatsby's greatness was lost through the faux assumption that he was truly a self-made man. He attained all through un-just and illegal ways to put into his little pot of wealth to attract Daisy like a honey bee to his hive. Gatsby was unwilling to accept an alternate root, and therefore would deny- or disbelieve anything that was too morally righteous- in fear of it not coinciding with the reality of his dream. Sorry for rambling- but my main point is the need to keep an open mind, and to accomplish what you stand for through paths in which you believe in. Not to grind down your values and character just to accomplish something.

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  25. Jayla HOdge

    "He had come along way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night." Fitzgerald is using this passage to convey a sense of hopelessness. I feel that Fitzgerald is conveying that Gatsby's dream was set to fail the entire time, he was never going to fulfill his dream because it had always been in his past, something before him, and he thought he was reaching forward, when ultimately he was looking back. The sense oh hopelessness comes from the fact that even when Gatsby had all his ambitions and hope to begin it was sad because there was none and nothing he did helped him achieve his dream completely. Did Gatsby's Dream ever have a chance?

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    1. I think that Gatsby's dream had a chance. I was convinced that Daisy was going to leave Tom for him. I'm still not entirely sure why she stayed with Tom. I think that this is partly why it crushed Gatsby at the end. He thought that his dream was going to be possible. I think that's one of the hardest parts; when you come so close to a dream and then it vanishes right before your eyes.

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    2. Jayla, That is such an interesting question, some might say yes because of how close it seemed throughout the story from the moment Daisy and Gatsby reconnected till close to the end. I however, do not believe that his dream had a chance, Daisy i feel was in it all for the chase and with Tom and Gatsby wanting her and fighting for her she just loved that more than anything. I don't think that Daisy wanted to be with Gatsby anymore because she knew that she had money and such with Tom and her life was quite enjoyable with Tom even if he was cheating. The cheating was over now, she could have money and a family with Tom now and that is ultimately what Won Daisy over to Tom. Just a question to think about... what would be the one thing to make you leave the one you love for someone else? Money? security? or for the simple fact that you feel your lover would be better off without you?

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  26. I think the Sound is a major player in this final chapter of the book. Nick explains, "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 the eastern life." The West is typically associated with new money, capitalism, and a race to reach the top class. However, everyone is reaching for the top class, which is a dream everyone shares. However, the east holds an aristocracy that causes the higher classes to feel it's their right that they are a part of this class. Gatsby, while being rich, lived in West egg, showing that he is self-made man. While Tom and Daisy lived in east egg, showing they were born into their money. Gatsby's dream of having Daisy was always unreachable because in order for her to leave Tom for Gatsby, Gatsby had to be accepted into that aristocracy, which wouldn't happen. The Sound represented the barrier between the capitalist west and aristocratic east, which also represents the barrier of the American dream during this time. Everyone wanted to make money and become that aristocrat, however, that class would never accept them as one of their own.

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  27. I feel as though Fitzgerald's writing stylechanges in the ending of "Winter Dreams" and "The Great Gatsby". Both pieces of writing have very deep and meaningful endings, but "Winter Dreams does it in simpler terms, whereas "The Great Gatsby uses colorful language and quite a bit of imagery. In "Winter Dreams" Fitzgerald states, "For the first time in years the tears were streaming down his face. But they were for himself now. He did not care about mouth and eyes and moving hands. He wanted to care, and he could not care," (15). He reveals the man's feelings through hands, eyes, and mouths. Fitzgerald does an excellent job of showing the reader exactly what he wants through a 'hidden message' if you will behind simple objects. They are often overlooked. In "The Great Gatsby", Fitzgerald doesn't hold back. On page 180 he says, "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--- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....And one fine morning---,". Here Fitzgerald uses both imagery and the motif of the green light to convey his message to the reader. He's trying to say the Gatsby kept reaching for that unattainable dream; a dream he would never reach. But he kept on going despite how impossible it was. Personally, I found it easier to see Fitzgerald's message in "The Great Gatsby" than "Winter Dreams", possibly because it wasn't as well hidden in Gatsby.

