The Great Gatsby – Lesson 4

–Today we discussed the main characters we’ve met so far, and our initial impressions of them.
  • –Nick – Our narrator, from a comfortable, middle-class background. He’s recently moved to West Egg for work, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in wealth, adhering to his father’s advice (” ‘Whenever you feel like criticising anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’ “) As a result, Nick isn’t arrogant and doesn’t look down on others.
  • –Daisy – Nick’s cousin, and decidedly upper class. She’s married to Tom, and speaks softly so others lean in and become more engaged with her – something Nick describes as both self-conscious yet charming. She and Tom live in East Egg (old money, more established upper class than West Egg) and she is aware that her husband has a mistress in the city, which causes a lot of passive aggressive tension between them.
  • –Tom – Tom’s mistress is a fairly badly-kept secret, and overall he appears arrogant, sneaky and possibly aggressive. A college footballer,. he is large, strong and broad in appearance.
  • –Gatsby – has apparently inherited his wealth (new money) and throws extravagant parties every weekend in his enormous., ostentatious mansion in West Egg – the people of East Egg find his new money and bold display of that wealth rather tasteless, unlike their own, more acquired tastes.

We’ve also met Myrtle and George Wilson, i.e. Tom’s mistress and her husband. They live in the Valley of Ashes between Egg and New York City – could this barren wasteland in the middle be symbolic of something else perhaps?

HOMEWORK, DUE Tuesday 20/08/2013 – Read up to the end of Chapter 3.

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