the great gatsby

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The Great Gatsby. Interpretation and Significance. The Great Gatsby can be viewed in one of three ways: A veiled autobiographical account of Fitzgerald’s life A bitter criticism of the American Dream An allegory teaching the sinfulness of greed. I. Autobiographical Novel. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • The Great Gatsby

  • Interpretation and SignificanceThe Great Gatsby can be viewed in one of three ways:

    A veiled autobiographical account of Fitzgeralds life

    A bitter criticism of the American Dream

    An allegory teaching the sinfulness of greed

  • I. Autobiographical NovelTo Zelda, As Always

  • I. Autobiographical NovelFrancis Scott Key Fitzgerald 1896-1940Born in Minnesota, grew up in New JerseyPrinceton dropout with immense literary talentServed in WWI military, but war ended before he could be deployed

  • I. Autobiographical (cont.) E. Met Zelda Sayre while serving in militaryZelda is rich, upper class southernerZelda breaks off initial engagement when Fitzgerald cant bring in enough moneyF. Publishes This Side of ParadiseImmediate literary success.Zelda takes him back; they are wed

  • I. Autobiographical (cont.)G. Socialite Ex-Patriots, they lived a lavish lifestyle and Fitzgerald was frequently broke.H. Tensions between Fitzgerald and Zelda increasedShe is schizophrenic, hospitalized at HopkinsHe is an alcoholic, moves to Hollywood He drinks himself to death; dies of a heart attack after eating a candy barShe dies when her mental hospital catches on fire and she is locked in a room awaiting electroshock therapy

  • Fitzgerald As Gatsby?Both men are haunted by women they could never make happy, women whose greed destroyed them.

  • II.Criticism of American DreamGatsby had committed himself to the following of a grail.

  • II. American DreamGrail is an unattainable, elusive mythical object. Desire for the grail has driven countless men to ruin and death.Fitzgerald uses the search for the grail as a metaphor for the pursuit of the American dream. It is elusive, unattainable, and mythical.

  • III. Moral AllegoryAllegory: a story meant to convey a moral lesson (like a parable of sorts).The reader is meant to share in Nicks unaffected scorn for the world he sees. God watches humanity, judges but does not intervene

  • T. J. Ecklebergs disapproving eyes, symbolic of God.

  • IV. SymbolismGreat Gatsby is most commonly discussed in terms of its inventive use of symbolism.

  • Key Symbols in the TextEyes of T. J. Eckleburg1. Gods judging, disapproving perspective on humanity.The Green Light1. Longing and desire for those things which are most elusive.The Valley of Ashes1. Empty, lifeless valley becomes a symbol for the empty, soulless people who traverse it.Gatsbys Rolls Royce1. How appropriate that a symbol of Gatsbys wealth becomes an instrument of death. Pearl Necklace/Dog Collar1. Tom gives Myrtle a dog collar as a gift, but a pearl necklace to Daisy. Myrtle is nothing but a pet to him; a plaything that he can mistreat. It emphasizes his greed; people are like possessions to him.

  • Some Key Quotations in the TextGatsby paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.I am one of the few honest people I have ever met. [her voice] is full of money. You see, I think everythings terrible anyhowIve been everywhere and seen everything and done everythingsophisticated, God, Im sophisticated! Cant repeat the past? Why, of course you can! Gatsby had committed himself to the following of a grail.Theyre a rotten crowdyoure worth the whole damn bunch put together.

  • Gatsby And Its Relationship To Major Literary PeriodsAge of ReasonGatsby, like Ben Franklin, believed in self-improvement, but his failure is that he allows his imagination to control him. RomanticismOverindulgent imaginations of characters reveal dark side of humanity.RealismGrim reality is revealed, as is uselessness of Romanticism. All of the dreams of the characters are crushed, and they are left dead, sad, or alone.