    Why are so many dreams unattainable? Why do we find ourselves often struggling to reach for something that isn't even there?

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    1. I feel that dreams are unattainable because we nurture the idea of them- and they suddenly grow into something that is not possible. A dream is ultimately a parallel reality in which things work out, have happy endings, and have the best possible outcome. Sometimes I feel that we don't, or can't admit to ourselves that something's gone when we've devoted our time the birth of it. We pull the wool over our own eyes and have a selfish, delusional hope that somehow, someway, it could happen. Like Gatsby, he couldn't come to say himself that his dream was dead. He couldn't come to grips with it because his dream was what he was built off of. He was his dream. We integrate the idea of our dreams into our lives so much that we revolve around an idea, and not our dream revolving around what we can actually obtain and accomplish

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    2. I believe that dreams are unattainable for exactly the reason that we have them. Dreams are something we wish for that is so much out our reach that it pushes us to do things that would we otherwise have no reason doing. It's something that sets the bar for our lives and directs how we live. However, the sad part, as your second brings up, is that we can't reach these dreams, so we die almost disappointing ourselves. I believe this where image stems from. We can't live for ourselves because we will never accomplish everything we want to, so we live to impress other people. We disappoint ourselves, so we live to make an impression on the world.

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  28. Jack-
    I understand what your are saying and I agree that we the past defines us. Fitzgerald has clearly shown us that. However, I see another side to this where Gatsby wanted to live in the future. Except for his time with Daisy, the past is something he hid and ran away from. His whole hope was in the future. He wanted Daisy back. That was a future dream. He also built himself because he was looking into the future. I think that Fitzgerald is also saying that a futuristic view on life is also very detrimental. Gatsby's father says, "Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something." (Fitzgerald 173). What Fitzgerald is showing here is that Gatsby desired the future, but that is foolish because dreams are unattainable. Your life is predestined by fate so one should not focus on the past or future but only the present

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    1. How do you think we can refocus or minds into only living in the present? Everybody is either caught up in where they're going or where they're coming from. But how can we forget all of that and only focus on where we are?

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    2. Annie-I don't think it is good to only focus on the present. As humans, there is always something that we need to plan for. However, it isn't good to spend too much time thinking about the future. I think it is important to have a balance of the past, present, and future. But when I want to think about the present, I go into nature. It allows me to focus and think about where I stand.

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  29. I think that Fitzgerald is conveying that people use their ignorance to their advantage when dreaming because people have a tendency to believe that most dreams will work out in their lives. When Nick describes Gatsby is seems as though Gatsby is sure to win Daisy back and live happily ever after, "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it," (180). In this quote, this made the reader feel torn between sympathy and a sense of hopelessness for the recent events after Gatsby was murdered and after the reader learns that Daisy and Tom left without saying goodbye. Further down on that same page, Fitzgerald says, 'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us," (180). I love how Fitzgerald says 'year by year recedes before us,' because it shows that every person's life has an end and with each year that we live, we are one year closer to death. It is a pessimistic view on life but it is true. Regarding "Winter Dreams" Dexter did not die but he did feel the same sense of regret and longing that Gatsby felt for Daisy. Both Daisy and Judy were both the "Golden Girl" and did not end up with Dexter or Gatsby but lived their lives caring for their families as a typical housewife. How does Nick's character change throughout the book? Do you think that the incident with Myrtle changed Tom's and Daisy's relationship in marriage or did Tom use empty words to win Daisy back?

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    1. I think after Myrtle's death Tom realized that he could lose Daisy, and I think he realized how much she meant to him. During the argument I think Tom used "empty words" to win Daisy back from Gatsby, but after the accident I think Tom shaped up and something hit him that made him notice his love for Daisy.

