An overall topic of The Great Gatsby is the pursuit of success or the pursuit of the American Dream. In the 1920’s, the perception of the American dream was that any individual can achieve success in life through hard work. In the book I read about how Gatsby was never originally rich and “for over a year he had been beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon-fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed” (98). Gatsby’s character proves this pursuit of the American Dream from his gradual gain in fortune. He ended up owning a huge mansion where parties were often held. No one would ever know he was poor from all the money he had. The 20’s was known as a time of prosperity which is seen within Gatsby’s character.
Gatsby’s connection to new money rather than old money (Old money, new money within the 20’s in real life as well). There were people who represented old money (Daisy) and new money (Gatsby).
In the book the setting was in New York. In this time period the north was more progressive than the south. Since New York is in the north, the wealth of many characters in the book would make sense to how people progressed money-wise in the 20’s.
The 20’s is also known as the Jazz age. In the book there were many Jazz songs mentioned that supported the reflection of this time period.
"Three O'Clock in the Morning' a neat, sad little waltz of that year " (116).
"All night the saxophones wailed the hopeless comment of the 'Beale Street Blues" (157). Saxophones are known to be popular instruments of jazz.
2. What issues are explored in the novel? How are these issues treated differently from, or similarly to, their treatment/exploration in other works that we’ve read?
Both The Great Gatsby and A Streetcar Named Desire portray the issue of Disrespect towards women. In the Great Gatsby the character Tom is disrespectful towards his own wife, Daisy. He thinks of her as property because he doesn’t even really care about her as a human. He only cares about getting what’s his like his wealth has got into his head. He just flaunts her "wherever he was known" like she was some sort of prize but nothing more. In A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley treats Stella similarly. He has no respect for her. He, too, sees Blanche as property because she is a Woman and he thinks men are superior. He hits her and uses her for his own pleasures like how Tom uses Daisy for his own pleasures.
Daisy has an unfaithful relationship with Tom. She knows she is married to Tom yet she tries to be with Jay behind Tom’s back (not that Tom is that great) but there is no faith between them. Blanche in a streetcar named desire doesn’t seem that faithful to her relationships either. When she was going to soon see Mitch, she kisses the milk delivery boy before she does. She wants to be with Mitch but her actions didn’t seem all that faithful to just Mitch.
Tom isn’t faithful to Daisy either because he has another girlfriend as well. He is open about this because it just seemed more normal for men because Men were seen to be more superior to women back then. This is similar to Stanley not being faithful to Stella because near the end of the play Stanley rapes Blanche while he and Stella are still together. Stella was gone because she gave birth to their baby. They don’t treat their wives right once again.
3. Consider the writing style, voice, and narrative structure of the novel.
The book is in first person in the perspective of Nick Carraway. He’s known to be very observant of everything and everyone which creates the whole cause and effect storyline. He knows background information, characteristics, how characters got to where they are in their life and he gradually throws in more and more to uncover the plot. For