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Allusions in The Great Gatsby, Grade 12

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by Denison Wu on 30 July 2013

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Transcript of Allusions in The Great Gatsby, Grade 12

The Great Gatsby
What is an allusion?
An implied or direct
reference
to a person, an event, a thing, or a part of another text


Author
presumes
the readers would
recognize
the allusions.


takes the risk of having readers who wouldn’t recognize the allusions


Allusion #1 -Midas, Morgan, Maecenas
“I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only
Midas and Morgan and Maecenas
knew." (Fitzgerald 10)
Allusion #3 - 1919 World Series
“'Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he’s a
gambler
.’ Gatsby hesitated, then added, coolly: ‘He’s the man who
fixed
the
World’s Series back in 1919
.’” (71)
Relation to Thesis
Analysis of Allusions
Syed Aziz, Jessica Chung, Denison Wu
Thesis:
In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, not only do the allusions remind readers of the 1920s, but it also gives the novel a sense of
periodic timelessness; through the allusions of Midas Morgan and Maecenas, bootlegging, the 1919 World Series scandal,
and racism.
Bibliography
“1919 World Series.” Baseball Almanac.Baseball-Almanac, 2013. Web. 26 July 2012. <www.baseball-almanac.com>.

“Al Capone biography.” Bio - True Story. A+E Networks, 2013.Web. 26 July 2012. <www.biography.com>.

“Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928).” Jewish Virtual Library.The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2013. Web. 25 July 2013.
<www.jewishvirtuallibrary.com>.

Baldwin, Anna. “Midas.” Encyclopedia Mythica.Encyclopedia Mythica, 1997. Web. 25 July 2013. <www.pantheon.org>.

Everstine, Eric. “1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal.” N.p. , 1998. 26 July 2012. <www.mc.cc.md.us>.

"Gaius Maecenas (Roman Diplomat and Patron)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 25 July 2013.
<www.britannica.com>.

“Prohibition Era.” History. A&E Television Networks, 1996-2013. Web. <www.history.com>.

Rosenberg, Jeniffer. "Prohibition." About.com 20th Century History. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 July 2013.

Allusion #4 - Racism
“ 'Civilization’s going to pieces,’ broke out Tom Violently. ‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read
The Rise
of the
Coloured
Empires by this man
Goddard
?'"
(Fitzgerald 18)


Allusion of the real novel, "
The Rising
Tide of
Color
Against White World-Supremacy" by Lothrop
Stoddard
Born on April 17 1837

king in finance
and banking.

Began own banking company
J.P. Morgan
confidant and political
advisor
to Octavian

Wealthy
roman patron

Trusted with extreme
administrative control
in Italy
Gaius Maecenas
How does this relate to The Great Gatsby?
Relation to Nick Carraway
Nick hoped his books will turn his hard work into success (Midas)

Nick wants to be remembered as a brilliant businessman just like Morgan
- A Greek god

- Everything he
touched turned into gold

-Very successful and rich

Midas
Goals of Intention
Lower crime and corruption
Improve health and hygiene
Reduce social issues

Actual Outcome
Organize crime thrived
Increase in alcohol consumption
Prisons became crowded
Corruption of police and public officials
Prohibition Era
Nicknamed "Scarface"
Famous
gangster
Member of the "Five Points" gang
Thrived in prohibition era

Al Capone
What does bootlegging and Al Capone have to do with The Great Gatsby?
Reference of "bootlegging"
reminds
readers of the prohibition era and Al Capone.

For readers like us, it reminds us that the past
still exists
today where people sell illegal products

Allows Jay Gatsby to be a reminder of Al Capone
Allusion #2 - Bootlegging
" “He’s a
bootlegger
,” said the young ladies, moving somewhere between his cocktails and his flowers."(Fitzgerald 60)
Speakeasies
Underground
drinking
establishments

“’I found out what your “drug stores” were.’ He turned to us and spoke rapidly. ‘He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and
sold grain alcohol over the counter.
That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a
bootlegger
the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong'"
(Fitzgerald 127)
"I lived like a young rajah
in all capitals of Europe - Paris, Venice, Rome - collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little" (Fitzgerald 64)
"Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to bear an enchanted life. I accepted a commission as
first lieutenant
when it began." (Fitzgerald 64)
“He was a
son of a god
– a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that” (Fitzgerald 95)
Relation to Gatsby

- Loved to have parties and show off his wealth (Midas)

- Likes to tell stories of his accomplishments and his past (Maecenas)

- Gatsby = "son of God"
implies higher power which relates to Morgan's superiority in business and Maecenas' control of Italy.
In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, not only do the allusions create a remind readers of the 1920s, but it also gives the novel a sense of periodic timelessness.
What is the world series?
Championship series (The finals)

Baseball
- popular sport to watch in 1920s

This year(1919) - Best out of
9
games
-Chicago White Sox

vs
Cincinnati Reds
What happened in the 1919 scandal?
Gamblers
bribed
Chicago players to lose
-->They
accepted
the bribe and
lost
the finals


7/8 players admitted they were guilty
-->Permanently
expelled
from league
Why is this allusion important?
Fitzgerald gives his
viewpoint
on society's
timeless (never-ending)
gambling issue

Allows Meyer Wolfsheim to be
portrayed
as Arnold Rothstein


1. Midas, Morgan, Maecenas
- Reminds readers that people in the 1920s were determined to be successful, similarly to Nick

2. Bootlegging
- gives the novel a 1920s vibe where there is the prohibition era and gangsters such as Al Capone

3. World Series -
Enables readers to recognize gambling is a timeless activity that still exists today

4. Racism -
Reminder on how much racism there was in the 1920s (KKK) and how this still goes on today as it seems like a timeless issue that can't be solved

Who is this?
"You look at him sometimes when he thinks nobody's looking at him.
I'll bet he killed a man
." (Fitzgerald 45)
Not only do the allusions remind readers of the 1920s, but it also gives the novel a sense of periodic
timelessness
.
Who was the only player that did not admit he was guilty?
Shoeless Joe Jackson!
“It never occurred to me that
one man
could start to play with the faith of
fifty million people
” (Fitzgerald 71)
“Mr Carraway, this is my friend
Mr Wolfshiem
.’ A small, flat-nosed
Jew
raised his large head and regarded me”. (Fitzgerald 68)
What is this book about?
- reminder that the White colonization in danger
-Gives advice for a resolution
- Heavy usage of "scientific" quotes

The significance of this allusion
1. To
highlight
the excessive racism in the 1920s
--> eg Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

2.
Develop
Tom's character
-->Fitzgerald gives the impression that Tom is racist in order to make him more unlikable
“Everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be - will be
utterly submerged
. It’s all
scientific
stuff; it’s been proved” (Fitzgerald 18)
“’Well, these books are all
scientific
,’ insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. ‘This fellow has worked out the whole thing.
It’s up to us
, who are the
dominant race
, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.’” (Fitzgerald 18)
Class Activity! - Trivia
1. What special power does Midas have?
2. What did Al Capone do that made him so dangerous?
3. How many players admitted they were guilty?
4. What does the book Tom suggests talk about?
5. Who does Meyer Wolfsheim portray?
6. How much money did the Chicago White Sox players earn from the bribe?

The illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages
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