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    2. I agree with Taylor. I think this goes with the common phrase, "you don't know what you have until you lose it" Tom doesn't see how lucky his is to have Daisy, the golden girl, until he sees a chance of not having her and her drifting away. I believe Daisy is one who can be won over with empty words.

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    3. The accident with Myrtle showed Daisy that the wild and carefree lifestyle she wanted to live wouldn't work long term. I think she simply decided to forgo the consequences that came with that, and so left Gatsby floundering by himself. In terms of Nick, I do not think he changed throughout the book, his opinions were simply changed through the events of Gatsby and his lives.

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  30. The last three chapters of the Great Gatsby conveyed the inevitable turn of time against humans in their independence. Gatsby was ultimately abandoned by his "good" and "long-time" friends. The ironic turning of all the Midwestern characters; Daisy, Tom, and Jordan all succumbed to an East-egg mentality. The last three paragraphs give an image of people coming upon new land, green, and fresh to start a new life with endless possibilities. This mirrors the sudden independence that Americans proclaimed from Europe- however the characters in this book create a whole new hierarchy of class discrimination and no responsibility, that was common to the one they escaped in the past. The motif of green took on new meaning with the quote, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us...to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther..." (Fitzgerald 180) Conveying that time is never on anyone's side and even if someone has all the vitality and gumption in the world that some things die before they're started. Fitzgerald gives many clues to the inevitability of dreams dying, the lack of time contributing to lies, scandalous behavior and deserting the true meaning of dreams to have the surface value of a lifestyle. What made Gatsby great was the sense of hope he had throughout the book- but traded them for his amassed wealth and assets through un-just means. Fitzgerald doesn't sugar coat the fact that time is fleeting, and the fickleness that can seep into, and ruin, good-hearted intentions. Winter Dreams ended with Dexter coming to grips with the reality of his shallowness, and finally not being able to feel anything for his love, Judy anymore- only to cry when realizing he couldn't feel anything for himself. Fitzgerald ends the book with the reality of the human spirit fading with things such as greed, pride, misunderstanding, and time; that we often put meaning and hope into things that would otherwise be useless and unimportant. But actual dreams never being able to be corrupted- only the path taken to achieve them.

    Why was Nick never able to make sense of Gatsby after he had classified all of the other characters in the book? Was it Gatsby's sense of hope that excepted him?

    How ironic is it that The Eye of God is on our dollar bill? What connections can be made of this to Dr. T. J. Eckleburg? Did green represent greed, and money; or did it represent new beginnings and fresh opportunities in the end when we learn of the parallels between early American society?

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    1. I had never made that connection about the Eye of God on our dollar bill, but I think that really does parallel to the story. I think that symbolizes how, though they may not have been religious, they made money the main purpose in their lives and held it above everything else and I believe Fitzgerald intended to make that connection.

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    2. I really like the questions that you present about the eyes. Some people find new beginnings through money. In this society people thrived on money, which they fooled themselves to believe was the key to happiness.
      I also think that the eyes don’t necessarily have any specific meaning; they could represent anything. Wilson assumed that they were the eyes of God because of his personal feelings of the situation. Much of the novel touches on illusion, and Fitzgerald could have included these eyes to make readers analyze their meaning, but they themselves could in fact be an illusion of meaning.

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    3. Jen,
      Regarding the questions in your last paragraph, I had never even thought of that before but it completely makes sense! It shows how much of an impact greed and jealousy have on people and their dreams. I find it completely ironic because it is almost the idea that "God sees everything," (160), just like George describes and that even though we can hide our sins/crimes from other humans there is always a greater power that continues to make notes of our downfalls and will forever judge us. I think that the color green in this book described a new beginning and a sense of optimism at first but human nature got the best of the characters and they decided that they wanted the ultimate prize all for themselves, whether it was money, love, or the continuation of a lie.

