Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dialectic Journal #7 (Gatsby)

Chapter 9

“Most of those reports were a nightmare- grotesque, circumstantial, eager, and untrue.” 163
I find it interesting that Gatsby never lived a life of truth. For the most part this was his fault, but I also see a connection between the reporters and the people at his parties. Both make up rumors to sound more smart, and only lie for personal gain.
“It was Gatsby’s father, a solemn old man, very helpless and dismayed, bundled up in a long cheap ulster against the warm September day.” 167
Why was Gatsby’s father never mentioned in the book until his funeral? I guess it could be because Gatsby never mentioned them to Nick besides saying they were dead, but was he ashamed of his parents? Perhaps embarrassed of his past?
"Gatsby believed in the green light..." 180
Gatsby always seemed to look at this green light. On a concrete level it could be because it was by Daisy’s house, but I think it stands for hope in general. He was looking at the light when he died. What does this mean?
“I found myself on Gatsby’s side, and alone.” 164
Why was no one ever on Gatsby’s side in this book? More importantly, I wonder why everyone is always on their own side. Everyone in this book seems to selfish. I think it is interesting how we get an outside view on the situation through the eyes of Nick. He is not from this city full of selfishness so we get a unique perspective on the characters.
“I’d never seen him since then. I don’t know how he knew about the funeral, or even his name.”
What made this man with the glasses different than the rest of the party-goers? He was the only one at the funeral and the only one in Gatsby’s study away from the party? What does Fitzgerald want us to understand about this character?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dialectic Journal #6 (Gatsby)

Chapter 7
“I wanted someone who wouldn’t gossip” 114
Why did Gatsby really get rid of his servants? Also, why did he stop having parties? I think that we now know for sure that the only reason Gatsby threw these parties was to impress Daisy. Now that Daisy is his, he doesn’t care about impressing her as much.
“She had told him she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw.” 119
Does Tom care that Daisy loves Gatsby and not him? In my opinion, he shouldn’t care because he cheated on her all the time. I think a reason he would care is because he has a very large ego. It is easy for him to cheat on someone else but for someone else to cheat on him is demoralizing.
“What a low, vulgar girl!” 116
Jordan always struck me as the sort of risque person. Why now is she making fun of Daisy for being the same way? Why does Fitzgerald make this shift in the book? I think the reason is because Gatsby brings out this side of her like Tom never could.
“Well, you take my coupe and let me drive your car to town.” 121
Level One Questions:
Why does Tom insist on taking Gatsby’s car?
Why doesn’t he just take his own?
My prediction is that Tom is up to something mischievous and is going to blame something on Gatsby.
“It all happened in a minute, but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew.” 143
Was this person Myrtle? If it was, was this a planned trip to kill her? I think it might have been an accident if Gatsby was driving, but the fact that Daisy was driving makes me think she was going to kill her. I think it might have something to do with Tom and his affair.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dialectic Journal #5 (Gatsby)

Chapter 6
"Except for the half hour she'd been alone with Gatsby she wasn't having a good time"
It seems like Gatsby radiates happiness for others. At what expense does Gatsby make others happy? Also, is Gatsby’s intention to cover up his own sadness with happiness or is it to make others happy? I think he cares more about trying to make himself happy but in the process he makes others happy.
“Gatsby’s notoriety, spread about by the hundreds who had accepted his hospitality and so become authorities upon his past, had increased all summer until he fell just short of being news.” 97
How do others know about Gatsby’s notoriety? Is he notorious for being a liar or for his parties? I think if it is about him being a liar, it was most likely spread as a rumor from someone at his parties.
“He stayed there two weeks, dismayed at its ferocious indifference to the drums of his destiny, to destiny itself, and despising the janitor’s work with which he was to pay his way through.” 99
Is Gatsby lying because he thinks Daisy will dislike him or is he lying to keep up his reputation? Also, did Gatsby go back to school after dropping out the first time? How did he get all of his success?
“And it was from Cody that he inherited money-a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn’t get it.” 100
It seems almost as if Nick is leaving out parts of the story of Gatsby’s past. Is this due to Nick not having enough information to tell the story? Or could it be because he doesn’t want us to know everything about his past?
“Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete." 111
I think this was confirmation of love for Gatsby. His wealth never made him happy, so when he finally got the girl, he felt true happiness. He now knows what it means to feel true happiness so it would make sense for him to blossom like a flower.

