‘The Great Gatsby’ CHAPTER SIX
Summary Gatsby is visited by a reporter who has heard of his notoriety and believes he can secure a story. In an attempt to enlighten readers, Nick discloses the truth of the protagonist’s past. We learn ________________. When Nick returns to his main narrative, he recalls Tom visiting Gatsby’s home with the Sloanes. This visit is revelatory as ________________. In the final section of the chapter, Daisy and Tom attend one of Gatsby’s lavish parties. The host finally has an opportunity to put his theatrical show of wealth to its original purpose. However, _________________.
Introducing… James Gatz “His imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. ” 1) What does Gatsby’s rejection of his parents suggest about his psyche? You should focus on both positive and negative aspects. 2) Which elements of Gatsby’s false persona are deconstructed by his biography? 3) Explain fully the evolution of the relationship between Dan Cody and Gatsby. 4) What painful lesson does Gatsby learn after the death of Cody?
The Evolution of James Gatz Nick charts the three stage transformation of the young farm boy James Gatz: Stage One- Rejection of his humble origins Born into a ‘shiftless and unsuccessful’ farming family, young Gatz quickly creates a vicarious reality for himself. We are informed that ‘his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. ’ This mirrors the process of the New World rejecting the values and culture of their former coloniser Britain. While suggesting an unsavoury aspect of his character, it is also testament to the potency of his dream that he is willing to make any necessary sacrifice in order to achieve the life he idealises.
Stage Two- Investing in the dream Gatsby increasingly becomes immersed in a fantasy world, which spurs him on: “his heart was in a constant turbulent riot” and “each night he added to the pattern of his fancies. ” This devotion to an ideal and belief in the power of the imagination is Gatsby’s redeeming feature- it is what makes him ‘great. ’ He is the antithesis of the idle, selfish, superficial and morally bankrupt elite he aspires to as the intensity of his dream means that he is driven by idealism.
Stage Three- Exploiting Opportunity Gatsby learns to identify and seize opportunities fro advancement. He uses his natural gifts (such as his warm smile) to ingratiate himself with Dan Cody. He can be considered a skilled and perceptive manipulator. He earns Cody’s full trust through dedication and loyalty but is denied his just rewards when cheated out of his inheritance. This is another example of immorality going unpunished while loyalty is left unrewarded.
A Distorted Dream Prior to his meeting with Cody, Gatsby is described as having a ‘hard brown body’ and as being able to survive on wit and instinct. This can be contrasted unfavourably with his expensive suits and extravagant lifestyle which are the reward of his wealth accumulation. His previous selfimprovement is closer to the ideals of the mid-Western pioneers who first chased the American Dream. Thus, Gatsby can be seen to have rejected the true spirit of the American Dream.
The Sloane Episode Complete the table below to note what we learn about both Gatsby and the residents of East Egg from this visit: Gatsby Residents of East Egg
Some Observations We learn two important things from the Sloane incident: 1 - Class distinctions exist even among the excessively wealthy. Residents of East Egg believe that Gatsby is their social inferior. No amount of wealth can elevate him within their hierarchy as he is excluded in consequence of his humble origins. 2 - Gatsby is blind to this reality. He is unable to detect the insincerity of Mrs Sloane’s dinner invitation. In consequence, we are aware that he is continuing to strive towards a dream which can never be fully realised.
Another Lavish Party Daisy finally attends one of Gatsby’s parties in this chapter? - Does the party have the effect Gatsby desires? - How does Daisy’s response affect Gatsby? Support your answers with quotations from chapter six.