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  31. "After a little while Mr Gatz opened the door and came out, his mouth ajar, his face flushed slightly, his eyes leaking isolated and unpunctual tears." Without a doubt his father's character is much of a lonely yet proud parent. With communication still active between Gatsby and his father, his death must have somewhat hit hard in his father's life even if they didn't communicate on a daily basis. I really enjoy the sight of his father walking out of the room where his son was laying at rest. The image of him in shock, tired, worn down, sad, yet slightly still proud of what his son had accomplished in his short span of lifetime. The connection between father and son was such an amazing way to end the book in a peaceful and lovely way.

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    1. Was Gatsby really accomplished? In many ways he was because he was rich and popular. But when he dies no one came to his funeral. He is alone in life. He lost Daisy and truly has no friends. Also he made his money illegally with Mr. Wolfsheim. Therefore is James Gatz truly accomplished or is only his facade Jay Gatsby accomplished?

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    2. I would say that Gatsby was accomplished in money, and he was wealthy in that sense, but he was lacking in other things, and did not live a "rich" life. His "friends" were only around for the parties he threw, and in the end, as Chase mentioned, he lost Daisy. However, he was accomplished in the material sense.

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    3. I too like this part of the book and I was glad Fitzgerald included this insight of Gatsby's father. Mr. Gatz, was very proud and I think he had every right to be. As far as he knew his son was great. He had become wealthy and had a nice house and became very popular, just as everyone wanted to be during this time. I agree with Colleen in the sense that maybe Gatsby didn't apply himself as well as he could have and that is the reason his relationships were not meaningful.

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  32. I think the ending to The Great Gatsby gives a sense that characters are wanting for a better life, wanting to change and reverse all their mistakes, but it is to late to change and because of that, they are hopeless. In the last paragraph it reads "And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it." To me this paragraph tells us about how Gatsby saw what he wanted and because he craved so much to achieve this goal he would do anything to get it. Because of this he built his life around lies and lack of care for others in order to achieve his goal, or impress Daisy, and because of this created his own ultimate downfall. Fitzgerald is reflecting on this tells the reader that the characters are beyond the point of return to normality from the lives they have created.
    So my question for you is, is this Fitzgerald using this ending to reflect on the regrets he has for his life? As we know he reached a point of no return with his actions caused by his drinking and lifestyle, is this him showing how he himself failed and wished he could have corrected the mistakes in his life?

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    1. Sam- I think in the end, when Gatsby floats alone with his thoughts in his pool, I think that is when he truly realizes all of the damage he has done to his own life and just how hopeless of a person he is. He longs for the life he could've had and I think by the time he starts to wish he could go back and correct his mistakes, especially with Daisy, it's just too late for him. Time has run out for him, and but I think up until this very point in the book, Gatsby is still so closed off to reality and his vision is still obscured by his dream of living with lots of money with Daisy.

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    2. Throughout the entire book we have seen instances where Fitzgerald has injected some of his own life into his writing. From Daisy representing Zelda through her want of money, or Gatsby just wanting to relive the past, Gatsby wants his characters to live his life. In a way, I actually disagree with what you said at the end, he is not showing his regrets. One such section was at his funeral, when the man in the owl-eyed glasses came, " I'd never seem him since then. I don't know how he knew about the funeral, or even his name" (Fitzgerald 174). I see this as Fitzgerald knows that people still care about him, he knows that he will not be forgotten by the world. This man, whom we assume he only met once, has come to his funeral regardless of his relationship to Gatsby. I think this is Fitzgerald saying that although he may have messed up, he will be alright in the end.

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  33. Nick says "I wanted to get somebody for him. I wanted to go into the room where he lay and reassure him: 'I'll get somebody for you, Gatsby. Don't worry. Just trust me and I'll get somebody for you---'" In this part of the book we see how lonely Gatsby truly is. We see him as somewhat isolated compared to others but we still see people come to his party and go out with him. But we see here, in his darkest hour, that no one truly care for him. Why does Nick feel such a responsibility to get people to come to Gatsby funeral?