Dialectic Journal #4 (Gatsby)

Chapter 5

“When I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire.” 81
Why did Nick think his house was on fire? Was it because of the news reporters wanting to interview Gatsby? How has Gatsby’s popularity affected other people’s lives.
“Gatsby, pale as death, with his hands plunged like weights in his coat pockets, was standing in a puddle of water glaring tragically into my eyes.” 86
Gatsby has a lot of false confidence. By the way he acts at his parties, you would think he is very confident. As we see in this scene, he doesn’t have a lot of confidence by the way he acts toward Daisy. Is Daisy the only person that makes him nervous like this?
“After half an hour, the sun shone again, and the grocer’s automobile rounded Gatsby’s drive with the raw material for his servant’s dinner...” 88
What does the change in weather represent? I think that because it was raining, the mood was set that Gatsby and Daisy’s date would go poorly. When the weather started getting sunny, the date started going well.
“‘Oh, hello old sport,’ he said, as if he hadn’t seen me in years.” 89
It’s weird, Gatsby is both terrified of experiences with Daisy and so confident around her as well. This leads me to believe Gatsby might have some kind of mental health issue. He puts on a mask of confidence every time he has to impress someone.
“After his embarrassment and unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence.” 92
This proves my point from earlier, he is now confident around Daisy even though moments ago, he was terrified of talking to her. I think that Gatsby’s false confidence is strengthening his relationship with Daisy, but weakening his relationship with everyone else. I see Daisy as a little bit of a fool because of how she stayed with Tom for so long so I can see why she would fall for something like this.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dialectic Journal #3 (Gatsby)

Chapter 4
“Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.” 78
Why did Gatsby go this far just to be by daisy? I think that because she was his last love before going off to war, she has a special place in his heart. I think he might see her as different to all of the people he sees at parties.
"But I can still read the gray names, and they will give you a better impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby's hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him." 61
I think Nick sees all of these people as grey because they are just another one in the crowd. Every person that goes to Gatsby’s parties only go to escape the sad reality of their real life. In other words, they only go to get drunk and forget about the sad lives they live. I also think he sees them as grey because they are bland people.
“Good morning, old sport. You’re having lunch with me today and I thought we’d ride up together.” 64
What gives Gatsby so much confidence? Is it a way for him to hide his inner struggles? I think that everyone has inner struggles, but the confident ones are better at hiding them.
“He wants her to see his house” 79
Gatsby is giving me mixed messages. On one hand, he seems very humble and confident. We see this by him not drinking at his parties and watching over the guests from the staircase. On another hand, he wants to impress Daisy with his wealth. That is a sign of low confidence.
“He looked at me sideways-and I knew why Jordan Baker had believed he was lying.” 65
In my opinion, Gatsby is hiding something about his past. I don’t know if he is necessarily lying, but he definitely is hiding something. You can tell by some of his mannerisms, occasional lack of confidence, and the way he talks.

Dialectic Journal #2 (Gatsby)

Chapter 3

“I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests to be invited.” 41
What does Gatsby see in Nick? Does he have some relation to Nick that Nick doesn’t know about? I think that Gatsby finds Nick interesting because everyone else in his parties are only there to party.
“I had been actually invited” 41
Why was no one else invited? Can Gatsby see through everyone else’s fake friendship? Why was Nick invited and no one else?
"A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors,endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell" 60
I am wondering the purpose of these parties. One part of me wants to believe that he throws them to make his guests happy. This sentence makes me think that he throws these parties to fill a void in his life.
“I began to like New York...” 56
I can see why a person like Nick would like New York. He is so interested in people and their thoughts. New York is a place where there is tons of diversity, so he can spend a lot of time analysing the various character in the city.
“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights.” 39
Level One Question:
Did Gatsby throw parties every night?
How did he start getting into throwing parties?

Dialectic Journal #1 (Gatsby)

Chapter 2
“Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track...” 23
Why only occasionally do cars come by? I think it is talking about train cars due to it also mentioning a track. Trains roll very slow so it would make sense that it would only come by every once in awhile as well. I think it stands for life, though. The train stops there and everyone from outside of this lifeless place gets to experience it.
“The eyes of T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic.” 23
These eyes must have a purpose. The author mentions them a lot and they seem to watch over the people of the valley of ashes. What do they represent? Do they represent power and authority?
“There was an immediate perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves in her body were continually smouldering.” 25
Why is she nervous? I think on a very concrete level, she is nervous because she is having an affair. On a more metaphorical level, I think there is sort of an underlying tension in the Valley of Ashes. I say this because of the metaphor that is the eyes on the billboard.
“The sister, Catherine, was a slender, worldly girl of about thirty, with a solid, sticky bob of red hair, and a complexion powdered milky white.” 30
Here is another example of Nick being very observant. Any other normal person would not put this much effort into analysing someone. What made Catherine so interesting to him that he felt the need to analyze every detail about her?