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    1. I think Nick wanted to prove to not only himself but Gatsby a little bit that he wasn't really alone. Nick wanted to know that Gatsby had people outside of him and Daisy that he could count on.

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    2. This was something I found extremely interesting. The reason is that, I assume, Nick did not really know Gatsby very well, yet he feels this responsibility. I think that Nick understood how lonely Gatsby really was. From the very beginning, Nick would talk about these huge parties that Gatsby threw, and how the people who came didn't even know him personally. I think that Nick could see this from the beginning, so he knew that he needed to get people for the funeral.

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  34. When Nick met up with Tom Buchanan again we finally heard Tom's side of the story. "I told him the truth,' he said. 'He came to the door while we were getting ready to leave, and when I sent down word that we weren't in he tried to force his way upstairs. He was crazy enough to kill me if I hadn't told him who owned the car. His hand was on a revolver in his pocket every minute he was in the house- ' He broke off defiantly. 'What if I did tell him? That fellow had it coming to him. He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy's, but he was a tough one. He ran over Myrtle like you'd run over a dog and never even stopped his car" (178).

    This intrigued me because Daisy was the one who killed Myrtle, but Tom still believed that Gatsby was behind it. This shows that Daisy is very cowardly and careless. On page179 Nick states, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." This quote shows that Nick is not the nonjudgmental person he says to be. Yet the quote also shows that Daisy and Tom believe they can do anything to ruin someone else's life and never have to pay the consequences. They will always have money and status to fall back on.

    What did you think about what Tom had to say?
    Why didn't we know that Wilson had gone to Tom's house when we learned about his peculiar actions around Michaelis?
    What does it show about Tom's character that he had to rat out Gatsby to save himself?

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  35. Rachel, I think we have changed a little bit from the 20s in terms of the extent to which we inhabit those behaviors. Partly thanks to lessons from the time itself, we have learned to shape our thinking differently. However, I can still see much of their mindset being reflected today. Perhaps some of this behavior is uncontrollable. There is a part of human nature that strives to have it all, and we could not succeed if we did not reach for the stars. The story of Gatsby may not be so uncommon, it is just a tragic result of an a human process that could go either way.

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    1. While I agree that this was a tragic result of a human process that could have gone either way, I also think that Fitzgerald is trying to tell us that we will also fall like Gatsby did if we try to live like he did. If we allow ourselves to become empty and hollow, with nothing but our outer appearance to call ourselves. We may not die like Gatsby did, but we will fall from our pedestal of fake appearances if we are not careful with how we live.

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  36. I agree that the last few paragraphs were ones full of hopelessness, how ever I'm not so sure he was trying to persuade us to not go after our dreams. I believe that he was attempting to show us that we can achieve our dreams, but we cannot have things like our pasts interfere, or will be in an endless tug of war between our wants and our past. Do you think Fitzgerald is trying to make us see that we must let go of our past, or is he trying to say that our dreams, specifically the "American Dream" is unattainable?

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    1. I think that Fitzgerald agrees with Nick in the sense that the past cannot be repeated, and that is where a dream is lost. To achieve a dream, we have to be able to let go of what ever may be holding us back.

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    2. I think that Fitzgerald is trying to show the reader that they must let go of their past in order to reach our dreams in the future. I think that this book was not about conveying the impossibility of reaching our dreams. He was just trying to show us that we need to release ourselves from our past. In general, is the American Dream unattainable?

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    3. I think the "American Dream" couples with modernism. Just like Gatsby, so many people look into their pasts and wish they could relive them. I believe that is the true "American Dream", to go back and relive the past, which I believe Fitzgerald, a 20's writer, is trying to show. The american dream is unattainable because it is to go and relive the past.

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  37. When Nick recalls his time in prep school, he talks a lot about the people going back West on the holidays. Nick may be from Chicago, but it sounds like all the rich people send their kids off East to prep school. What is it about the East in comparison to the West? Are the two regions really that different? What does the East and the West represent to Fitzgerald?

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  38. Going back a little farther into the chapter, when Nick meets Tom on the street, he angrily describes the life they live, saying, "They are careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..." (Fitzgerald 179). The diction here captures the tone of hostility and frustration towards the actions of these two characters, who embody the larger part of society as a whole. Words such as 'careless,' 'smashed,' and 'creatures' demonstrate the gross nature of their actions from Nick's perspective. He is disgusted by the fact that they can accept causing tension and even harm in the lives of others in order to accomplish their own agenda. Furthermore, these individuals do not take accountability for their actions. When these two aspects are combined, the entire society is at constant risk of falling apart. There is a sense of being able to get away with anything.

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  39. “And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away and gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailor’s eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate for wonder.” (Fitzgerald 182)

    Despite his “disapproval”, Nick is fascinated by Gatsby. Gatsby is an extravagant dreamer. Like the Dutch sailor in the passage, he embodies man’s capacity for wonder. In the beginning of chapter 1, Nick introduces the reader to Gatsby for the first time. He speaks of Gatsby’s by speaking of his “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.” A poor Midwestern boy, he dreamed that he was someone else entirely, and became Jay Gatsby, who was destined for success and riches. He fell in love with Daisy as Daisy fell in love with his dreams—and she became the dream he couldn’t let go of. In Chapter 9, Fitzgerald expands Nick’s sense of disillusionment to encompass the entire continent, as Nick reflects on the summer’s events with the awareness of “the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (182). He provides a larger context for the conflict between East Egg and West Egg, East and West, old and new. Gatsby embodies the extent of man’s capacity for wonder, and as a dreamer, he embodies the American spirit. Fitzgerald seems to be saying that America, since its discovery, has been the west’s last, great dream and Gatsby, with his impossible dreams, seems to be an antidote to that kind of disillusionment and insecurity. Despite his amorphous past, despite the way he masks it with his wealth and lavish parties, Nick sees Gatsby’s love for Daisy as something real and sincere. It’s impractical, extravagant, and impossible, but it is something real that gives his life meaning. It makes Gatsby believe in “the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us” in a time when everyone else seems to have forgotten it, or given up on it, or given over to despair. Is Gatsby really the true American Dreamer, in pursuit of the fantastic future he has imagined?

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  40. The last three paragraphs of the book give me a since of emptiness and loneliness. One quote states, "Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound" (Fitzgerald 180). The closed shore places and the shadowy ferryboat remind me of an empty and desolate island. It doesn't seem to have the same brightness and happiness that once seemed to fill it. Fitzgerald conveys the idea that Gatsby, along with his dream, has died. Fitzgerald shows the bleak and empty life that Gatsby had. Gatsby's own dream consumed him. It made him who he was, and it shaped him. Everything he did was based off of his dream. In my opinion, Gatsby lived a dry and pointless life. Yet, he symbolizes humanity himself. Don't we all get caught up living to please some inner desire that we have? The last sentence of the book states, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" (Fitzgerald 180). I both love and hate this quote because it provides so much truth and light to who we are. I think Fitzgerald left the reader at the end of the book in a questioning way. He challenges us to look at our lives, and to compare them to Gatsby's life. He leaves me wondering if I have the kind of life that looks like a summer's day, but in the end reveals to be a long cold winter. Fitzgerald has a very unique way of weaving emotions and feeling into his setting. He uses words like "enchanted" and "desired" to give that since of awe inspiring beauty. Yet at the same times he uses words like, "grasp" and "obscurity" to give a since of questioning and frustration to his writing. He leaves the book with a mysterious, melancholy voice, asking the reader an unstated question. The question that I feel he was asking me was, "is the American Dream really attainable?" I question this myself and wonder, do we set to high of goals that we get bogged down in trying to achieve? Is fate in charge of our lives and who we will be, or do we have the power to affect this? And my final question is - do dreams actually come true, or do things happen by sheer coincidence that we have no power over?

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